Fuming Mike Zimmer ends practice early, makes players run lap, rips players

ByBen Goessling ESPN logo
Thursday, August 13, 2015

MANKATO, Minn. -- On the Minnesota Vikings' final day of training camp at Minnesota State University, coach Mike Zimmer ended practice about 20 minutes earlier than scheduled. That wasn't because he was happy with what he'd seen.

Zimmer issued a stern rebuke to players in his news conference after Thursday morning's session, calling it a "terrible practice" and saying it was "not up to my standards." Asked what he didn't like about practice, Zimmer quickly replied, "Everything."

"They'd better get better quick, or there's going to be a lot of heck going on," he said.

Asked if he will lean on his veterans to get the team back in gear, Zimmer said, "I will lean on my size 10s.''

He said the only positive from the day was that the team was going home.

The second-year coach stopped practice about 25 minutes in on Thursday morning, making players run a lap around the far goalpost and back. Linebacker Chad Greenway said it was the first time he'd had to run a lap since high school, but neither he nor other players were in position to say it wasn't warranted.

"Late in camp, you can't have that mindset, that you're just going to come out there and roll the ball," quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said. "Coach Zimmer, he's a tough coach. He wants everything precise in practice, and we didn't do a good job of that today.

"We're a much better football team than when we came out today in practice. The proven guys we have in the locker room appreciate that. We'll come back later today for the walk-through with the right mindset."

The Vikings, who went 7-9 last season, have become a trendy postseason pick with the return of Adrian Peterson, but Zimmer has sought to temper those expectations throughout camp. He was happy with the Vikings' performance during their 14-3 win in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game on Sunday night, but wasn't in position to offer any glowing reflections Thursday.

"That's not what good teams do. Good teams focus on the task at hand," Zimmer said. "They don't focus on what's happened the last 13 days. They worry about today and worry about getting better. That's what good teams do."

Asked what he'd told the team in a fiery address after the end of practice, Zimmer said, "I probably can't repeat it."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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