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Zimmer on His Hill for Bridgewater Decision: 'Because I Wanted To'

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer didn't dive deeply into his decision to start veteran Shaun Hill instead of starter Teddy Bridgewater on Thursday against the Seahawks in Seattle.

Stepping up to the podium after an 18-11 win that was sealed with late-game heroics by Marcus Sherels, Zimmer simply explained, "Because I sat him," when asked why Bridgewater did not play.

A follow-up led to a classic from the third-year head coach, "Because I wanted to."

Zimmer did make sure everyone knew that the decision was not punitive in nature.

"Teddy Bridgewater is the nicest kid in the world," Zimmer said. "There's no disciplinary action ever with Teddy. It had nothing to do with discipline. It had to do with my decision."

Shaun Hill, who is preparing for his 15th NFL season, answered the bell in place of Bridgewater. Hill finished 10-of-17 passing for 129 yards and led the Vikings on an eight-play, 77-yard touchdown drive capped with a 2-yard run by Jerick McKinnon, who started in place of Adrian Peterson.

Hill connected with Kyle Rudolph for a gain of 32 down the seam during the scoring drive. The gain was supplemented by a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty on Seattle's Jarran Reed. Hill also lofted a 22-yarder to Rudolph down the sideline for a gain of 22 on the previous possession and completed a 2-point conversion pass to McKinnon.

"It was great for Shaun to play. We had to take a good look at him – make sure that we're going into the season with a backup that we feel good about," Zimmer said. "I thought he managed everything that we did in the huddle. I thought he got the right checks in, and he had opportunities to get the ball downfield. He didn't panic in the pocket. I thought we gave him a lot of time to survey the field, so it was good."

Bridgewater told Ben Leber during the simulcast on FOX 9 and KFAN 100.3-FM that, "It's nothing at all to be concerned about."

"Like Coach Zimmer said, it was his decision, and it's good to be out here supporting the guys right now," Bridgewater said. "Shaun has been doing a good job of just coming in and getting a ton of playing time. I asked him how he felt, and he said it feels good to be back out there.

"It feels great to see him put together a scoring drive and even the backups," Bridgewater added. "It's two weeks in a row that Joel [Stave] has been able to put together a drive. He put together a two-minute drive to get some points before the half, so it's great to see the guys come out, work on some different situations and play fast."

Stave replaced Hill late in the first half and led the Vikings 69 yards in 69 seconds for a drive that ended with a 27-yard field goal by Blair Walsh and an 11-0 lead at halftime.

Bridgewater was 6-of-7 passing for 92 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown pass at Cincinnati last week.

Zimmer said he thought the Vikings first-team offensive line performed better in pass protection than it did a week ago in Cincinnati, when the Bengals applied pressure on each of the Vikings first three snaps, resulting in a short completion, a sack and an incompletion.

"Yeah, we didn't run the ball good enough. You know, [Seattle put] eight guys in the box on almost every play, so – we have to run the ball better, but we're making progress there," Zimmer said. "I thought the pass protection was good. I thought it was solid. We gave [Hill] a lot of time. So, we still have a lot of work to today, but we'll keep grinding at it."  

View images from the Vikings' second preseason game of 2016 as they took on the Seahawks in Seattle.

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