EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –The Vikings secured a Week 2 victory over the Packers in Sunday night's home opener, and they now sit at the top of the NFC North division.
Minnesota started its season 2-0 despite losing quarterback Stefon Diggs to a torn ACL and playing the latter half of Sunday night's game without Adrian Peterson, who was **sidelined with a torn meniscus**.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer continues to emphasize the importance of group effort over individual performances.
"I thought it was a good team win," Zimmer told Twin Cities media on Monday. "We did a lot of good things as a team. He hit some big plays offensively, we scored in the red zone.
"Defensively, I think we played good most of the night," he added. "We played with a lot of heart and fight."
Zimmer also mentioned effective special teams play, including Kevin McDermott punting the ball to put the Packers inside the 20-yard line five times and Kevin McDermott making a 46-yard field goal in addition to two PATs.
Here are four other topics Zimmer addressed in his session:
Stefon stepping up
Zimmer said that Stefon Diggs, who had career highs of nine catches and 182 yards, has been stepping up as a leader in his second season with the team.
"He has been trying to be more of a leader," Zimmer said. "He's been extremely competitive this training camp and since he's come back here [from the offseason]."
Diggs is often seen supporting and encouraging his teammates, but Zimmer said he took it a step too far when he was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after coming off the sideline when a minor scuffle broke out between teams.
Diggs took responsibility for the reaction-based penalty following the game and said he had learned his lesson.
"I think he thought he was protecting one of his teammates, which, that's not the way to go about it," Zimmer said. "He knows it, and I actually talked to him about it in a meeting."
Paring down the penalties
During last night's matchup, Minnesota was assessed 13 penalties for 137 yards. Zimmer said there were a couple of different reasons for the penalties, but they are inexcusable no matter the cause.
"Some of them were discipline issues, and some of them were sloppy technique," Zimmer said. "We were a little grabby. The one on Diggs was discipline. We jumped offsides twice offensively, the pass interference, the quarterback got out of the pocket, and we grabbed a couple times.
Last season, the Vikings were the least-penalized team during the regular season (88 penalties for 797 yards).
"We have to clean those up – we can't have that many penalties," Zimmer said. "That's not been our M.O. here."
Defensive line depth
Zimmer said he was overall pleased with the way Minnesota's defensive line performed against the Packers. Danielle Hunter was sidelined with an injury, but Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen were both rotated in on the inside throughout the game.
"I thought we executed the rush plan pretty well," Zimmer said. "He got out a couple times like he always does, but we were able to get him on the ground quite a few times, and I think it's always a combination of the coverage and the rush.
Zimmer pointed out the high number of snaps that Everson Griffen and Brian Robison played and the number of times they pass rushed.
"I thought those guys did a nice job," Zimmer said. "Linval [Joseph] had a nice game, Tom Johnson had a good game. Obviously B-Rob had a good game. That's one of the strengths of our football team."
Preparing for the Panthers
Coming off their prime-time win, the Vikings will make a quick turnaround and start preparing to face the Panthers on Sunday.
"Another terrible Tuesday," Zimmer joked, referring to an all-day marathon tomorrow of game planning for the defending NFC Champions.
Zimmer said Carolina is a talented team on a number of levels.
"They've got huge receivers, they've got a quarterback who can really run," Zimmer said. "They run a lot of misdirection things, they run a lot of option stuff […] They've got quarterback draws, quarterback runs. The tight ends, more than one but especially [Greg] Olsen, he's a really good tight end.
"They have a ton of weapons," Zimmer added. "It's not a surprise that they scored [46 points against San Francisco]."