Vikings notes: Zimmer takes closer look at his in-game decisions

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 15, 2014 - 7:17 AM

The players aren’t the only ones Mike Zimmer is evaluating this preseason. The Vikings coach also has an eye on himself and what he needs to do to improve.

Zimmer has been a football coach since 1979. But since he is a first-year head coach, last Friday’s preseason opener was the first game day that he held final say on everything, including clock management, the challenge flag and whether to go for it on fourth down.

Thursday, he said there were two situations in the 10-6 victory over the Raiders that he wishes he had handled differently. The first was not going for a first down on fourth-and-1 early in the third quarter. The other was not throwing his challenge flag late in the game.

On the fourth-and-1, Zimmer said kicking the field goal — a 53-yard miss by Blair Walsh — denied the offense an opportunity to work on a short-yardage situation it had practiced on the first day of training camp.

“If we’re going to practice these things, we might as well try them [in a game],” Zimmer said. “And now is the time to try them. It’s something we wanted to work on, but I didn’t think quickly enough.”

As for the challenge flag that Zimmer kept holstered, Zimmer said, “The official on our sideline called the fumble and the official in the back called an incomplete pass. I had three timeouts left and we’re winning 10-0 and there’s three minutes left. I probably should have challenged.”

Cassel locking up job

Zimmer is being careful not to say too much too soon about the quarterback competition. But it’s obvious veteran Matt Cassel has moved comfortably ahead of rookie Teddy Bridgewater.

Asked if Cassel will play the entire first half of the second preseason game against Arizona on Saturday, Zimmer smiled.

“Let’s see,” he said. “The best way to answer that is he has a chance to play the entire first half. Yes.”

And, yes, Cassel is expected to start, although Zimmer didn’t confirm that.

“I plan on being the Week 1 starter,” Cassel said after practice.

No Peterson, Robinson

Zimmer said running back Adrian Peterson and cornerback Josh Robinson won’t play Saturday. Peterson, per usual, is being protected from preseason punishment. Robinson, however, continues to battle a hamstring injury that has wiped out most of his training camp.

Zimmer admitted he’s concerned about Robinson’s role, which initially was to compete for the third cornerback spot and possibly push Captain Munnerlyn in the base defense.

“It’s hard to make the club in the tub,” Zimmer said. “If you’re not going out there and proving it every single day and proving it in the game, it’s hard to know.”

Step it up, safeties

Zimmer said there are four contenders for the starting strong safety spot that he wants “to take a hard look at” on Saturday. They are Kurt Coleman, who started last week, incumbent Jamarca Sanford, Chris Crocker and Andrew Sendejo.

Zimmer said earlier in the week that strong safety Robert Blanton (hamstring) won’t play.

“Right now, I’m looking for the other safety,” Zimmer said. “That’s why I want to play these guys quite a bit this week. And then figure out the rest of the pecking order.”

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San Francisco 5 Top 7th Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 1 3rd Prd 15:28
Chicago 0
Arizona 2 2nd Prd 6:05
Edmonton 2
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
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Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
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SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
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Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
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Indiana
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Colorado State
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(25) TCU
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NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
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Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
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(13) Georgia
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Northern Ill
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Texas State
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(16) USC
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Kentucky
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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