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Zimmer staying quiet on QB for Packers game

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Vikings against Packers. The first regular-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium. National television. That's plenty right there for people to discuss. Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer is quite willing, though, to add more when it co...

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Shaun Hill attempts a pass during the second half against the Tennessee Titans Sunday at Nissan Stadium. (USA TODAY Sports)
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Shaun Hill attempts a pass during the second half against the Tennessee Titans Sunday at Nissan Stadium. (USA TODAY Sports)

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Vikings against Packers. The first regular-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium. National television.

That's plenty right there for people to discuss. Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer is quite willing, though, to add more when it comes to not yet having announced his starting quarterback for Sunday night's game on NBC.

"I just figured it'd be good sports talk radio,'' Zimmer quipped Monday.

Turning serious, Zimmer said he hasn't decided who he will start against Green Bay, Shaun Hill or Sam Bradford. When he does know, he vowed still to "keep my cards close to the vest.''

That's what Zimmer did last week prior to Sunday's opener at Tennessee. He wouldn't publicly announce a starter, although word got out Friday that Hill would get the nod over Bradford, acquired Sept. 3 from Philadelphia.

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Replacing Teddy Bridgewater, out for the season with a knee injury suffered Aug. 30 in practice, Hill completed 18 of 33 passes for 236 yards in a 25-16 win. That wasn't good enough, though, for Zimmer to say Hill definitely will get the call again.

The Vikings didn't score an offensive touchdown, with their two touchdowns coming in the second half on a 77-yard interception return by linebacker Eric Kendricks and a 24-yard fumble return by defensive end Danielle Hunter. Zimmer said the Vikings adjusting to a new quarterback shouldn't be used as an excuse for having six times settled for field-goal attempts.

"No, we want to score touchdowns,'' Zimmer said. "(Hill) was good with the football. He took care of the ball, like we try to do, and offensively, they did. But, no, we want to score touchdowns. That's not going to change.''

The Vikings three times made it into the red zone. Blair Walsh was good on 2 of 3 field-goal attempts after those drives bogged down and was 4 of 6 for the game.

"We know we've got to get better in the red zone,'' said wide receiver Adam Thielen. "There are a lot of things on tape we got to work on and get better at. We got to help our defense by scoring touchdowns.''

Hampering the Vikings was a shaky running game. With the Titans keying on Adrian Peterson, he gained just 31 yards on 19 carries and Minnesota had just 65 total rushing yards.

Could the presence of Bradford, who is learning the offense as quickly as he can, loosen up the defense? That remains to be seen.

In the meantime, the Vikings might want to score some offensive touchdowns if they plan on beating the Packers. Green Bay has averaged 27.3 points in four games against Minnesota since Zimmer arrived in 2014.

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Then again, when the Vikings won 20-13 at Green Bay in last season's finale to wrap up the NFC North, they scored just one offensive touchdown. They got another on a 55-yard fumble return by cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, who knows the Packers will be looking Sunday for revenge.

"We know they're going to be hungry,'' Munnerlyn said. "It's opening up our new stadium. 'Sunday Night Football.' So it's going to be very exciting. We know they want to come out and say they're still the defending champs and that last year was a fluke, so we definitely got to go out and compete and be ready to roll.''

The Packers had won four straight division titles until Minnesota broke through last year. Of course, the Vikings then had Bridgewater.

Zimmer no doubt wants to see how Bradford looks in practice this week before making a decision on his starter. He said Monday he has been pleased with his progress.

Whenever Zimmer does decide, don't count on him being eager to share it.

"Green Bay is an awfully good team,'' Zimmer said. "Everybody is picking them to go to the Super Bowl. We're just trying to be in the fight.''

Related Topics: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
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