Anyone out there predict a month ago that the Vikings would head to Carolina in Week 3 with Sam Bradford, T.J. Clemmings and Jerick McKinnon as their starters at quarterback, left tackle and running back?


Vikings coach Mike Zimmer didn’t either. But unlike the outside world, Zimmer doesn’t appear to be running through the streets proclaiming the end of the world.

“I feel like we have to go back to work and go play Carolina,” Zimmer shrugged when asked what his message to the team was after placing Kalil (hip) on injured reserve, likely for the season, and announcing that Peterson’s knee surgery on Thursday could be season-ending as well.

“I expect [the players] to perform the way I always expect them to perform.”

Although the offense has taken the full brunt of the league’s annual battle of attrition, Zimmer said nothing schematically will change with Norv Turner’s offense.

“That’s our identity, that’s how we’re built,” Zimmer said. “And we’re going to continue to stay that way. Hopefully, we can play good defense. And hopefully we can run the ball and take our shots when we get a chance. We’re not going to change and go to like five-wides every play.”

Like most coaches, Zimmer loves to motivate his players by telling them no one believes in them. Today’s injury news should help in that regard considering the Vikings are heading to play the defending conference champs in a building where said champs have won 14 straight.

“I would think so,” Zimmer said. “I don’t think many people think we can win this game. I don’t think many people thought we could win the last game.”

In other injury news …

—Cornerback Xavier Rhodes (knee) and tight end MyCole Pruitt (knee), who both missed the first two games of the season, returned to practice today.

—Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee), who missed Sunday’s game, was not at practice during the brief time the media was allowed to watch.

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