EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings currently sit at 5-2 and in first place in the NFC North in advance of Sunday's game against the Browns in London.
Minnesota was also 5-2 and atop the division a year ago, but struggled down the stretch as the Vikings finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer met with the Twin Cities media Wednesday afternoon and said that a strong start doesn't mean much if you don't follow up on it with wins in the back half of the schedule.
"I like their attitude, and I like the way they go about their business," Zimmer said of his team. "It's a long season. I don't think we've won anything yet.
"I think maybe that this team understands from last year's experience, that just because you start out good doesn't mean you're going to end good. I think they realize that," Zimmer added. "I think they understand that we've got nine more games to play. We have to play them all out."
The Vikings started 5-0 in 2016 but were hampered by injuries and inconsistent play down the stretch.
The Vikings started 2-2 in 2015, as they did this season, before rattling of five straight wins. The Vikings finished 11-5 and won the NFC North in the regular-season finale in Green Bay.
Here are three other topics Zimmer addressed during his session:
1. An eye on London
Zimmer and the Vikings will travel across the pond to London on Wednesday night, and will arrive in London around 10 a.m. local time Thursday morning.
That gives the Vikings three full days to get acclimated to the six-hour time change and get their body clocks adjusted to play Cleveland on at 1:30 p.m. Sunday London time (8:30 a.m. CT). There is only a five-hour time difference because daylight savings time ends in England on Sunday and continues through next week in America.
Zimmer said Wednesday that he consulted with a handful of fellow coaches to get advice on when to go to London and how to adapt to the travel.
"I've talked to several. I told them my ideas and got their opinions of what I thought," Zimmer said. "Honestly, it's all going to come down to how we play on Sunday.
"A lot of teams do all these things and they go over there and get their butts beat. Some teams do it differently and win," Zimmer added. "Arizona went over for the whole week last week. At the end of the day, it's about football and how you execute."
2. A healthy unit?
By the end of Sunday's win against Baltimore, the left side of the Vikings offensive line was banged up.
Left tackle Riley Reiff exited the game with an injury and was replaced by Rashod Hill. Jeremiah Sirles, who was filling in for starting left guard Nick Easton, was also injured. Rookie Danny Isidora filled in for Sirles.
Zimmer took an optimistic tone Wednesday when asked about the health of his offensive line.
"I think we have a chance to get these guys back," Zimmer said. "I think we have a chance to being fairly close to healthy."
The Vikings have used two different starting line combinations in 2017 after trotting out eight different starting units last season.
3. Respect for Thomas
Zimmer spent six seasons in Cincinnati as the Bengals Defensive Coordinator, meaning he had to scheme against Browns left tackle Joe Thomas twice a year.
Zimmer won't have to do so Sunday because Thomas suffered a torn triceps last week, which ended his consecutive snaps streak at 10,363.
Zimmer said it will be strange not seeing No. 73 on the left side of Cleveland's offensive line.
"He was in there for a while," Zimmer said. "Joe Thomas, number one, is a tremendous person. I had a chance to coach against him in Cleveland when I was in Cincinnati. Super player.
"To play that long and that many reps over the course of time is a Joe DiMaggio [streak]," Zimmer said. "I guess it is, right?"
DiMaggio had a 56-game hitting streak from May 15-July 16, 1941. His former Yankees teammate, Lou Gehrig played in 2,130 consecutive games, a record eventually passed by Cal Ripken, Jr.
Zimmer said Thomas didn't have a weakness in his game.
"He's just a hard guy to beat all the time," Zimmer said. "He was smart, good with his hands, good with his sets. Physical in the running game."