The quarterback, running back and left tackle are all out, likely for the whole season. Yet the unbeaten Minnesota Vikings have been playing as if nobody’s missing at all.
The Vikings are 4-and-0 and have only finished the first quarter of the schedule. That leaves their replacements with much more to prove over the long haul in rendering moot the absence of Teddy Bridgewater, Adrian Peterson and Matt Kalil.
The way this team has responded to these potentially devastating setbacks, though, is the type of trait that title contenders possess.
In the NFL,” coach Mike Zimmer said, “it’s adapt or you get eaten up.” But he added that when his team gets down to it, “we fight.”
The damage to Bridgewater’s left knee that occurred in practice on Aug. 30 caused widespread consternation, but once the Vikings were able to visit with the popular quarterback they loosened up a little. The trade for Sam Bradford was made only four days later, an instant pick-me-up for the players that signaled the organization was still serious about chasing that elusive championship.
Bradford was playing so well in his debut on Sept. 18 against the rival Green Bay Packers that the departure of Peterson with damage to his right knee wasn’t as demoralizing as it could have been.