Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has gotten plenty of credit for getting running back Adrian Peterson back in the boat.
And beyond simply getting his best player back on the field, Zimmer has created an atmosphere where even more players support him than ever before.
He hasn’t taken any credit for it, but that’s not surprising to his players.
“Of course, he wouldn’t think he did anything, because he doesn’t know any other way,” tight end Kyle Rudolph told Albert Breer of the NFL Network. “When you have a guy like that, who’s gonna stick up for his players and support his players as much as he did in that situation, as another guy in the locker room who sees that, you can’t help but wanna do everything to come out here and do everything you can. He’ll be our head coach for a long time.”
Zimmer’s straightforward approach was key to getting Peterson back on the field this week, culminating with his here-or-nowhere stance that wasn’t delivered like an ultimatum. Instead, it was a way of reaching out to Peterson that clearly reached its desired outcome.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all, because I feel like being in that situation, he would do the same thing for me,” Rudolph said. “When you have a guy like that who’s your head coach, as a player, you can’t help but wanna come out here every day and have the same mentality as he does, to work and get better. There’s no nonsense.”
And having that kind of respect among his players is perhaps more important than any individual player could be.