MANKATO, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings will finally get their first game action under Mike Zimmer on Friday night, when they play host to the Oakland Raiders in their first preseason game at TCF Bank Stadium. Zimmer will dial things back on Wednesday afternoon in the Vikings' final practice before the game, letting players work in shells instead of pads as a reward for their hard work to this point.
"I told them, 'If you make me happy, I'll make you happy,'" Zimmer said.
The Vikings' game plan for Friday night won't be an exercise in complexity, either. Zimmer said the Vikings will "be very basic in everything we do," so as not to cloud their evaluations with questions about whether a player got confused about his assignment or simply couldn't execute it.
"We just want to go out and play," Zimmer said. "It's going to give us a good judge of where we're at. We've been going against each other enough. It's just good to line up against somebody else."
The quarterback has continued to work on getting the ball out quicker, and was drilling a quicker dropback again during the Vikings' walk-through on Wednesday morning. The Vikings' defense has shown a number of different looks in practice against Bridgewater, and even though the Raiders' game plan might be simple by comparison, Bridgewater will finally have to play against defenders he hasn't seen every day.
"When the lights come on, it's a different deal," Zimmer said. "It'll be good for him, to see how he reacts to defenses he hasn't seen very much, how he has to readjust to the blitz, how he has to get the ball out, make the right calls, how he plays under pressure. I anticipate he's going to play very well.
"It's trying to get the same to slow down, so he anticipates the things that are going on, and once the ball's snapped, what they see confirms what they're anticipating will happen. It takes time with young guys, but he has so much talent, so much ability; he's such a good kid, he works so hard that it'll come."