EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's assessment of Sunday's heartbreaking loss involves more than Minnesota's final snap.
Over the past 48 hours, Zimmer has mentioned a couple of times that he's proud of his team, for multiple reasons. Today, Zimmer said he's pleased with how the Vikings rallied around kicker Blair Walsh and supported him after missing Sunday's 27-yard field goal attempt that could have won the Wild Card game for Minnesota.
"I think our team handled it remarkably well – the things they said," Zimmer commented.
Zimmer acknowledged some criticism he's received for his initial post-game comment in which he said Walsh should have made the kick. After having some time to process, Zimmer expanded and further clarified the statement.
"If it would have been [tight end] Kyle Rudolph in the end zone, I would have said he needed to make that catch. Or if it had been [cornerback] Xavier Rhodes, [I would have said] he needed to knock that ball down," Zimmer said. "That's my expectation, going back to that. I expect my guys to perform all the time."
View images from 'move out day' as players said their goodbyes and cleared out their lockers at Winter Park.
The play has been on loop since Sunday, but Zimmer explained that there were several errors committed by the Vikings during the game, and there was a number of ways the game could have gone differently before coming down to one last attempt to take back the lead.
"[Walsh] wasn't on the field when we didn't cover [Tyler Lockett] when [Russell] Wilson grabbed the ball and threw it down to the [4-yard line]; he wasn't on the field when we fumbled," Zimmer said. "One play does not win or lose. Unfortunately for kickers, it's the finality of the situation that happens. I mean, we had many, many other opportunities to win that football game."