The week of practice is over and the Vikings are set for their home opener against the New England Patriots on Sunday. Here's what we learned this week about the Vikings as they prepared for Week 2.
Mike Zimmer Likes to Deer Hunt on FridaysDuring his standard Friday meeting with reporters, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer was asked what he likes to do on Fridays as the week winds down and the upcoming game nears. Zimmer, who has a reputation for being stoic and stern, also has a sarcastic and witty side to him. He displayed that in his answer on Friday.
"Well, hopefully on Friday afternoon's I go deer hunting, but I'm not doing that this afternoon," Zimmer said. "Usually that's what I do. Then Saturday morning I study again and Saturday night. Then usually a little bit Sunday morning."
"Good Chance" Rhodes Plays, Floyd Feeling BetterTwo defensive starters for the Vikings appeared on the injury report and were limited in practice this week. Sharrif Floyd (shoulder) and Xavier Rhodes (groin) both practiced on Friday, though, and Zimmer expressed some optimism that they may see the field on Sunday.
Zimmer said there's a "good chance" Rhodes will play and he said Floyd was feeling much better.
On the week's final injury report, both are listed as questionable after participating on a limited basis in Friday's practice.
Just as an injury report refresher, there are four possible designations on each week's report. "Doubtful" means there's a 25% chance the player will play, "questionable" means 50% and "probable" means 75%.
Patriots Starting LB Doesn't PracticeOne of New England's best defenders – LB Jamie Collins – was added to the injury report on Thursday with a thigh injury and was listed as a limited participant. On Friday, Collins was downgraded to a non-participant in practice and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game.
Patterson's Non-TD Runs Impressed Turner MostThe play everyone will remember from the Vikings season-opening win over the Rams is Cordarrelle Patterson's sensational 67-yard touchdown run that broke the game wide open late in the 3rd quarter. Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner, though, had some interesting commentary not only on that run but on two other plays that actually impressed him more.
"The two other runs were more impressive to me because they were challenged runs at the line of scrimmage, they were physical runs, our guys did a good job up front," Turner said. "They are more downhill-type runs where he had to be physical and it's a 12-yard run, a 19-yard run, whatever they were. Those are the type of things that you are trying to get out of it."
Turner makes a good point. Patterson's long scoring run was impressive, no doubt. But it was blocked beautifully by the Vikings. C John Sullivan was up to the second level quickly to seal a linebacker out, TEs Rhett Ellison and Kyle Rudolph each had seal blocks to create the edge for Patterson, and both RG Brandon Fusco and RB Matt Asiata led Patterson through the whole. Patterson wasn't touched until he got to the third level. Patterson's other two runs were shorter but were also more demanding of Patterson's ability.
Regardless of how you look at it, Patterson was impressive on Sunday in the team's season-opener and even Turner, a coaching veteran of 35 years, can see the beauty of a playmaker such as Flash.
"That's why this league is so exciting to watch," Turner said, "because there are so many great players that can do extra after they get their hands on the ball."