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Everson Griffen: Vikings out to 'prove naysayers wrong'

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Mike Zimmer said he doesn't look at stats until Thanksgiving.

The Vikings are tied for second in the NFL with 17 points allowed per game, but the second-year head coach considers the jury still out.

"I figure after about 11 weeks, you kind of know who you are and where you're at," Zimmer said Monday. "But I've had defenses that have been very, very good and played bad the last four or five games. And I've had defenses that have been bad at the beginning of the year – that San Francisco game was not one of my most memorable [moments] – and have been able to fight back and continue to get better. It's all about a long marathon and we'll just keep going where we go."

The Vikings blitzed Lions QB Matthew Stafford frequently and recorded 7.0 sacks in coming back from an 11-point deficit on the road. Minnesota (4-2) swept Detroit (1-6) and has turned its attention to Chicago (2-4), where the Vikings haven't won since 2007.

It's possible that Zimmer might bring that up to his team this week as a challenge.

"I like proving people wrong. People have doubted me for a long, long time," Zimmer said. "I hope they keep doubting our football team, because that's the mentality I'm trying to get them, say what you want and let's go prove it."

Everson Griffen doesn't mind that mentality. He said, "We're here to prove people wrong each and every day. That's our job here as a team, go out and prove the naysayers wrong."

"I love the way this team works. I love the way we battle," Griffen continued. "If we keep on doing this, we're going to be a hard team to beat. We've got to improve in a lot of areas, but we've got the guys that are going to take the appropriate steps to improve and help this team win."

Captain Munnerlyn, who is thriving at nickel back in his second season, is already aware of how vexing Soldier Field has been to the Vikings. He said Minnesota will try to build on its momentum.

"We were hungry. We were due," Munnerlyn said of Sunday's win. "We work our tail off from Monday to Sunday. We wanted to win so bad. We haven't won a divisional game on the road in a long time, now we've got a bigger test coming up. I don't think we've won in Chicago since 2007."

Filling a gap: Zimmer announced Monday that Sharrif Floyd is recovering from having cartilage removed from his knee. Floyd suffered the injury against the Chiefs in Week 6 but finished the game.

Zimmer said the team has heard "all kinds of ranges" on a timeline for recovery by Floyd. In the meantime, 31-year-old Tom Johnson is likely to continue starting. Zimmer said Johnson played well in Detroit.

"He had a lot of playtime in the preseason and I think it helped because his playtime was up a little bit yesterday," Zimmer said. "He's a veteran guy that knows what we're trying to get done, understands, has had some success last year and I think that's kind of carried over and I think he'll continue to have success."

Johnson, who is often cast in a specialty role as a nickel rusher, said he thinks the Vikings understand what they need to do and the importance of doing it well.

"Everybody has a job, everybody knows that if they're not in their position at the right time, it's going to break down," Johnson said. "You've got a group of guys that have bought into the scheme and are athletic enough to beat their man. If you beat your man, things should pan out."

Sullivan update: Zimmer said center John Sullivan underwent a second procedure on his back and has a "minimal" chance of returning to action in 2015.

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