By Joseph Gunther
The Minnesota Vikings were blown out by the New England Patriots Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings got a lot of new experiences out the game. It was their first on the campus of the University of Minnesota. They got used to regular season prep work and game day interactions at the stadium.
They also got to find out a lot about themselves and how they would react when they lacked the focus and crispness they had during the preseason and Week 1. The Vikings had won all five previous games under head coach Mike Zimmer. Sunday’s game was against a different opponent than those first five.
“(The Patriots) had a good plan going in,” Zimmer said Monday during his press conference. “Obviously, offensively they wanted to run the football and get the ball out of (Tom) Brady’s hands quickly. Defensively, they did a good job of disrupting our routes. It’s never good, but you try to learn something from every experience that you’re in. This was the first time with myself, with this football team, when things went kind of south, I had to find out a little bit about how we react. When you’re punched in the mouth, how you react in some of these situations. I know a little bit more about them (Monday) than I did (Sunday), maybe more so than if we would have won.”
What exactly did he learn?
“Just how we reacted,” Zimmer said. “it was first time I’ve seen some of the not as much urgency, offensively. Maybe doing our own thing a little bit defensively, as opposed to continually doing what we’ve been teaching them to do. Those things are good to coach off of, how we can get them to understand that part of the reason why we’ve looked like a good football team and clean as you said, we can revert back to, getting back to doing what we do all of the time and that’s why we’ve been playing good, I believe. Obviously, the turnovers didn’t help and the blocked field goal, even the other circumstances I’m talking about.”
The Vikings face a similar situation in Week 3 with an elite quarterback and expected playoff team suffering a disappointing loss the previous week. The New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees fell to 0-2 with a loss at the Cleveland Browns.
The Vikings announced that special teams coach Mike Priefer has been reinstated after going through sensitivity training for anti-gay comments he made during positional meetings in 2012. The team issued a statement Sunday saying his suspension was reduced from three games to two games because he “was fully and thoughtfully engaged throughout the process and successfully completed the program.”
Priefer did not speak to the media Monday, but Zimmer talked about Priefer’s return during his press conference.
“I think it’s good,” Zimmer said. “I’m proud that Mike did the things that he had to do. I’m proud that we didn’t ruin a guy’s career because he made a mistake. I’m glad that we were able to stand by him. I appreciate all his hard work and the things that he has done during these two weeks, we’re glad to have him back.”
Adrian Peterson has been reinstated to the Vikings roster. The Vikings deactivated Peterson for Sunday’s game against the Patriots after the running back was indicted on child abuse charges.
“Over the weekend and early (Monday) morning, we gathered as much information as we possibly could, had multiple conversations with Adrian’s attorneys and met several times with Adrian personally,” general manager Rick Spielman said. “Based on all of that, we made the decision that we felt was the right decision at this time. This is a very important issue. I want to take time to emphasize that the issue of child welfare is extremely serious and should be taken serious, not only by us but by everybody. We are trying to do the right thing. This is a difficult path to navigate regarding the judgment of how a parent disciplines his child.
“Based on the extensive information that we have right now and what we know about Adrian not only as a person, but what he has also done for this community, we believe he deserves to play while the legal process plays out. At the same time, we must defer to the legal system to determine whether he went too far, but we cannot make that judgment.”
For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.
Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.