Teddy Bridgewater's season is over and with it, the Vikings' playoff hopes. That's the initial reaction, anyway, after hearing that the franchise quarterback tore his ACL during Tuesday's practice and is now facing a "significant" recovery.
Coach Mike Zimmer tried to remain positive during a press conference with reporters, but he also admitted that losing his starting quarterback won't be easy to overcome. But before Zimmer met with the media, he spoke to Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells about where to go from here.
"I told him, 'The first thing you need to know is this: Everyone in the organization, and that includes some of the players and the coaches, are going to think they have an excuse now,'" Parcells told TheMMQB.com's Peter King. "Once the shock is over, probably 48 hours from now, they're all gonna come to you and look at you and say, 'What are you gonna do?' Because you're charged with winning games now, no matter what you have on your team. You need to figure out what works - what recipe works. And tomorrow morning, once the shock wears off, nobody's gonna give a s---. It's his problem. He's gotta figure out how to win now."
In 1990, when Parcells was the coach of the Giants, he lost starting quarterback Phil Simms to a broken foot late in the season. Next in line: Unproven Jeff Hostetler, who helped the team win a Super Bowl.
"I went through this [with Hostetler]," Parcells said. ... "[A]nd I remember vividly hearing all the experts then say, 'No one's ever won the Super Bowl with such an unproven guy.' I said to my players, 'We are not losing because we're playing Jeff Hostetler. I guarantee you that.' There were ways to win those games, and it was up to us to figure them out.
"There are ways to win these games," Parcells continued. "[Zimmer] has a good running game. You know he can coach defense, and they've got a good defense. Al Davis had some great advice for me once, and I told [Zimmer] this: You're driving the train, and there's 100 sets of eyes on you from behind. Players, coach, front office. They're all screaming, 'You gotta do something! What are you gonna do?' And you're going to have to figure it out."
So for now, the Vikings are Shaun Hill's team.
"I have confidence in Shaun," Zimmer said Tuesday. "I think he's played great this preseason. He's been in two-minute drills. He's done a phenomenal job. 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."
And yes, that's what Zimmer has to say but a few things to keep in mind: Hill has been a capable backup throughout his career, there are few better options around the league and, hey, maybe it's not as bad as it seems:
Teddy Bridgewater 2015: 65.3%, 7.2 avg, 14 TD, 9 INT, 88.7 QB rating.— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) August 31, 2016
Shaun Hill 2014: 63.3%, 7.2 avg, 8 TD, 7 INT, 83.9 QB rating.