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Zimmer, Vikings, Preparing for NFC North Battle in Week 17

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.– A lot of things have come together at the right time for the Vikings during the month of December, and they have momentum on their side heading into Green Bay to contend for the NFC North division title this week on *Sunday Night Football. *

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer addressed the media Wednesday, and a big focus was on the way quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is playing and the improvement of the passing game.

"I think that we have a good understanding of the things we can attack other teams with," Zimmer said. "I think [Teddy]'s been more accurate, I think we've protected better for the most part. I don't know – he's just felt more comfortable lately, as we got into the season."

While Zimmer said he would have liked to see this type of performance over the entire year, he also said, "it's always a good time" for this type of development.

Zimmer has said in past press conferences that Bridgewater tends to be more of a "pleaser" and does not always speak up with input on certain plays or game plans. The second-year quarterback still acts as a pleaser by nature, but Zimmer said he's playing with more freedom now.

Specifically, Bridgewater has been successful with using the hard count on snaps.

"He does a good job with his voice inflection, and I think some of the things we do offensively help with that as well," Zimmer said.

Bridgewater isn't the only one that has been playing well, either. Both Bridgewater and Zimmer are all about the team, and ultimately it's been a group effort to reach this point in the season. Over the past three weeks and heading into Green Bay, the Vikings have shown what they're capable of as a team.

Here are a few more thoughts from the podium on preparing to play the Packers:

Zimmer on Aaron Rodgers:

"He had a couple turnovers last week, but this guy is really something. He's amazing with places he can throw the football, the arm strength he has, the vision, accuracy – I mean, he's the real deal. Whatever the stats say, I don't really care, I just know that when I watch him, it's like watching a different level guy than you see a lot of times. There's good quarterbacks and there's great ones, and this guy's great."

Zimmer on containing Packers running back Eddie Lacy:

"You've got to try and make him stop his feet. He gets a head of steam and he can roll you. You've got to do a good job of being in the right place, getting off the blocks and getting more than one guy there. We can't be, 'You go make this tackle, I'm going to take care of my spot here.' You've got to hit and get off."

Zimmer on Vikings defense since Week 13 (Seattle):

"I think we've been opportunistic as far as getting turnovers, making plays, we seem to be playing pretty free," Zimmer said. "I think we've been doing a pretty good job on third downs for the most part. Each week is different – you just go in trying to do the best you can each week."

Zimmer on linebacker Anthony Barr:

"There's a big difference when he's in the ball game, because he sees things. Sometimes I'm really amazed that a guy that's a second-year linebacker that really didn't play behind the line in college, that played two years at defensive end, basically what he was, some of the things that he can do and see and react to – it's pretty special. I think going forward, when he's able to have a full offseason and able to get some strength … because he's a great athlete, but he's also really smart. He sees things fast. […] Once he continues to develop some more strength and then some of the other things he still needs to work on, there really is no limit for him, with his athletic ability. Because, he has the other intangibles besides just being an athlete."

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