View the top contributors for the Jacksonville Jaguars on offense, defense and special teams before the Vikings Sunday matchup at EverBank Field.
Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley can definitely relate to a tough Vikings loss to the Cowboys.
Bradley is from Zumbrota, Minnesota, and recalled attending training camps in Mankato during his youth.
"I loved the Vikings. I got a chance to watch them practice in Mankato when they had Chuck Foreman, Fran Tarkenton and the Purple People Eaters," Bradley said. "I can remember being so involved, like a typical fan, you cried when they lost big games. I know how passionate the Minnesota fans are and how much they love that team. They've got a lot of great tradition up there, and I have a lot of respect for that organization."
Asked a follow-up, Bradley mentioned the Cowboys 17-14 win over the Vikings on the original Hail Mary — many would argue also known as Drew Pearson's push-off — in the NFC Divisional round as a tough one. He was 9 at the time.
"There's no doubt I remember that. That call still irks me, and the Atlanta game, and there's so many games," Bradley said. "I know you should remember the wins, but sometimes it's the losses that stick with you even more."
Bradley played safety at North Dakota State where he helped the Bison win the 1988 National Championship. He also started his coaching career there as a graduate assistant (1990-91). Bradley held various roles at North Dakota State from 1996-2005 before jumping to the NFL in 2006 as a defensive quality control coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Jon Gruden's staff.
It was there that Bradley first began respecting Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer, who was defensive coordinator in Dallas.
"Jon Gruden would challenge us on particular days to pick out a guy and study him and how he operates his style of defense, and Coach Zimmer was one of those guys," Bradley said. "I just hold him in high regard. [Current Buccaneers defensive tackle] Clint McDonald, he had in Cincinnati and I had when I was in Seattle, and I know how highly he thought of Coach Zimmer."
Bradley, who was Seahawks defensive coordinator from 2009-12 before his hire in Jacksonville, said he's appreciated the opportunity to get to know Zimmer better through coaches' meetings in the offseason.
"In this league, you get a chance to talk to people he coached and watch on tape, but then you get a chance to meet him in person, too," Bradley said. "Like I said, I have a lot of respect for him."