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Presser Points: Zimmer on Bears, Packers & QBs

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings have a short week to prepare for a long-time rival.

NFL teams generally allow themselves 24 hours to celebrate a victory or lament a loss.

Minnesota's coaches took less time to enjoy the Vikings 20-17 win over the Bears on Monday night because the Green Bay Packers are headed to U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

"We watched the tape, quickly, then we got moving on to Green Bay," Head Coach Mike Zimmer said. "I thought there was some really good things. Our guys fought hard. The second half, offensively, was much better than the first half, obviously. I thought the offensive line played much better in the second half. We made some plays. Had two good scoring drives.

"Defensively, I thought we played fairly solid," Zimmer added. "We made some mistakes, obviously, we got a lot of cleaning up to do in some other areas. Overall, it was a good win. Any time you can win a division game on the road, I think it's important."

Here are four other topics Zimmer discussed Tuesday:

1. 'Belief is a good word'

The Vikings limited the Bears to 274 net yards and just 13 in the final 12:24 of the game.

Minnesota kept a potent Chicago rushing attack from revving it up and forced two turnovers by rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

It was another strong performance by a unit that ranks seventh in rush yards allowed per game and total yards allowed per game. 

Zimmer said he's liked what the group has done on the gridiron and the vibe from players when Minnesota's offense is on the field.

"Especially the last two games, I've really noticed this group on the sideline, the energy, the enthusiasm that they have," Zimmer said. "I guess belief is a good word. The things that they're doing, I think they feel confident in what we're trying to do. I think [Defensive Coordinator] George [Edwards] is doing a nice job with the defensive guys. We've been very fortunate on third downs; we've been pretty good in that area. That always helps to not extend drives."

Minnesota is leading the NFL with a third-down allowance rate of 25.5 percent. 

 

2. Bouncing back at running back

On the same day that Dalvin Cook had surgery to repair a torn ACL, Minnesota's run game rushed for its highest total of the season. Jerick McKinnon led with 95 yards on 16 carries, highlighted by a 58-yard touchdown.

The score capped a possession that began with McKinnon fumbling the ball on a kickoff return. The Vikings were fortunate that the Bears did not recover the ball in bounds.

"I thought he ran the ball well," Zimmer said. "I thought it was really big; he fumbled on the kickoff, and then came back and gets some big yards there, the 58-yard touchdown. I thought it was good, showed his resiliency coming back after the fumble."

Latavius Murray added 31 yards on a season-high 12 carries.

Zimmer said the Vikings could use a different approach at the position each week.  

"Murray started out the game good," Zimmer said. "He had good runs early; he kind of tapered off a little bit. I think Jerick started off a little slow, and then he got going toward the end. We'll just have to see how it goes as we continue to go forward."   

3. Take what they give

Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen rank fifth and sixth in the NFL, respectively, in receiving yards through five weeks.

In Monday's game, however, McKinnon and Kyle Rudolph led the Vikings passing attack. McKinnon caught six passes for 51 yards, and Rudolph totaled 45 yards on six receptions, including a touchdown that was cleverly enjoyed.

Zimmer said Case Keenum, who relieved Kyle Rudolph late in the second quarter, was taking what was available on shorter routes.

"[The Bears] kind of did what they did. Coverage dictates that a lot of times," Zimmer said. "They were playing a different coverage than Tampa Bay did. I know everybody gets caught up in the shots and those things, but it's about taking what the defense gives you and try to take advantage of it. It was a different game, a different defense, just kind of how it works out sometimes."

4. QB status

Vikings Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Eric Sugarman updated media members on the condition of Bradford, as well as Stefon Diggs and Cook on Tuesday.

Sugarman said Bradford re-aggravated a knee injury he suffered in Week 1 that sidelined him in Weeks 2-4. He added that there is no ligament damage or bone bruise, but Bradford is dealing with wear and tear in a knee that previously required two ACL surgeries.

Zimmer was asked about Keenum's job of filling in and about the possibility of Bridgewater returning from the Physically Unable to Perform list.

"Well, I think [Case has] won two games; he showed he's had some good stuff on tape," Zimmer said. "I think the team believes when he comes in there he's going to go in there and play well, and that's the most important thing."

Bridgewater is scheduled to be re-evaluated by his surgeon on Monday.

"I have belief that he will [play this season], but he hasn't been on the field yet, so it's hard to say," Zimmer said.

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