There are moments when the fortunes of an NFL franchise can pivot on one play.
"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."
"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?'"
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.
"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."
"Everybody can count us out if they want," a defiant Zimmer stressed, "but I think that would be the wrong thing to do."