A win on the road never feels so sweet as when you haven't done it since 2012. The Vikings rolled on the hapless Rams 34-6 in the season opener earning Zimmer his first NFL victory. Patterson out-ran Peterson and had the most rushing as a wide receiver in a game in history. It was bright, shiny gift for Vikings fans desperate for something real to cheer for.
While the purple champagne is flowing, we still need to see a complete game against a better opponent. In the swirl of victory we tend to forget the futility on the field for much of the first half. Thankfully, there was a spark from Robinson which was able to wake up the whole team. When we were running on all cylinders it was no doubt impressive.
More impactful to me, though, was the insights that were offered post game by coach and players. Zimmer mentioned that he teaches the team that mistakes will happen, and you need to move and and rebound from them. As a coach myself, this hits a hot button for me. I see too many coaches who pound players and teams for mistakes in the belief fear will elevate the team and eliminate mistakes. While this may work for people like Ditka and Belechik, its a rare breed to truly make that work. The other spectrum is the limp noodle Frazier scenario: "I'm one of you, and its ok guys, we'll get it next time."
In reality, focusing efforts on incorporating the ability to react positively to adversity is a tremendous team culture to have. Acknowledging someone is going to make a costly penalty, there will be a fumble, or some other calamity is smart and prepares the team for your expectations that the situation is manageable. Rather than be downtrodden and freaked out, just move on and upward. Its a great positive coaching approach that I think is going to be impactful to the team that we fans will only get glimpses of.
Griffen said in post game comments: "It's nice to finally have a coach that knows how to win in the NFL." While Zimmer is tough and demands performance, its clear he has the team on his side and believing he can deliver what Frazier could not.
This is more exciting than beating up on the Rams and their 2nd/3rd string quarterbacks. Seeing how this team is forming around their shared core beliefs and Zimmer's Super Bowl dream....I'll take that every day. This is how you build success in the NFL.