About 12 hours after a lopsided loss to the Packers, Vikings defensive end Brian Robison was candid when talking about the struggles of the defense, which he feels lacked fire after the Packers got a pick-six then quickly scored another touchdown after Christian Ponder’s second interception.
“The mood was almost like some people had checked out,” Robison said. “I’m just going to be blunt and say it can never be that way. This is a team that I’ve felt like all along has fought and scratched no matter what type of adversity we have faced and I felt like we didn’t have that last night.”
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes to help the home team build a 28-0 lead before the half. In the third quarter, after head coach Mike Zimmer let the team have it, the Packers pounded the rock with Eddie Lacy to score two more touchdowns and take a 42-0 lead.
“They were pretty much able to do whatever they wanted to do last night,” Robison said.
The veteran also called for his fellow defenders to stop freelancing and start playing as a team.
“Bottom line is you go out there and do your job, you might not get the sacks and stuff like that, you might not get the interceptions, you might not get the tackles for loss,” Robison said. “But if you’re doing your job you give our team the best chance to win the ballgame, and that’s really all that matters in this league, how many ballgames you win and lose.”
A reporter asked him about the Vikings defense showing flashes but being inconsistent overall.
”Well, I think exactly what you just said,” Robison said. “You summed it up. We’re not consistent, and not playing consistent gets you six, seven, eight wins, which gets you nothing in this league. So we have to do a better job of making sure that every person is doing their job every single play and trying to strive for perfection, and if we’re not doing that we’re cutting ourselves short.”
Robison said the Vikings must clear their heads over the weekend and come back ready to work.
“We’ve got to let it go and get ready for the next game and not play this way against Detroit,” Robison said, “because if we play this way against Detroit, they’re going to tear us a new one, too.”
Teddy Bridgewater might not have started in Green Bay last night, but he got good news today.
Bridgewater was named the NFL’s Rookie of the Week for Week 4 after his impressive performance against the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday. In his first NFL start, Bridgewater completed 19 of his 30 attempts for 317 yards while leading the Vikings to a comeback win. He also rushed for a score.
Bridgewater, 21, edged out Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans, Ravens inside linebacker C.J. Mosley and Vikings teammate Jerick McKinnon for the award.
McKinnon rushed for a game-high 135 yards on 18 carries in the 41-28 win over the Falcons.
The Vikings announced they’ve waived quarterback Chandler Harnish, who served as the backup in the 42-10 loss to the Packers on Thursday, and promoted fullback Zach Line from the practice squad.
The move likely suggests what head coach Mike Zimmer has said over the last two days — rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will return next week against the Lions.
Harnish signed to the practice squad on Monday after Bridgewater injured his ankle against the Falcons last Sunday. He was promoted hours before Thursday’s game.
“Getting here, I was still meeting players and coaches pregame and still introducing myself to guys,” Harnish said on Friday before he was waived.
The Vikings never had to call Harnish’s name with quarterback Christian Ponder playing the entire game. He felt he would’ve been prepared if the Vikings needed his services in the blowout.
“Both coach [Norv] Turner and coach [Scott] Turner have done a great job of getting me prepared,” Harnish said. “Everything I needed to know, I was ready to go. Obviously it was going to be a smaller menu of plays but absolutely ready.”
It was Harnish’s first week on either a practice squad or active roster this season. He was released during the final roster cuts by the Colts in August after spending last season on their practice squad.
“Sunday afternoon, I’m sitting in Chicago with some friends watching the Bears-Packers game then n my way back to [Indianapolis], I get a phone call at about 11 o’clock at night saying, ‘Hey, we want you in Minnesota.’ It was an absolute whirlwind but incredible opportunity and exciting just to get up off my but, for lack of a better term, because I’d been unemployed for a few weeks.”
Line returns to the active roster after he was waived right before the Vikings Week 2 matchup against the Patriots. The Vikings promoted running back Joe Banyard, needing another running back after running back Adrian Peterson was listed as inactive.
Vikings safety Harrison Smith walked around the locker room on Friday with crutches and a walking boot on his left foot.
Head coach Mike Zimmer said Smith received an MRI that showed no significant damage in the ankle he injured on a safety blitz with 2:49 left in the first quarter. An offensive lineman rolled up on his ankle on the play, which ended in a sack by defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd.
“Just got rolled up on, so we’ll see where I’m at [Saturday],” Smith said
Smith said the ankle was swollen this morning after playing the entire game. He was one of five defensive players to play all 54 snaps in the 42-10 blowout loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field on Thursday. Smith typically gets his ankles taped underneath his sock, which is standard. During the game, Smith was taped up twice – once over his sock and once over his cleat – to stabilize the ankle.
“When you’re excited to play, you don’t feel much,” Smith said.
Patterson injures hip in loss: Zimmer reiterated that wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson will be fine after suffering a hip injury on the opening kickoff return in the second half. Patterson attempted to return but was advised to sit out with the Packers controlling the game.
After just two catches for eight yards on four targets, Zimmer was asked whether the Vikings should utilize him more offensively.
“It’s a little of both,” Zimmer said. “We need to get him more involved than what we are but actually I thought he did some good things last night. He didn’t obviously catch as many balls as we would’ve liked or anything like that, but I thought he improved on being a receiver [Thursday].”
Greenway still recovering: Linebacker Chad Greenway said he still wouldn’t have played if the Packers game was on Sunday instead of Thursday. He missed his second consecutive game due to a hand and rib injury. Greenway said he’s not sure about his status yet for next Sunday’s home game against the Lions.
“I wasn’t able to do my job taking punches, getting off blocks, making tackles, running, walking, sneezing, coughing, laughing,” Greenway said. “Time is the only thing that can cure it.”
Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater felt if the team’s showdown with the Packers took place this Sunday, and not on a Thursday night preceded by a short week, he could have started.
Alas, the game did take place tonight. Bridgewater sat and it was a blowout 42-10 loss.
After the game, head coach Mike Zimmer made it clear that it was his decision, saying, “It wasn’t up to him.” Zimmer wouldn’t say how close he came to starting Bridgewater over Christian Ponder and he said that the rain and slick surface at Lambeau Field didn’t play into his decision.
Simply put, Zimmer said Bridgewater, who has a sprained left ankle, just wasn’t ready to play.
Bridgewater made it clear after the game that he respected Zimmer’s decision.
“It was a decision that coach made,” said Bridgewater, who was told Ponder was starting earlier in the day. “He thought it was best for the team and what was best for me, also.”
Ponder struggled in the loss, throwing interceptions on back-to-back throws, including one that was returned for a touchdown. He finished the game with 222 passing yards on 22-of-44 passing.
So, Mike Zimmer, how did Ponder play?
“Not very well.”
Zimmer was not looking for any rainbows after the loss. He’s not a silver-lining type of guy. But he was optimistic about Bridgewater’s chances of playing next Sunday against the Detroit Lions.
Bridgewater, meanwhile, said he has no doubts that he will start nine days from now.
“I’ve been able to develop a rehab schedule and get to know our trainers real well,” he said.