SAN DIEGO -- Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer took a page from the Lou Holtz playbook about discussing opponents, calling San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers one of the best quarterbacks ever to play the game in a conference call with San Diego-area reporters on Wednesday.
"He’s really tough," Zimmer said. "I really love everything about him. I’ve had some big battles with him, he’s won some and we’ve won some. In my opinion he’s one of the best quarterbacks of all-time just because of the way he wins, the way he competes and fights. I love the guy."
Of course, Zimmer has had some success against Rivers during his time in the NFL. As the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2008 to 2013, Zimmer has a 3-2 record against the Chargers, including a 27-10 loss to San Diego in the 2013 playoffs.
"We’ve had good players," Zimmer said. "In every game we’ve played against him it’s been a real nail-biter. You’re always holding onto your rear end because of the things that he can get done and the throws he can make."
Along with Rivers, Zimmer says one of the things that makes San Diego tough to prepare for on offense is that they have so many ways to attack a defense.
"They’ve got a ton of weapons," Zimmer said. "And then I think they do a good job running the football as well. They’re averaging over 100 yards a game rushing. But Philip is the ringleader, and he makes them go.
"He always seems to get the ball in the right place vs. the right coverage. He stands in there and gets the ball out at the right time. He stands in there vs. pressure. They’ve got a lot of weapons, and they’re unique weapons. They’re not all speed guys."
Zimmer also praised rookie running back Melvin Gordon
"He’s got tremendous, tremendous ability," Zimmer said. "He’s a very physical runner. He’s quick to the hole. He’s got good vision. He makes good cuts. So he looks like he’s the real deal."