Vikings coach Mike Zimmer's game prep: More studying and 'a bottle of red wine'
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — After two weeks of preparation, the only thing left for Vikings coach Mike Zimmer to do is wait.
That means he'll be content to curl up by the fire in his Twin Cities home and relax until Sunday, Jan. 14, right? Not exactly.
"I don't know that I have moments of zen," Zimmer said with a laugh. "I have moments of nervousness sitting in the locker room before the game."
Actually, the 61-year-old coach said he'll be hitting the books over the next 36 hours, racking his brain how to stop Drew Brees, Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas and the rest of the New Orleans Saints' high-powered offense.
"I've still got a lot of work to do, honestly, as far as preparation and studying the things that I need to study," Zimmer said. "You go back and review things quite a bit. It's really just like getting ready for a test every week."
While that type of work ethic has made Zimmer extremely successful in his four years as head coach of the Vikings, he vowed not to overthink this weekend.
"We as coaches tend to want to try to do too much," he said. "We didn't get to this point by tricking everybody. We got to this point by executing and doing things that we do."
Still, Zimmer plans to decompress the only way he knows how.
"Just keep studying and keep trying to figure out what's the best thing (for us to do)," Zimmer said. "And then get a bottle of red wine."
Just like he does every week, cornerback Xavier Rhodes has the unenviable task of shutting down the opposing teams No. 1 target during Sunday's game.
Sunday's assignment: Saints receiver Michael Thomas.
With Rhodes shadowing him during the teams' Week 1 meeting, Thomas was fairly ineffective, making five catches for 45 yards.
That said, Thomas has turned it on as of late, and in last Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers, he had eight receptions for 131 yards. He has vowed to "handle business" again this weekend.
Rhodes, meanwhile, will have a chance to put another feather in his cap as he works to prove himself as the NFL's best cornerback.
"It's not an individual game," Rhodes said. "I'm not trying to make a name for myself. ... Just trying to make a name for the Vikings, period, and let them know that we're on a roll trying to get to the same place that everybody is trying to get to — and that's the Super Bowl."
After stating last month that this Vikings team is better than the New York Giants squad that won the Super Bowl six years ago, defensive tackle Linval Joseph isn't backing down from that statement.
"This team is special to me," he said. "There's a lot of young talent. There's a lot of guys who want to be great. Just to be around those young guys is a really good feeling."
As the only player with a Super Bowl ring, the 29-year-old has some advice for the rest of the roster.
"You can't take nothing for granted," he said. "This could be it. You've got to prepare like this is the last game and leave it all on the field."
After missing Thursday's practice with a foot injury, veteran cornerback Terence Newman was a limited participant Friday.
Newman officially is listed as questionable for Sunday's game. He was the only player on the injury report for the Vikings.
Saints receiver Brandon Coleman (neck) has been ruled out, while backup quarterback Taysom Hill (illness) and linebacker Michael Mauti (illness) are listed as questionable.
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