Coach Mike Zimmer just stepped off the podium, and needless to say the mood at this week’s press conference was a little different than six days ago. He knew his players would be driven after the ugly loss to the 49ers. Now he has to get the Vikings to work with that kind of purpose again this week.
“This is a good week to be demanding,” Zimmer said.
The Vikings were the more physical team in yesterday’s 26-16 win. Adrian Peterson rushed for 134 yards on 29 carries. The Vikings shut down the running game. And they harassed Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.
“We’re trying to develop that mentality — the toughness and physicality,” Zimmer said. “That’s what we want to be like as a football team.”
While Peterson played about the number of snaps the Vikings had planned, Zimmer suggested that his 31 touches are not going to be the norm.
“Each game is going to be different. We’re not going to go in and say we’re going to hand him the ball 31 times or he’s going to catch 10 passes,” Zimmer said. “We’re going to go into the game with a specific plan.”
Zimmer said that Peterson wasn’t the only tone-setter on offense. He was very pleased with how his offensive linemen were aggressors yesterday.
“Going back and thinking about the 18 games I’ve been here now, they played pretty much with a chip on their shoulders, too,” the second-year coach said. “It was maybe the first time I’ve really seen [that].”
Here are a few other tidbits from Zimmer’s weekly Monday presser:
— Veteran outside linebacker Chad Greenway played just 14 snaps against the Lions, his lowest total as a pro. In the locker room today, Greenway said all the right things about his role. Zimmer said Greenway has “handled it like a pro.” But he also said, generally speaking, that he isn’t going to worry about what his players think about their playing time. “My job is to get this football team to win,” Zimmer said. “And some weeks they get more plays and some weeks they get less plays.” In related news, Zimmer said he thought linebackers Gerald Hodges and Eric Kendricks both played well.
— Zimmer said he talked to linebacker Anthony Barr and wide receiver Mike Wallace about their “dumb penalties” against the Lions. Barr’s penalty, a late hit on Stafford along the sidelines, in particular seemed to irritate the coach. “There’s no need to do that,” Zimmer said. “We want to play tough, clean, smart football. And that was not tough, clean or smart.”
— Jabari Price was activated from the suspended list, but Zimmer doesn’t know if he’ll have a role. “He hasn’t practiced in two weeks,” he said.