Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was upbeat on Monday, meeting with reporters a day after his team beat Atlanta 20-10 for its fourth consecutive road victory. The Vikings move to 8-3 and have a one-game lead in the NFC North … and have surpassed their victory total from last season (7-9).
“We played like a smart football team, and were good in crucial situations of the game,” Zimmer said. “There was a point in the game where the time of possession was 31-21 [minutes in the Vikings' favor] and that’s important to me.
“We had 20 pass completions and 39 runs, and that adds up to 59, and that’s big. We had no negative plays — well, an interception, I guess that’s negative.”
Zimmer said starting safety Andrew Sendejo had an MRI on his left knee, but didn’t disclose the result. With both Sendejo and Harrison Smith (who didn’t play Sunday because of a left knee injury) out, he did say activating safety Anthony Harris off the practice squad was a possibility.
The Vikings had two interceptions and forced two fumbles against the Falcons, who have been plagued by turnovers.
“Their whole philosophy is to be about the ball, so I talked to our team about beating them at their own game,” Zimmer said.
Anthony Barr had a big game for the Vikings, forcing both fumbles, the second on a strip-sack, while recovering from a broken hand.
“Anthony basically played two games [vs. Oakland and Green Bay] with one hand,” Zimmer said of his second-year linebacker. “This year … Anthony is a lot more intense on the football field. Which is a good thing.”
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was 20-for-28 for 174 yards and one interception against the Falcons as the Vikings focused on ball-control game with Adrian Peterson, who ran for 158 yards.
“It’s important [in the passing game] to start fast,” Zimmer said. “The more stress we put on opponents … that helps the defense, it helps everything.
“[For Bridgewater], we can continue to do more things him to make him dominant, but there are things he can do to make himself better, and he’ll continue to work on those.”