Vikings nation believes in Mike Zimmer. The rest of team still has more to prove to the faithful fan base that wants to believe the 3-0 start isn’t a fluke.
The Vikings third-year coach will try to keep his team undefeated in the spotlight of Monday Night Football against the New York Giants. Another primetime win would convince longtime fan Rick Thomson of Savage this team can sustain the success.
“If they go 4-0, I’ll believe it. Then they’re just showing a little more consistency,” Thomson said in the hours leading up Monday’s game. “Undefeated 3-0, but I’d just like to see one more game, especially with the defense to see if they’re the real deal or not.
“I think it’s the coaching. … They do have the talent, but it still takes a coach to pull them together and keep them together, especially given the injuries.”
The defense is the only reason Scott O’Brien believes in the Vikings. O’Brien, an East Rutherford, N.J., native now living in Stillwater, wore a Giants jersey to Monday’s game, but is confident in the Vikings’ hot start.
“Do I think they’re for real? Yes, I do. They have a good defense and it’s time for them to start winning,” he said. “They have a new stadium and they have to start paying for it.”
O’Brien’s heart picked the Giants to end the Vikings' undefeated run, but believes the Vikings can be a successful playoff team. His son Shane and wife Anna aren’t as convinced. Shane said last week’s win against Carolina doesn’t mean much, labeling the Panthers a “one-hit wonder” referring to last year’s Super Bowl appearance. Anna, a Philadelphia fan, mocked the Vikings for what they gave up in the trade to acquire new quarterback Sam Bradford.
Jacqueline Kohl proudly wore her throwback Vikings hat, purple heeled-boots and a tired Vikings jacket, proclaiming the Vikings have always been the real deal. She propped open her jacket and pointed to the name embroidered on the inside to explain why.
Kohl’s father, Ralph, was the longtime head scout for the Vikings from 1973-1993. During that stretch the team won nine division titles, including six straight in the 70s, and appeared in three Super Bowls.
Jacqueline and her husband John Russo, a Giants fan originally from Brooklyn, said the current Vikings team reminds them of the Purple People Eaters.
“Their defense is good. … There is a good possibly if they can get past today,” the Vikings can keep the undefeated streak running deep into the season, Russo said.
Kohl praised the Vikings coaching staff and admitted Zimmer even motivates her, which is why she traveled from Florida for Monday’s game.
Jason Borchers from Sioux Falls, S.D., said he can't find a loss on the Vikings’ upcoming schedule. He, too, is impressed by the Vikings defense, but thinks the offense could use a little work. If everything comes together, Borchers and his girlfriend Teri Kohler expect big things for the Vikings.
“Their defense is the real deal. I think they can definitely win the division and hopefully go far in the playoffs and get us to Super Bowl,” Borchers said. “It’s awesome the way they’ve pulled together and they’re getting it done. Mike Zimmer is really keeping them together."