Vikings-Bengals game pits Zimmer v. ex-boss

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Mike Zimmer was about ready to be done with his quest to become an National Football League head coach, discouraged after so many fruitless interviews.

The Minnesota Vikings took care of two important pieces of business on Sunday.

Bengals have lost 7 straight wild-card games.

Teddy Bridgewater made a cross sign, exchanged handshakes with several teammates and stepped into a game for the first time since August 28, 2016, to roars so loud the quarterback had to cup his hands over his ears to hear the play call in his helmet. Of the Bengals eight losses, four have come by four points or less. Case Keenum, who has filled the starting role under center with great command (and to almost everyone's surprise), has been exceptional in 2017, completing over 67 percent of his passes for 3,000-plus yards, 20 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.

Green is a six-time Pro Bowler, but he will be up against a tough challenge in Rhodes.

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On the other side of the ball, the Vikings allowed a season-high 216 rushing yards to the Panthers on 36 carries, which included runs of 60 yards by Jonathan Stewart and 62 by Cam Newton for the longest two plays (run or pass) allowed by Minnesota this season. The Vikings are in a great position to make a run in the playoffs.

Teddy Bridgewater was once pegged as one of the ascendant quarterbacks of his generation, ready to lead the Vikings back into the postseason.

Minnesota wrapped up the division for just the second time this decade, having also claiming it in 2015.

The Bengals have averaged 79.4 rushing yards per game this season. He has five such games in his career before this season. Zimmer left his previous job as the Bengals defensive coordinator to become the Vikings head coach. Lewis has spent 15 years as Cincinnati's coach, going 123-112-3 as the all-time winningest coach in team history, but with losses in all seven playoff games.

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