MANKATO, Minn. — Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Friday that he's more than happy that Stefon Diggs is his signal-caller because he doesn't make careless mistakes and always gives his team a chance to win.
Bridgewater has posted 17 wins in 28 starts for Zimmer, tying a franchise record held by Warren Moon and Brett Favre in their first two seasons with the club, a quality most important to Zimmer, who disagreed after the first walk-through practice of 2016 training camp about the degree of "remaining steps" left for Bridgewater to take.
"I don't really worry about the perception too much. I'm glad he's my guy," Zimmer said. "Each week we try to set up a way to win that particular game, and he executes to the best of his abilities.
"There's guys out there that throw the ball all over the place, but they go out there in the fourth quarter and throw an interception and lose the ball game. He doesn't do that," he added. "He does the things we ask him to do to continue to win. I do believe you're going to continue to see another jump for him.
"But we have to play a certain way in order to win games, and I'm not going to apologize for doing that," Zimmer continued. "Teddy is going to be an extremely good player; he's got too many other things going for him. I hear about the deep ball and all the things, and we're going to keep working on them, but the most important thing is we move the sticks, convert on third downs, we score touchdowns in the red zone, we make good decisions … decision-making is as big a thing at the quarterback position that there is."
After talking for almost 90 seconds, Zimmer finished by generating a chuckle out of the media.
"I'm off my tangent," he said with a smile.
Here are four other takeaways from Zimmer's presser with the media:
Assessing the offensive line
Although the Vikings practiced in shorts and no helmets or pads, Friday morning's session presented the first chance to see who lined up where on the offensive line.
Riley Reiff was at left tackle and was next to left guard Pat Elflein while John Sullivan manned the middle at center. Brandon Fusco lined up at right guard and was flanked by right tackle Andre Smith.
Zimmer said to not read too much into the opening lineup and that various players would rotate in throughout camp.
"The five guys we have will probably change, No. 1, and No. 2, I've talked about having competition this whole time, and I'm not going to divvy up five guys after a walk-through. So, we've still got a lot of time to figure it out, and until we get in pads, I won't make any decisions on anything."
But Zimmer also told the media he's hoping the line gets formed sooner rather than later.
"It may be this week, it may be next week, I don't know," Zimmer said."We still have some combinations we want to look at, that's not the set lineup by any stretch of the imagination," he added.
Maximizing the roster
The Vikings have returned almost every starter from last year's squad that won the NFC North. Zimmer is fostering competition across position groups, but is also wants to maximize use of players that make the 53-man roster.
"I think we have a decent amount of talent here, and I want to be able to use that talent," Zimmer said. "I don't want to have some guy that can help us standing on the sideline. In other words, if I've got a real good blitzer, then I'm going to blitz him.
"If I have a guy that can do some things, then I want to use him as best we possibly can," he added. "That goes for throughout (the roster) whether it's tight ends, receivers, running backs, Jerick McKinnon, maybe an extra offensive linemen as a tight end.
"I want to try to do as much of that as we can because I think it's important that all the guys we have on the team feel like they have an opportunity to compete and go out and play," he added. "I want to reward them as long as they're helping us win."
Back in action
A pair of the Vikings biggest players went through the walk-through after missing parts of offseason practices.
Defensive tackles Linval Joseph and Danielle Hunter combined for 108 tackles and 15 tackles for losses last season as Minnesota's men in the middle of the defensive line.
Zimmer said he was pleased to see both of them on the field Friday morning.
"Those two guys are good guys and good players, and they've worked real hard to get back," Zimmer said. "I think Linval is really excited about getting going with the season, so it should be fun."
The Vikings decision to conduct joint practices with the Bengals before their first preseason game in Cincinnati in two weeks shortened the length of time the Vikings are in Mankato this year.
Asked if that raises the stakes, Zimmer said he's emphasizing techniques and fundamentals.
"Yes, the difference for us this year is that last year we played in the Hall of Fame Game, so we had a little bit more time. You only get a certain amount of time before the first game anyway, but I did talk to the coaches last night, and I really want to stress techniques and fundamentals," Zimmer said. "We have to develop a good base in the things we are doing. Not so much worrying about plays and schemes and things like that, but if we can develop the fundamentals and techniques, then we can get going."