The week of practice is over and the Vikings are nearly set for their contest against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. Here's what we learned this week about the Vikings-Chargers matchup in Week 3
Zimmer really wants the home crowd to be loudOne of Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's strengths as leader of the team is his ability to focus on the things he can control and his ability to get the team to focus on the things they can control, as well. But he made no bones about it this week that he is hopeful the home crowd will make life difficult for the Chargers on Sunday.
"We're going to need our fans this week especially with the no-huddle offense that they run, the muddle huddle and the communication, I think they can really help us being loud this Sunday," Zimmer said on Wednesday.
Asked if the fans were loud last Sunday versus the Lions, Zimmer said the fans were great. But he also added: "I think we want it louder this week."
Zimmer went on to make similar comments on his weekly KFAN show (Xs and Os with Mike Zimmer) with host Paul Allen.
Ball security was a focus this weekAdrian Peterson had a great day rushing the football against Detroit. But he did have an issue with dropping the ball. Peterson fumbled three times – one that was negated by a Lions penalty, one that he recovered himself and one that he lost.
The win coupled with Peterson's productive day made the fumbles a footnote last Sunday, but they were a point of emphasis in practice this week.
Asked on Wednesday if he was going to ask his defensive players to make a point to poke at the football in practice so the offensive players were forced to work on their ball security, Zimmer rather matter-of-factly said: "Yeah, we're going to make sure we do that."
Asked on Friday how things went with Peterson's ball security this week in practice, Zimmer said: "He's been good, he's been good. I've talked to him several times, I was joking around about some things. Adrian understands." Same plays, better execution
* *Peterson had 10 carries for 31 yards in Week 1 at San Francisco but turned around six days later and dashed through the Lions defense for 134 yards on 29 carries. Did the Vikings make significant changes to the plan that led to the significant change in results? No, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner.
"I can tell you, we didn't run a play in the game that wasn't in our game plan the week before," Turner explained. "The game was much different, we played a lot better and obviously we were able to get the ball to Adrian early."
Peterson had 13 carries for 70 yards in the 1st quarter against Detroit, so Turner is right that Peterson got the ball early and often. More than increasing Peterson's touches, though, the Vikings focused on getting into an offensive rhythm.
"The number one thing that I talked about before the game was eliminating the negative plays, particularly unforced errors," Turner said. "The other thing we talked about was converting third downs. We were able to do those things, so we were able to get in a rhythm."
Turner makes Teddy Bridgewater laugh
* *During his weekly press conference on Wednesday, Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater was asked a lot of questions about the coaching style of his offensive coordinator. There was some emphasis on Turner this week because he was the head coach for the Chargers from 2007-12, a tenure that included Adrian Peterson's single-game rushing record performance of 296 yards in November of 2007.
After being asked about Turner's typical demeanor and how his relationship with Turner as evolved over the last year-plus, Bridgewater was asked whether Turner ever shows a lighter side and makes his players laugh.
Said Bridgewater: "Oh yeah, definitely, definitely. He has some jokes that he shares, he has some stories. He'll come in and talk about a play that happened back when he was with the Dallas Cowboys and Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders, those guys going at in practice and things like that. He has a ton of wisdom, a ton of stories that he shares with us." Zimmer 'probably' owes Barr an apology
* *Late in last week's win over the Lions, LB Anthony Barr chased Matthew Stafford toward the sidelines and gave Stafford a shove as he went out of bounds. The nearest official determined Barr was guilty of a late hit and flagged Barr 15 yards for unnecessary roughness.
Zimmer yanked Barr from the game momentarily, but earlier in the week explained Barr may not have been in the wrong.
"I probably owe Anthony Barr an apology because I talked to the officials last night," Zimmer said on Wednesday. "These quarterbacks now, they're starting to slow down as they go out of bounds and kind of egging these things on, and so that was one of the things we talked about. He said yeah, it probably should not have been called."
Zimmer clarified by saying he had to talk to the League office about a separate matter but that the conversation evolved to discussing the issue of QBs running out of bounds and the protections granted to them in that scenario. QBs lose their protection when the slow down on their way out of bounds, and that may have been what happened in the Barr-Stafford play last week.