EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –The Vikings haven't been easily rattled.
When Adrian Peterson left Sunday night's game against Green Bay with a torn meniscus, less than three weeks after starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a season-ending knee injury, the team didn't miss a beat. The Vikings continued fighting and came away with a win over their division rivals in Week 2.
Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said he and his teammates won't allow circumstances to dictate their attitude or their success.
"In the three years I've been here, we've been through a lot," Munnerlyn said. "We always have that 'next-man-up' mentality in this locker room, and I think it's a thing that our coaches preach around here. Things are going to happen.
"With our coach, he's crazy, but it comes from the top," Munnerlyn added, smiling. "It has to come from your leadership, and it starts with the coaches."
When Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer addressed the media on Monday, he said the Vikings haven't wavered from their team-focused mindset. When Bridgewater went down, they maintained their composure, made a significant trade for Sam Bradford and kept moving forward, now sitting at 2-0 under two different quarterbacks. If Peterson misses time, Zimmer said they will "just try to find a way to win, same as we always do."
Zimmer credited Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman with bringing in players who respond well when facing a challenge.
"Rick has brought in a lot of high-character guys that want to work, that want to get better," Zimmer said. "Everything we do is about the team here. We're not going to be the only team in the league to have injuries. It's just part of pro football. So we're going to keep plugging away and keep doing our very best to find a way to win."
Zimmer's faith in his team didn't waver when Bridgewater was injured, and it remains strong while Peterson's status is unknown. His message hasn't changed.
"I think this is a pretty resilient football team," Zimmer said. "I think they're tough, I think they're determined. I think they understand that you win football games as a team. You don't win them with one guy."
Zimmer has seen a number of players step up to fill roles where necessary, from making key plays on the field to having a veteran presence in the locker room. Brian Robison, voted a team captain by his comrades, has done both in his 10th season with the Vikings
"We just move forward. At the end of the day, that's NFL football," Robison said. "You're going to have guys go down throughout the year. We're going to put it on our shoulders."
Munnerlyn said he expected nothing less from his defensive teammate.
"That's the B-Rob we know – always there when you need him," Munnerlyn said. "He's a guy that's been on this team for a very long time, he's a leader, he's a captain this year. He definitely stepped up his game a little bit more, and he's just going out there and doing his job, making plays."
Robison is just one example of the caliber of players making up Minnesota's roster. Zimmer plans to continue winning football games, and he said the Vikings are too talented of a team to make excuses for themselves.
When the Vikings brought in Bradford to replace Bridgewater, he passed for 286 yards and two touchdowns and became the only quarterback in team history to debut against the Packers and come away victorious. When Sharrif Floyd was unable to play, Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen were effective rotating in on the interior defensive line. Second-year cornerback Trae Waynes, who started in place of the sidelined Xavier Rhodes for a second straight week, snagged the fourth-quarter interception to seal the Vikings win.
"These guys are professional football players [… they've] all played really good at a high level at some point in time, and that's why the depth of your football team is important," Zimmer said. "We're going to be OK. We'll keep fighting."