What a difference a week — well, make that six days — can make.
Monday night, the Vikings got out-muscled, out-schemed and out-executed in a 20-3 loss to the 49ers. Today, the Vikings were the ones doing the out-muscling, out-scheming and out-executing in a 26-16 win over the LIons.
“I’m really proud of how the team responded,” coach Mike Zimmer said after the Vikings improved to 1-1. “I told somebody after last week’s loss that it felt like we were 0-10, not 0-1. And we had to really dig down deep and fight and practice and study. We had a lot of grouchy players last week, grouchy coaches. And I thought we answered the bell today.”
Led by running back Adrian Peterson, the Vikings rushed for 199 yards in the win. Peterson fumbled three times, but had a game-high 134 yards.
“Well, he had a lot more carries, but we blocked a lot better,” Zimmer said.
With quarterback Teddy Bridgewater protected by his linemen and playing with poise in the pocket, the Vikings won the turnover battle, 3-1.
And after allowing 230 rushing yards against the 49ers, they limited the Lions to 38 yards. No Detroit running back reached double digits.
“It was night and day,” Zimmer said of the run defense. “It was more like we expect. You know, it’s difference schemes and different plays that they ran. But we were in the right place, we were physical, we swarmed the ball.”
Overall, Zimmer said it was “an awful good victory” after Monday’s loss.
“I know you never think they are must-wins at the beginning of the year like this,” he said “But to have a division team at home after last week, it was very, very important for this football team to go out and play like we did.”
The Vikings are now riding high again after a resounding win over their NFC North rivals, but Zimmer said his players “can’t take the cheese this week either because people will be saying nice things about us this week.”