Zimmer: ‘This is kind of what defines you’

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer had a challenge for his offense before their game-tying drive.

Last week against the Buffalo Bills, the Minnesota Vikings suffered heartbreak when Buffalo was able to march down the field on the Vikings defense with 3:07 left in the game and score the winning touchdown with one second left.

This week, the Vikings went down to Tampa Bay and when there was less than two minutes left to play in the game it was the Vikings who drove down the length of the field to tie the game and eventually win it in overtime.

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer had an important message for his team before they started the drive.

“I told the offense this is kind of what defines you now,” Zimmer said. “When we get into situations like this, what are you going to do with it?”

What the offense did was start on Tampa Bay’s 20-yard line with 1:57 left on the game clock, having two timeouts remaining, and drove the length of the field to tie the game.

Before that drive the offense had not had a lot of luck throughout the game. They had to punt the ball eight out of their 11 previous drives, and went three-and-out their previous drive.

Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, however, was able to rally his team together in what was probably the biggest moment of his young career.

During the drive, Bridgewater was spreading the ball all over the field and completed passes to four different receivers, but the biggest pass that he made was probably a 17-yard completion to Jarius Wright.

The Vikings were on their own 49-yard line with 42 seconds left in regulation. Bridgewater got the snap out of the shotgun and hit Wright on the right sideline, which put the Vikings on Tampa Bay’s 34-yard line and in position for the game-winning field goal.

Bridgewater is a Florida native had many friends and family members at the game supporting him, but he never focused on that because he wanted to make sure he was there for his team and focusing on the job at hand.

“I don’t really know how many people were here today,” said Bridgewater. “I’ve been so focused on just winning this game. We knew how important it was to just come down here and win. Coach Zimmer, he sent a message out at the Friday practice that we are not going to see family, we are going to play a football game – we’re going to win a football game.

“That was my mindset coming into this game. I didn’t even allow my family to come to the hotel to see me last night. I just got the message from Coach Zimmer and wanted to come out here and get this win.”

Zimmer also had another message for his team where he told them that their bad luck has run out, and with Buccaneers cornerback Johnthan Banks dropping an interception with 46 seconds left in the game, maybe the Vikings luck is beginning to change.


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