EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Monday he is "disappointed in our performance" Sunday against the Packers but "not discouraged about our future."
The Vikings fell at home for the first time in a calendar year to the Packers, the same culprit from Nov. 23, 2014, leaving both teams with equal 7-3 records. Green Bay holds the edge in the standings via the head-to-head tiebreaker.
The last Monday after a Vikings loss, Minnesota was preparing for its Week 5 bye at 2-2 with much of the shape of this season to be determined. The Vikings followed with five straight wins and can still control what will happen this time.
The sun did rise again at Winter Park, and although the orange orb is setting before 5 p.m. (CT) this time of year, Zimmer and the Vikings see plenty of daylight down the stretch. He said they are determined to not let the loss linger into Week 12 when Minnesota visits Atlanta (6-4).
"I'm disappointed in our performance, but I'm not discouraged about our future," Zimmer said. "I still believe in this football team and I believe in everything about us. We just have to figure out who we are and stay true to who we are and not let outside influences affect us and just go ahead and play."
Players are off Tuesday but likely to watch film on their own.
"I told them, it's OK to be upset today," Zimmer said. "But when they come in … Wednesday they better be smiling because it's time to get going."
Players lamented that the team didn't perform at its highest level against a Packers squad that won its first six games of the season before dropping its next three.
"That's a good team we were playing against, and they had their backs against the wall with three straight losses," Blair Walsh said. "You knew we were going to get their best shot, and we didn't give them ours. That's the most disappointing thing, but it's a team that's learning."
The Vikings have six games to play against teams that are a combined 35-25, including the regular season finale against the Packers on Jan. 3, 2016, at Lambeau Field.
The matchups are all within the NFC and sure to impact the race for playoff spots. They include Sunday against the Falcons, followed by home against the Seahawks (5-5), a visit to the Cardinals (8-2) for Thursday Night Football, and home contests against the Bears (4-6) and Giants (5-5) before the 111th Border Battle.
"What we've done previously was to put ourselves in position where we could control our own destiny. The biggest thing we have to do is continue to win games," Newman said. "We just have to keep playing as a team and playing together, and understanding there's going to be some games where guys might make some plays, but we've got to be resilient, bounce back and make plays of our own."
Added linebacker Anthony Barr, "Everything that we want is still within reach."
Flag football: Believe it or not, the Vikings are still the least penalized team in the NFL, in spite of eight infractions for a season-high 110 yards assessed during Sunday's game. The Vikings were assessed a total of 16 penalties for 148 yards in their previous four games.
"You've got to learn how to handle your emotions in big-game situations and be able to play the way you've played all season," Barr said. "We can't change anything or try to do too much. I think we got away from ourselves a bit yesterday."
Minnesota has had 56 penalties assessed this season. Pittsburgh (58) has been assessed the second-lowest total.
Unintended consequence: After Everson Griffen's sack of Aaron Rodgers on a second-down play pinned the Packers at their own 15-yard line Zimmer thought that the Vikings could squeeze in another possession and perhaps tie the game at nine or take the lead with a touchdown. He called the Vikings first timeout with 1:53 remaining.
View game action images from Sunday's game vs. Green Bay.
The Packers, however, were able to convert third-and-15 with a 50-yard pass interference penalty assessed to Newman and eventually get a touchdown for a 16-6 lead with six seconds remaining after an offsetting penalties and an illegal contact penalty continued to extend the drive.
Green Bay advanced to the Minnesota 16-yard line with 44 seconds left:
First-and-10, MIN 16: a 1-yard pass from Rodgers to TE Richard Rodgers (GB takes third timeout with 40 seconds left)
Second-and-9, MIN 15: incomplete pass
Third-and-9, MIN 15: touchdown pass from Rodgers to Rodgers nullified by a holding penalty; a roughing the passer call offset the penalty
Third-and-9, MIN 15: illegal contact penalty awards 5 yards and a new set of downs
First-and-goal, MIN 10: incomplete pass
Second-and-goal, MIN 10: incomplete pass
Third-and-goal, MIN 10: TD pass from Rodgers to Randall Cobb
"In retrospect, there's a lot of things there," Zimmer said. "Maybe you don't [call a timeout] with a guy like Rodgers. He gets out of the pocket, we get a pass interference and then we get a couple of penalties down in the red zone.
"I think we had a whole bunch of plays inside the red zone with not much time left," Zimmer added. "And I could have made a better call on the third down. They ran the corner route the play before and we defended it with one coverage. That's a typical play that they run down there, and we were playing for that and they threw a corner-post on us for the touchdown. Part of football."