Vikings coach Mike Zimmer passed along some good news on the injury front, saying quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and cornerback Terence Newman have passed the first part of the NFL’s concussion protocol and that linebacker Anthony Barr, who has an injured left arm, “should be good to go.”
Naturally, all the attention is on Bridgewater, who was knocked out of Sunday’s 21-18 overtime win over the Rams on what the Vikings considered a cheap-shot elbow and shoulder to the helmet from cornerback Lamarcus Joyner. The Vikings believe Bridgewater will be able to start Sunday in Oakland, but he hasn’t been cleared to practice yet.
“He passed his first test, so we should be good to go, I think,” Zimmer said. “He hasn’t passed all of his tests yet, but he has passed one. I think he’ll be good to go.”
In order to be cleared, Bridgewater and Newman now must be put through a workout, remain headache free afterward and then pass their second cognitive test.
Meanwhile, Zimmer said Barr did have an X-ray taken on his left arm, which had a cast on it after the game. Zimmer wouldn’t reveal results of the X-ray, but said Barr should be “good to go.”
In other injury news, Zimmer said it’s too early to tell whether the team will get middle linebacker Eric Kendricks back this week. Kendricks missed Sunday’s game with injured ribs.
“I don’t know yet,” Zimmer said. “Obviously, he was in for treatment today. I think he’s feeling better. We’ll just see how his week goes on.”
Other highlights from Zimmer …
On whether he talked to the league about the Joyner hit and other questionable hits by Rams on Sunday: “My conversations with the league, I think we’ll keep between me and the league.” Asked if that meant he talked to the league, he said, “I didn’t say that.”
On the other questionable hit on Bridgewater, a low shot to the legs by defensive end William Hayes: “I didn’t like it. … There was more than one hit that I was upset about. That might have been another one.”
On whether the officials told him that it wasn’t a penalty because Bridgewater was out of the pocket: “That’s what he said. He doesn’t get protection out of the pocket, but I’ll leave it at that.”
On what the Vikings are doing so well on third down defensively. They held the Rams to a 13 percent conversion rate (2-for16) and are No. 2 in the league at 29.7: “I wish I had a good answer for you. We try to mix it up. We try to give them different looks. We try to pressure some. We try to play coverage some. I see a lot of teams worried about the pressure so they try the wide receiver screens. I think maybe that’s a big thing that we’ve been playing them very well. I think our guys are understanding their responsibilities better and the things we’re trying to get done.”
On stopping the wide receiver screens: “We’ve seen them a lot because that’s kind of everybody’s answer to our pressures. Throw the screens. It’s kind of honestly discouraging for the offense if they think, ‘Hey, we can have a big play here and they throw the screen and it ends up being a no-gainer.’ It’s like, ‘We should have done something else.’”
On a text he got from a “friend” last night [judging by context, this friend sounds like a certain former boss who won a couple of Super Bowls with the Giants and is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame]: “He said, ‘You know, you continue to win these games and this is kind of who you are right now. You’re going to be in a lot of them, but you can still win them.’ That’s kind of who we are right now. The last three, four ballgames, it just kind of shows what kind of team we are as far as how we are on offense, how we are on defense and how we are on special teams. We’re probably not going to go up and down the field like the ‘Greatest Show on Turf.’ This is how we’re built right now.”
On if that’s what he expected of this team heading into the season: “I didn’t really particularly … I’d much rather have big wins. But wins are wins. I think the more you win, the more you learn how to win. I just think it’s important. It does a lot of things, not only for the team and the franchise, but the fans and everything else. We still got a long, long way to go before anybody tells us anything. We’re still kind of the guys in the low-rent district. We just got to keep fighting.”