The Vikings offensive line paved the way for 199 combined rushing yards in the 26-16 victory against Detroit on Sunday.
Prior to the game, Head Coach Mike Zimmer experienced something he hadn't seen before from his team since he has been coaching in Minnesota.
"I think that going back and thinking of the 18 games that I've been here now, they played pretty much with a chip on their shoulder," Zimmer said when he addressed the media on Monday. "That may be first time I've really seen them say 'hey I got you today Coach.' You know when I go around and shake guys hands before the game about four of those offensive lineman said 'I got you today Coach."
One statistic that stood out in the box score was the 10 penalties assessed to the Vikings for 97 yards. Like any head coach Zimmer doesn't like penalties, but he wasn't upset about the mentality his offensive line showed on Sunday.
"I don't want penalties, obviously. But we are trying to build a physical tough presence, and I want our guys to finish blocks," Zimmer said. "We have to stop at the whistle, but I like the mentality of that part."
While it's important to Zimmer that the offensive line carries out this mindset on the field, it was also evident to him that the skill position players took the initiative to contribute to blocking as well.
"I think the receivers did a nice job, Jarius Wright did a nice job going in there and cracking guys when they had the safeties down in the box," Zimmer said. "I think that overall mentality was important. We're trying to develop that mentality, that toughness, and the physicality. That's what we want to be like as a football team."
Adrian Peterson carried the ball on four of the first five plays in the game as the Vikings established the ground game early. When this started to happen the plays began to open up for other players through quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
"I think it's important because as you saw during the course of the ball game they started dropping the safety in a lot more so that they can get some extra guys in the box and then it starts opening up some other areas."
The Vikings were able to capitalize on several plays down the field when Detroit brought an extra man up to protect against the run.
A notable play that gave Minnesota momentum was a trick reverse handoff to Wright that went for 29 yards. The play led to a Vikings touchdown and gave Minnesota a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter, which became insurmountable for the Lions.
"There was a lot of things that we've got to clean up, we've got to do a lot better in a lot of different areas, but the physicality, the passion that we played with, the intensity that we played with, I think all of those things were very, very good," Zimmer said.