The week of practice is over and the Vikings are nearly set for their contest against the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Here's what we learned this week about the Vikings-Lions matchup in Week 2.
The Lions defensive line has changed, but it remains the same (very good)Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are gone, but the Lions defensive line is still strong. It's still strong because the Lions traded for DT Haloti Ngata and signed Tyrunn Walker. While the names of the new duo may not hit you like the Suh-Fairley duo did, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said he didn't notice much difference.
"Ngata is a big physical guy like Suh was, and their front tries to get after you every single play if they can," Zimmer said. "It hasn't changed really at all."
The starting DEs are Ziggy Ansah, who will match up against Matt Kalil, and Jason Jones, who will see a lot of TJ Clemmings. Ansah and Jones combined for 4.0 of the 12 sacks the Lions had on Teddy Bridgewater last season.
We have to wait until Sunday to know if Rhodes will shadow MegatronWill the Vikings shadow Calvin Johnson with CB Xavier Rhodes? There is one man who definitely knows the answer, or at least the plan, but he's (wisely) keep his cards close to the vest.
"I doubt it," Zimmer said, before adding, "We'll see."
Whether it's Johnson or No. 2 WR Golden Tate, containing the Lions passing game is a tall task. Here's a closer look at how Detroit's Week 1 opponent, the San Diego Chargers, attempted to do it.
Also, Zimmer declined to say who would start at safety opposite Harrison Smith on Sunday. The job has been Robert Blanton's for most of the past year, but it was Andrew Sendejo who got the start in Week 1.
"Haven't decided yet," Zimmer said. "(The decision is) more of just the feeling."
Bill Parcells called Mike Zimmer this weekThere's an unwritten rule abided by some that once 24 hours passes from the previous game, win or lose, you move on to the next opponent. Zimmer was asked about that mindset on Friday and he said one of his mentors, Bill Parcells, utilized that rule well.
"He was good at it," Zimmer said of Parcells. "He was good at a lot of things though. He called me this week as a matter of fact and we talked for a little bit. He's always got some really good sayings and quotations for me.
"When I was with Parcells, he had you thinking about the next week pretty quickly."
Zimmer also said his team did a good job of moving on quickly and turning their focus to the Detroit Lions.
"I mean I didn't have as long of time to be grouchy as I wanted to. Our players did a good job of moving on this week. I think they understood the message that we were trying to portray to them and I think that because of the urgency of a division game, back at home, short week, I think all of those things added to that."
Teddy takes well to tough coachingOne trait fans love about Zimmer is his propensity to tell it like it is without any sugarcoating. Fans love lots of Teddy Bridgewater's traits, too, and there's another one to add to the list – Bridgewater takes well to tough coaching.
Zimmer didn't mince words this week in assessing Bridgewater's performance on Monday night, saying some of the sacks the Vikings allowed were on the QB's shoulders and also saying he doesn't expect Bridgewater to throw out another "clunker" of a performance.
Asked about the blunt words from his head coach, Bridgewater didn't miss a beat.
"I wasn't surprised at all and that's what I love, tough coaching," Bridgewater said. "I try to be my worst critic and to hear it from the head guy, it tells you, 'Hey, you need to step up your game.' Hearing that just put that chip on my shoulder and I have to continue to just get better and it just showed me and it showed us as a team we're nowhere as good as we are. We got outplayed. San Fran out-executed us and it showed Monday night."
Now, it sounds like Bridgewater is out to show Monday night was aberration and Sunday will be a bounce back.