Coach Mike Zimmer has gotten about 16 hours to digest yesterday’s 20-3 loss to the 49ers. He spent a chunk of that time re-watching the game. But he said his opinions of last night haven’t really changed all that much.
“It really wasn’t much different than what it looked like on the field. It was a poor performance. Disappointing. We did not play good together as a team in most all phases,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of soul-searching to get done.”
Zimmer was surprised by how the Vikings played against the 49ers. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was erratic. The offensive line did not block well. The run defense was especially bad, allowing the 49ers to rush for 230 yards. And kicker Blair Walsh missed another field goal.
“I think they were ready to play,” Zimmer said. “I think maybe they were ready to play last Wednesday because our practices were high-tempo, the meetings were good, the walkthroughs were focused. … Actually, I was confident going into the ballgame. I went to the walkthrough Monday morning, and I said, ‘Man, these guys are ready to go.’ So much for that.”
Zimmer thought the Vikings might have been too amped up to play their season opener on national television on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”
“I tried to downplay everything going into the ball game — Monday Night Football, first game of the year — because I knew these guys would be excited to play,” Zimmer said. “I also knew that going into San Francisco might be a little bit of a buzzsaw initially because of all the bad things that were being said about them throughout the course of the offseason and this and that. I purposely didn’t talk a lot to try to get them excited about it because I knew going into the game we were excited to play.”
Their sleep-walking reminded him of the 42-10 loss to the Packers last year.
Here are a few other things that stood out from Zimmer’s press conference:
— Zimmer was asked if Bridgewater, who took five sacks and threw a poor interception, was rattled last night. “Yeah, that was the first time I’ve really seen him like that. Usually he’s got so much composure, but he did seem that way,” Zimmer said. “I think a couple times he didn’t pull the trigger when he had opportunities to. As an example, it’s third down and he slides and almost doesn’t get the first down instead of going head-first and getting the first down. So things like that [were] not typical of what he’s done.”
— After Zimmer gave Andrew Sendejo the start at strong safety only to go back to Robert Blanton in the second half, Zimmer said “it’s kind of a fluid situation” at the safety spot. He said he just wants someone to “make the safe play and not the spectacular play,” and noted that Sendejo got himself in trouble a few times by going for the latter. So Zimmer obviously isn’t thrilled with either Blanton or Sendejo, but it doesn’t sound like second-year safety Antone Exum is going to be considered a possibility to start this week. “He’s a possibility if he can ever figure out what to do,” Zimmer said. “Once he figures out what to do, he can be a part of that discussion.”
— Finally, I asked Zimmer if the team is considering bringing in competition for kicker Blair Walsh, who missed another field goal in the first quarter last night. “No, I’m bringing in consideration for him to pull out of this thing and start kicking like he’s capable of kicking,” Zimmer responded.