Mike Zimmer to Vikings: ‘They can’t ever call you a loser again’
With their convincing 38-17 victory over the Chicago Bears, the Minnesota Vikings assured themselves of their first winning season since 2012 and only the second above-.500 record in the past six.
Mike Zimmer, in his second season as the Vikings head coach, has successfully transformed the team under his watch. He took the time after Sunday’s win to point out to his players that the “loser” label no longer applies to them. But at the same time, he stressed neither himself nor the team should be satisfied with their modest level of success.
“We’re not done yet, we’ve still got a long way to go,” he said, via Pro Football Talk. “If we play like we did today and last Thursday, if we play that way, with that focus, that intensity, preparation, toughness, we’re going to do a lot of damage. We get in this thing, there’s going to be a lot. Let’s go win this division. Everybody gets a game ball because they can’t ever call you a loser again. They can never call you that. Because we’re winners from now on.”
The Vikings, at 9-5, hold the second Wild Card spot in the NFC but would win the NFC North division title with victories in their final two games over the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers.
While a victory at Lambeau Field in their season finale will be a difficult task, it appears for all intents and purposes — despite not yet clinching a berth — the team is nearly assured of a spot in the postseason.
With Zimmer’s capable leadership, the formidable play of the defense and the continued development of Teddy Bridgewater — not to mention Adrian Peterson’s continued ability to somehow defy Father Time — the Vikings are quickly building an organization set up for long-term success, especially given the relative youth of the roster.
The Vikings certainly are capable of doing some damage — as Zimmer suggested — in the postseason as soon as next month. But even if that does not happen, the team appears poised to take that next step as soon as next season.