Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer referenced a pair of mentors Tuesday afternoon when he met with the media about quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's significant knee injury.
One of the mentors was his late father, Bill, a longtime football and wrestling coach in Illinois. The second was Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach Bill Parcells, whom Zimmer worked for at the Cowboys from 2003-06.
Peter King of The Monday Morning Quarterback caught up with Parcells on Tuesday night to inquire about some of the advice he gave Zimmer in a pair of phone conversations.
Parcells said his main piece of wisdom was that nobody is going to feel sorry for Zimmer or the Vikings.
It's not the first time Parcells has used it with young coaches. It's a screed he's believes in strongly, because it's worked with teams he's coached.
"I told him, 'The first thing you need to know is this: Everyone in the organization, and that includes some of the players and the coaches, are going to think they have an excuse now," Parcells said. "Once the shock is over, probably 48 hours from now, they're all gonna come to you and look at you and say, 'What are you gonna do?' Because you're charged with winning games now, no matter what you have on your team. You need to figure out what works — what recipe works. And tomorrow morning, once the shock wears off, nobody's gonna give (an expletive). It's his problem. He's gotta figure out how to win now."
Parcells also told King that he retraced what it was like to lose a starting QB yet still win the big one with Zimmer.
Parcells said he told Zimmer about his experience when Phil Simms went down for the Giants late in 1990 with a broken foot. Unproven backup Jeff Hostetler took over and led the Giants to an unlikely Super Bowl win over Buffalo.
"I went through this," Parcells said. "We had a backup quarterback who was unproven, Jeff Hostetler, and I remember vividly hearing all the experts then say, 'No one's ever won the Super Bowl with such an unproven guy.' I said to my players, 'We are not losing because we're playing Jeff Hostetler. I guarantee you that.' There were ways to win those games, and it was up to us to figure them out.
"There are ways to win these games. [Zimmer] has a good running game. You know he can coach defense and they've got a good defense. Al Davis had some great advice for me once, and I told [Zimmer] this: You're driving the train, and there's 100 sets of eyes on you from behind. Players, coach, front office. They're all screaming, 'You gotta do something! What are you gonna do?' And you're going to have to figure it out."
ESPN tabs Danielle Hunter as second-year stud
One of the biggest surprises during the 2015 season was the play of defensive end Danielle Hunter.
Hunter, who played half of his rookie season at just 20 years old, was the youngest player in the league, but he racked up six sacks and 34 tackles. He finished second on the team in sacks behind the 10.5 by Everson Griffen.
Ben Goessling of ESPN.com tabbed the former LSU star as a second-year player who could potentially have a monster season for the Vikings.
Hunter had six sacks as a rookie *— or four times as many as he had during his last season at LSU — and after he surpassed the Vikings' expectations as a rookie, he could be in line for bigger things in Year 2. He spent the summer at Adrian Peterson's gym in Houston, using boxing to improve his hand-fighting skills with offensive linemen, and he appears stronger before his second season. He doesn't turn 22 until the end of October, and the spritely pass-rusher could play a much bigger role in 2016 than he did a season ago. *