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Presser Points: Zimmer Preaches Success After A Loss

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —Head Coach Mike Zimmer had success in 2015 following a loss.

The Vikings were 4-1 in games last season following a loss and are 8-6 overall during Zimmer's tenure in Minnesota after a defeat.

The Vikings find themselves in that situation this week as they begin prepare to head to Soldier Field to take on the Bears on Monday Night Football.

"You never know with each team, but if you go back to the three years that I have been here after some bad losses, we've usually played pretty good the next week," Zimmer said. "We might not have won but we have played pretty good."

Minnesota was the last undefeated team in the NFL before the Philadelphia Eagles won 21-10 on Sunday and, it was the first time Minnesota had surrendered a regular-season game since Dec. 20, 2015, against the Arizona Cardinals.

The Vikings streak of eight regular-season wins in a row has come to an end, but Zimmer says his team is focused on the Bears.

"We've moved on. I know how this football team reacts to adversity and the way that they have done things."

Zimmer has stayed to his week-to-week approach heading into the prime-time matchup in Chicago and stressed the belief he has in the players on his roster going forward.

"I know I wasn't happy with our team last week," Zimmer said. "But I believe in this football team. I believe that this team still has a lot of great people on it, and they want to be good.

"I think they are focused on the task at hand all of the time, and I wouldn't want to coach any other football team than this."

Here are four other topics that Zimmer covered:

Bears pass rush

Zimmer used three words to sum up the Bears pass rush on Thursday.

Athletic. Long. Physical.

LB Pernell McPhee returned from injury last week after missing Chicago's first six games of 2016. McPhee was third on the Bears defense last season with 6.0 sacks.

"They got him back last week, and he's an all-day affair," Zimmer said. "They've got three guys that are pretty good. Willie Young has six sacks, he's a long, athletic, powerful guy. Used to be in Detroit, has had a good year, really a good couple years in Chicago. McPhee is a guy that was in Baltimore that has done a nice job as well as they drafted (Leonard) Floyd early, and he's come on as of late."

In the Bears Thursday Night game against the Green Bay Packers last week, the first-round draft pick Floyd sacked Aaron Rodgers on a third down, forced a fumble and recovered it for the Bears only touchdown of that game.

Zimmer noticed his athleticism and a pattern of the Bears pass rush.

"They do that quite a bit. They'll put three guys on one side and one guy on the other," Zimmer said. "I think they're trying to get some one-on-one matchups and when you typically do that, you get them."

Running game on the rise

The Vikings are averaging 74.3 rushing yards a game this season, which is 31st in the NFL.

In the past two games, the running game has improved as the team has ran for 96 yards against Houston and 93 against the Eagles.

"I think we are getting better," Zimmer said. "The negative plays are really what are hurting our average. If you go back and look at the number of negative yardage runs we've had. That's been an issue, and we really haven't broken any big ones. That tends to keep your average down.

The Vikings offense has transformed since losing the NFL's leading rusher in 2015 Adrian Peterson to a torn meniscus earlier this season.

"I'm sure that everybody goes into games saying, 'Hey, we're going to not let them throw the football and make them run the ball.' That's kind of the evolution of our offensive football team from what it was at the beginning of the year and last year to what it is now. If that's the way they decide to do it, then we're going to have to make them pay."

Jay Cutler expected to return

The Bears starting quarterback at the beginning of the season Jay Cutler has missed the last five games because of a thumb injury he suffered in Week 2.

The 11-year veteran is expected to return this week this week and start against the Bears.

Zimmer recognized that Cutler will give the Bears "a lift" on offense.

"Obviously he's got a great arm," Zimmer said. "They've got some excellent wide receivers. He moves in the pocket well and scrambles well. He can make the throws pretty much from everywhere. He's not afraid to throw the ball into tight spaces. I think he understands his receivers very well and the things that they can do and the matchups that they have. He's always been an impressive quarterback to me."

Division matchup on the road

The Vikings were on the road last week and the same goes for this week.

This game will be rematch of a bout that the Vikings claimed 23-20 with a game-winning field goal from Kevin McDermott 23-20. It was Minnesota's first win at Chicago since 2007.

Zimmer is 3-1 so far against the Bears. Division games are important, but Zimmer doesn't alter his approach much.

"To be honest with you, I've never really talked about, I mean now I talk about it more, but when I first got here I just talked about winning this game," Zimmer said. "It didn't matter if it was on the road or division or whatever. We're just trying to win as many games as we can. Obviously, I know the division a lot better now and what's at stake with everything. To me, it's still about trying to win this week and then whoever we play next week, we'll worry about that one."

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