Less than 24 hours after a gut-wrenching 23-20 loss to a beatable Peyton Manning-led Broncos team in Denver, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was asked to assess his gut instincts on his football team as it takes a 2-2 record into its bye week.

There was a long pause and then …

“Well, I like this football team,” Zimmer said during his Monday press conference a short while ago. “I think they work real hard. We have to get better. There’s no question. I think the teams that we played, three out of the four were playoff teams last year. The last team we played was 23-2 or something at home over the last two years. But I’m not happy with where we’re at, no.

“I think we have a chance to be a good football team. And if we ever do put it all together, we could be a really good football team. But that’s a lot of ifs and injuries and all kinds of things. But there’s a lot of football left to be played.”

The Vikings are 2-0 and home and 0-2 on the road, including a 20-3 season-opening loss to the 49ers that is becoming more embarrassing with each thumping that the now-1-3 49ers have absorbed since that convincing win over the Vikings.

With his road record as a head coach standing at 2-8 (as opposed to 7-3 at home), Zimmer was asked what needs to happen to get over the hump on the road.

“We have to execute better,” he said. “Sometimes with this team, it seems like when we get in big games everyone wants to make a play instead of, ‘Hey, look here, this is my job. I’m going to do my job.’ So that’s just something I’m going to have to continue to figure out.

“But it’s not like they spit the bit. They want to do good. They want to impress. They want to be with all the elite teams in the league. I think every time we get in these situations and we’re able to teach and we’re able to coach and we’re able to fight back like we did in that ballgame [Sunday], I think these are all great learning experiences with a young football team. And at some point in time, we’re going to get over the hump.”

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