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Lunch Break, September 3: Zimmer Not Afraid Of High Expectations

With many outsiders already ruling out the Vikings and predicting a less than stellar season for the Purple, Head Coach Mike Zimmer says his expectations for his first year at the helm are high. Chris Tomasson from the Pioneer Press writes about Zimmer's outlook on the fast-approaching season:

"I think we've gained confidence in the techniques that we're teaching, and maybe the coaches and what we're going (to do) offensively and defensively," Zimmer said. "But if our expectations weren't very high to begin with, then we probably wouldn't be a very good football team anyway."



*Zimmer hasn't projected any win totals or offered any playoff boasts, but he is letting Vikings fans know they should enjoy this season. *

*"I think the fans are going to like watching this team," Zimmer said. "I think they are going to like watching the things we do offensively, and hopefully we will do some good things on defense, too." *

*There wasn't a lot for fans to like last year. The Vikings were out of the playoff race early, starting 1-7 and finishing 5-10-1. It didn't take long for the real intrigue to take start taking place off the field. Among the sideshows: a three-man quarterback controversy, the signing (and one start) of Tampa castoff Josh Freeman and season-ending injuries for Peterson. *

*With all the negativity in 2013, it certainly didn't hurt that Minnesota had an undefeated 2014 preseason for the seventh time in its 54-year history. If it means anything, the Vikings won their opener after four of the previous six undefeated preseasons. *

With doubters strewn about the nation forecasting another down year for Minnesota, the Vikings will take an us-against-the-world mentality to St. Louis to set the tone for the rest of 2014 season.

Seventh-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft defensive tackle Shamar Stephen entered the offseason as a long shot to make the roster, as most seventh round selections are. Brian Hall from FOX Sports North writes about valuable experience the young defensive tackle form UCONN received during the preseason:

*In the preseason opener, Joseph got only nine snaps with the first-team defense before his night was done. Stephen got 31, and over the next three weeks it only increased. In the second preseason game, Stephen had 41 snaps, and even in the third preseason game, when the starters got the most action, Stephen garnered 34 snaps. He finished the preseason with the same amount of snaps. In all, he had 140 snaps in the preseason, a healthy dose of action for a rookie.

The progress showed. He learned to trust himself and the techniques he was learning, said the 6-foot-5, 310-pound defensive tackle.

"Definitely more technique and just being able to trust your technique and trust the scheme that you're playing in and make sure you can be consistent in your technique and be able to play off of it," he said.

"I don't think it's any different than I've played in college. I think it's just being able to play the technique and be able to produce out of the technique and just do your job."*

Keep an eye out for No. 93 on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome, who could make his way on to the field as a part of the defensive line rotation Zimmer employs.

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