Ben McAdoo called the Vikings “a team with Super Bowl aspirations,” and at 3-0 they certainly are heading in the right direction. That they are doing so without their projected starting quarterback (Teddy Bridgewater), running back (Adrian Peterson) and left tackle (Matt Kalil) is a testament to coach Mike Zimmer.
Or maybe a testament to Bill Parcells?
Zimmer said he has long been a disciple of Parcells — he was an assistant under the Hall of Famer with the Cowboys — and has often texted and spoken with him through the years. When Bridgewater tore up his knee in the preseason, the sermon came quickly from Parcells.
“Basically the message was that things like this will happen,” Zimmer said. “No one is going to feel sorry for you, you just have to move forward and you have to get your team to believe that they can win and understand how your team has to play in order to win.”
That’s nothing new for Zimmer, said Giants cornerback Leon Hall, who played for him when Zimmer was a defensive coordinator in Cincinnati.
“He’s installed them as one of the top teams in the NFC, if not the league, even without their top players,” Hall said. “I know that’s one thing Zim has always done. No matter what personnel he has, the expectation is for the position.”
Hall said there were plenty of years when the Bengals suffered numerous injuries and still managed to be productive.
“He calls the game accordingly and he still expects his guys to play well whether it’s a practice squad guy brought up or his number one corner,” Hall said. “He’s always done a really good job with that.”