Zimmer direct, not always ‘PG’

Players talked about the mood around the team and Mike Zimmer’s approach during and after the Vikings’ blowout loss.

Mike Zimmer said his thoughts in the halftime locker room on Thursday night when the Vikings were down 42-0 in the third quarter probably weren’t PG-rated enough for public consumption.

His players downplayed the halftime speech, saying it was mainly a concentration on what corrections needed to be made.

“I don’t know if he was animated, he was just telling the truth,” Greenway said. “He was just giving us information about what we need to know about what’s going on in the game. That’s what he does. He’s going to be honest with us, one way or another.”

Brian Robison said timing is everything, which is why he decided not to share too much about his frustrations with his teammates on Friday morning. Zimmer, however, was apparently direct in his assessment on the day after the 42-10 loss.

“(Friday) was the type of day where Zimmer said what needed to be said. I felt like it was one of those deals where you come in after a loss, if you talk too much it falls on deaf ears,” Robison said. “We’ve got to fill the gas tank back up this weekend and get ready to go on Tuesday, because if we sit here and let this wander around in our heads, it’s going to affect us for the next game. So we’ve got to let it go and get ready for the next game and not play this way against Detroit, because if we play this way against Detroit, they’re going to tear us a new one, too.”

Robison said Zimmer’s halftime talk was more about what needed to be done to correct the numerous mistakes that were made in the first half of the game, when the Vikings fell behind 28-0, but Robison also said he didn’t like the mood of the players in the locker room. He thought the Packers had more of a “will to win” than the Vikings.

Linval Joseph said he thought the message at halftime was simple.

“Stay in this game. He wants to see guys that’s going to fight and going to do their job. I respect that,” Joseph said. “At the end of the day, you have to do your job no matter if you’re losing by one point or 100 points. You’re here to do a job and that’s what you’ve got to do. Stop the run, get off the field. Stop the pass, get the ball back to the offense.”

The Vikings didn’t do that in the first half of Thursday night’s game and it didn’t improve much in the second half, despite facing backup Matt Flynn during the fourth quarter. Perhaps nothing Zimmer would have said or done would have put the Vikings on the comeback trail in the second half.

“We’re professionals. Our coaches are there to keep us on the ball, and keep us sharp, but as a team it’s the players who play the game, and we have to rely on each other,” defensive end Everson Griffen said. “We have to trust the guy next to us. We prep all week, but when it comes to game day, it’s up to us to play as a team and not individuals.”

By Friday morning, the mood had turned to “somber” and “disgruntled” in the film room, Robison said. Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn agreed, saying some don’t want the extended weekend to have that blowout fester.

Players have off until Tuesday. By then, they will have to regroup and refocus.

“I don’t feel like we’ve played our best football. We’ve got to grow in a lot of areas. We’ve got to learn how to get off the field on third down,” Munnerlyn said. “Me personally, I’ve got to get more involved and when the ball is thrown at me, I need to make a play. I’ve got to be prepared. Defensively, we’ve got to do a better job of tackling and just execute.”

If that happens, the halftime speeches could turn more “PG.”


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