Hill completed 18 of 33 passes for 236 yards with no sacks, no touchdowns and no interceptions.
While it was enough to win, it remains to be seen if it was enough to hold off Sam Bradford from making his first start with the Vikings next week at home against the Green Bay Packers.
“That’s all on their plate,” Hill said, referring to the coaches’ decision at quarterback for Week 2. “I can’t think about that. To be honest with you, like I told you guys before, I prepare every week as if I’m playing. I started that back when I was a third-stringer here in 2002 because I knew when an opportunity came about I didn’t want to have to change what I did, how I prepared, anything like that. So I started that in 2002 as a third-stringer kind of preparing as if I was the starter and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was generally pleased with Hill’s performance and told him before the game he shouldn’t try to do too much.
“One of the things I told him going into the ball game was, ‘You don’t have to be anybody else. You just have to be yourself and that’s good enough to win. Take care of the football, make the right plays,’” Zimmer said. “I thought he did good. And Sam has done a nice job getting ready as well. We’ll take it one week at a time and see where it takes us.”
Putting Bradford in the starting lineup only eight days after he was acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles would have been asking a lot, and part of the Vikings’ decision to start Hill no doubt had to do with the 36-year-old’s familiarity with the offense and adjusting protections against the blitzes brought by Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
Hill took several hits, but he wasn’t sacked, and he connected on three passing plays of 20 yards or more.
“It sounds a little weird or crazy, but some of those are fun to take,” Hill said of the hits. “It’s good to take some good licks, especially if you’ve been on the sideline for a while.”
Zimmer said the coaching staff will huddle up and decide how to approach the quarterback situation this week. As for Hill, a perennial backup in his 15 NFL seasons, he remains unflappable.
“I did what I came here to do and that was be 1/53rd part to get a W. That was it, to be honest with you, on the players’ side,” he said. “Now, obviously, there’s more pieces than just the players. What happens after that, it’s not up to me. I’ll just continue to be the same guy no matter what.”
Bradford is expected to take over the starting spot whenever coaches deem him comfortable enough to function effectively in the offense. After all, the Vikings gave up a 2017 first-round pick and a conditional fourth-round pick that go as high as the second round in the 2018 draft, depending the Vikings’ and Bradford’s performances this year.
Meanwhile, Hill woke up to a Saturday late-night text from Bridgewater on Sunday morning with words of encouragement.
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“I didn’t get it until this morning and then we texted back and forth a couple times this morning,” Hill said. “He’s an awesome guy. He’s just excited to see me play and told me to bring home a W.”
Hill did that, but will it be enough for the starting job to be his in Week 2? Stay tuned on that one.