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Mike Zimmer on Teddy's injury: Don't count Vikings out

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There are moments when the fortunes of an NFL franchise can pivot on one play.

In the wake of Teddy Bridgewater's dislocated knee and torn ACL, however, coach Mike Zimmer won't allow his Minnesota Vikings to lapse into a moment of self-pity.

"We'll get back in here tomorrow and we'll get back to work," Zimmer said in Tuesday's post-practice press conference. "We're not going to stick our heads in the sand. We're not going to go tuck our legs. We're not looking for excuses. We're going to fight like we always do. We have some great football players on this team and we'll figure out ways to win football games if he's not here and that's what we're going to do."

Zimmer revealed that he has already called upon the experience of mentor Bill Parcells, a Hall of Fame coach who steered the AFC East-favorite New York Jets through a calamitous Vinny Testaverde Achilles injury in the 1999 season opener.

"It was one of those days," former Jets running back Curtis Martin lamented at the time, "where you want to look to the sky and ask, 'Why?'"

The Vikings experienced a similar dejection at Tuesday's practice, as NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Bridgewater's "gruesome" injury left teammates disturbed and horrified.

Rather than dwelling on the dire news, Zimmer emphasized the need to move forward in football -- as in life.

"My wife passed away seven years ago and it was a tough day," Zimmer said, "but the sun still came up the next day."

Zimmer will turn to backup quarterback Shaun Hill, a veteran of NFL Europe with obvious physical limitations at 36 years old.

"I have confidence in Shaun. I think he's played great this preseason. He's been in two-minute drills. He's done a phenomenal job," Zimmer explained. "The thing we have to remember is this is about the team, this isn't a one-man deal. ... We have a good team. We have a good defense team. Our offensive line is much better. We have good receivers, maybe the best running back in the NFL. So this is about a team and us trying to figure out how to win football games."

A quintessential leader, Zimmer left his team with the message that upcoming opponents will not pull punches just because the Vikings are undermanned at football's most important position.

"That's our job: to find a way. No one is going to feel sorry for us," Zimmer continued. "No one is going to cry -- the Tennessee Titans or the Green Bay Packers, we can go down the schedule. ... I'm not going to let this team feel sorry for us.

"We can talk all we want but we got guys in that locker room right now ... I'll take them with me in an alley anywhere."

With Bridgewater seemingly on the brink of a breakout season, the Vikings were picking up steam as the NFC's darkhorse Super Bowl contender. Should we adjust expectations for the injury, conceding that this simply isn't Minnesota's year?

"Everybody can count us out if they want," a defiant Zimmer stressed, "but I think that would be the wrong thing to do."

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