The incident occurred in the fourth quarter, after Bridgewater had picked up a short first down and was well on his way to giving himself up and ending the play. St. Louis rookie cornerback LaMarcus Joyner dove down at the second-year quarterback, leading with his shoulder and making contact with his elbow.
Joyner was given an unnecessary roughness penalty, and he could face further punishment from the NFL. Meanwhile, Bridgewater left the game and was later diagnosed with a concussion, leaving Zimmer steamed.
After the Vikings won in overtime, 21-18, Zimmer was asked if he considered it a dirty play by Joyner. The coach told reporters, “Yes, I do.”
“If we were out in the street, we probably would have had a fight,” the coach added (via the Minneapolis Star Tribune).
Then Zimmer really went there, making a reference to Rams assistant coach Gregg Williams’s role in the 2012 “BountyGate” scandal. Williams, then the Saints’ defensive coordinator, was suspended for a year after the NFL alleged that he had orchestrated a system in which New Orleans players got bonuses for injuring opponents.
When asked if he thought Bridgewater had been specifically targeted by the Rams, Zimmer had this to say: “I don’t know about, but I do know that there is a history there with their defensive coordinator. I’ll leave it at that.”
For his part, Rams Coach Jeff Fisher tried to play down the hit as nothing that hadn’t been seen before in the NFL. Joyner denied deliberately trying to injure Bridgewater, noting that he and the quarterback had come up together in Miami.
"I know Bridgewater. We grew up across the tracks from each other. Our moms know each other. I would never intentionally hurt him." -Joyner— Dani Klupenger (@daniklup) November 8, 2015
However, Vikings offensive lineman Brandon Fusco was as angered as his coach about the hit. “He’s full of crap,” Fusco said of Joyner.
“I don’t agree with the hit,” Fusco added (via the Star Tribune). “I think some of those players on that team are pretty cheap, to tell you the truth. I hope we see them again because it was a fun game to play in and a physical game. I just don’t like seeing our quarterback go down that way.”
Earlier versions of this post mistakenly referred to Gregg Williams as still being with the Saints in the headline
(H/T SB Nation)