EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — A review of film over the extended weekend served as a mirror for Vikings coaches to evaluate the first five games of the 2014 season.
First-year Head Coach Mike Zimmer and his staff used the extra time created by playing last Thursday to self-scout, a method often executed by teams during their bye weeks.
The Vikings focused more on themselves at practice Tuesday and will shift gears toward foes from the Motor City Wednesday. Minnesota (2-3, 0-1 NFC North) hosts Detroit (3-2, 1-0 NFC North) at noon (CT) Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium.
"We got back to work today and started prepping a little bit for Detroit, but today was mostly about us, trying to work on techniques and things we have to do better," Zimmer said. "Players had a couple of days off and we were able to, as coaches, get together and evaluate a lot of things we were doing and figure out some ways to continue forward with this next four-game span we have."
Zimmer didn't elaborate on specifics but said he thinks the self-scouting had its merits.
"Most helpful was being able to go back and not be grinding on someone else but looking at us and who we are and what we're doing and where we need to go," Zimmer said, later adding, "I'm an emotional person, and sometimes it's good for me to reflect back not just on the bad plays I see but go back and re-evaluate all the things and good plays we've had too. It's still a combination of things to look at and ways to make this team better, whether it's scheme, personnel or coaching."
Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said he expects the lessons learned by the team from the evaluation to be helpful as the Vikings enter the next stretch of their season with games against Detroit, at Buffalo, at Tampa Bay and against Washington.
"It was great to come back. He gave us his input and what he thought, how we were playing and the things we needed to work on and we worked on them today at practice," Munnerlyn said. "I think it was great. The first five weeks of the season are gone. All we've got to do is look forward, move on, get ready to play better and go out here and execute."
The self-assessment wasn't limited to the defense. Tackle Matt Kalil said the study revealed "just going back to the basics" on a few things can result in improvements.
"We're looking at the things we do well, the things we don't do well, capitalizing on that and fixing the things we don't do well," Kalil said.
The third-year pro also has been turning his eyes critically toward his own film for personal assessments and tries to be his "toughest critic."
"I went back to see some games, things I did well on and things I didn't do too well on," Kalil said. "I don't focus too much on the good. I focus on the bad and what I need to fix and work on in practice.
"Good games or bad games, I'm looking at things I can always fix," Kalil added. "Obviously in a game where you're behind like the Patriots and you pass a lot, we might have had 35-40 pass sets and I got beat on three and that's a bad game, so it's definitely a tough job we have, but that's why I play left tackle. I like the competition. I like the guys I face and I like going out there and competing. I wouldn't let one bad game ruin my whole season. It's just stuff you've got to improve on."
GREENWAY CONTINUES WORKING: Linebacker Chad Greenway used the weekend to continue rehabbing rib and hand injuries that have sidelined him the past two games. Greenway did some running during Tuesday's individual period of practice and spoke with reporters afterward.
"Just trying to do what I can do and take care of my treatment and let the staff take me through that and continue to feel better," Greenway said. "We'll basically take it day-by-day."
BRIDGEWATER STILL ON TRACK: Rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater practiced Tuesday and is still on track to make his second career start. Bridgewater threw for 317 yards with no turnovers against in a victory against Atlanta on Sept. 28 but suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter during what proved to be the game-winning drive. Bridgewater was sidelined at Green Bay but is on track to face the Lions.