You could argue that no NFL team played worse in its season-opener than the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings failed to score a touchdown and were physically dominated on both sides of the ball, ultimately losing to the San Francisco 49ers, 20-3, on Monday Night Football.
Afterward, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said his team wasn’t ready for prime time.
What happened that night?
“I can’t speak for everybody else,” Vikings running back Matt Asiata said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence said. “It was a big game. Monday Night Football with San Francisco. I think everybody was just too excited. But it’s in the past. We got to move on and continue on our season.”
The Vikings have done exactly that over the last two weeks, beating the Lions and Chargers by double digits. Adrian Peterson, who was held to 31 rushing yards against the 49ers, combined for 260 against Detroit and San Diego.
“Just being physical,” Asiata said of the Vikings’ success. “It starts with the O-Line. With their mindset and with AP back and running like he was before, it kind of sets the tone for our whole team. That’s what drives us and drives this team – physicality. Coach Zimmer loves the physical, upbeat tempo on offense. We try to do that during the game.”
Yes, from Peterson to Asiata to Jerick McKinnon to Mike Wallace to Kyle Rudolph, Teddy Bridgewater has no shortage of weapons at his disposal.
“We just got so many threats,” Asiata said. “It starts with AP. With him starting, it picks up everybody’s momentum. That’s what motivates us to play well and just give it our all every Sunday.”
Bridgewater has gotten off to a bit of a slow start this season, throwing for just one touchdown through three games. He is, however, completing 67.6 percent of his passes and had a rushing touchdown against the Lions.
It’s easy to forget that Bridgewater, 22, is still just in his second season.
“Teddy is the same – cool, calm, collected,” Asiata said. “He’s going to be the same guy every day. There’s no ups or downs with him. If he sees a mistake, he’s going to fix it for Sunday. Teddy’s Teddy.”
The Vikings will go for their third straight win this Sunday, when they face the unbeaten Broncos (3-0) in Denver. The Broncos have the top-ranked defense and third-ranked scoring defense (16.3 points per game allowed) in all of football.
“Aggressive,” Asiata said of that unit. “They fly to the ball. We just got to take it to them before they take it to us.”
Kickoff is at 4:25 p.m. ET.