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Mike Zimmer on Vikings despite injury woes: ‘I always expect them to perform’

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Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer made it clear that despite the devastating injury developments this week, he doesn’t expect anything less out of his players than maximum effort in Sunday’s showdown with the Carolina Panthers.

In the span of a little more than three weeks, the Vikings have lost three key cogs in their offense. First it was Teddy Bridgewater suffering a horrific season-ending knee injury. Next came Adrian Peterson’s torn meniscus in Sunday’s victory over the Packers.

Peterson has since elected to undergo surgery, with the expectation he will be out months, if not longer.

Before that news was even allowed to sink in, word came that left tackle Matt Kalil (hip) was also being placed on I.R. and likely is done for the season.

With all that in mind, Zimmer was asked what message he delivered to his players.

“I feel like we have to go back to work and go play Carolina,” Zimmer said, via the Star Tribune. “I expect [the players] to perform the way I always expect them to perform.”

As it stands, Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata — and perhaps newly signed Ronnie Hillman — will fill in for Peterson, along with T.J. Clemmings expected to start in Kalil’s stead. Considering Sam Bradford also will have another week of practice under his belt after a stellar debut, Zimmer doesn’t expect much to change schematically with Norv Turner’s offense.

“That’s our identity, that’s how we’re built,” Zimmer said. “And we’re going to continue to stay that way. Hopefully, we can play good defense. And hopefully we can run the ball and take our shots when we get a chance. We’re not going to change and go to like five-wides every play.”

Zimmer throughout his time with the Vikings has been stubbornly defiant in the face of adversity. While the events of the past few weeks may be his biggest challenge to date, it’s often said a team takes on the personality of its coach. If anything, that should give the Vikings some hope. Zimmer obviously expects nothing less, if not much more.