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Zimmer's Personal Experience Could Help Guide Vikings Forward

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Mike Zimmer is going to lean on his past as he moves the Vikings forward without their franchise quarterback.

Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a "significant knee injury" without being touched at Tuesday's practice at Winter Park. 

Although the timetable for Bridgewater's return is unknown, Zimmer said his team is prepared to dig in and fight. The Vikings open their 2016 season in 12 days at Tennessee before hosting Green Bay a week later in the regular-season opener at U.S. Bank Stadium.

"We're going to find a way. That's our job – find a way," Zimmer said. "No one's going to feel sorry for us, no one's going to cry – the Tennessee Titans or Green Bay Packers, or we can go down the schedule.

"No one's going to feel sorry for us if that's the case," he added. "So, I'm not going to feel sorry for us, either. I'm not going to let this team feel sorry for itself."

Zimmer said he's going to draw on his own personal history to help rally the Vikings without Bridgewater.

Zimmer built some of the NFL's best defenses as a coordinator, before landing the Minnesota head coaching job in 2014.

Zimmer also moved past a personal tragedy. His wife, Vikki, unexpectedly passed away in October of 2009 at the age of 50. Zimmer, then Cincinnati's defensive coordinator, opted to work the following weekend and helped the Bengals win at Baltimore on their way to claiming the AFC North. He said he's going to rely on the perseverance he learned during tough times.

"It's tough today, but tomorrow the sun — my wife passed away seven years ago, right, but the sun came up the next day, the world kept spinning and people kept going to work, and that's what we're going to do," Zimmer said.

Zimmer's father, Bill, passed away last August at the age of 84. Bill Zimmer, a member of the Illinois High School Association Hall of Fame, coached football and wrestling at Lockport Township High School for more than 30 years.

Zimmer has said in the past that two of his biggest mentors were a pair of Bills — his father, and Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Parcells, whom Zimmer worked for in Dallas.

Zimmer said Tuesday he'll continue to rely on those two coaches who helped mold him into one of the NFL's best defensive coaches.

"I've talked to Coach Parcells a couple of times today," Zimmer said. "I've talked to, well, in spirit, I've talked to my dad. He always found a way to do it, so we're going to figure out a way."

Zimmer said he didn't see Bridgewater's injury occur as he was looking downfield during practice.

Minnesota's Head Coach will continue to look all around him for strength and guidance as he navigates the Vikings in 2016.

"We're not going to stick our heads in the sand, we're going to figure out a way," Zimmer said. "Everybody can count us out if they want, but I think that would be the wrong thing to do."



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