It's the year 2026 and Cooper Rush is sitting at a bar. With "Glory Days" playing in the background, Rush is enjoying a beer as he is approached by a stranger.
"Aren't you Cooper Rush?" the stranger asked.
"Why, yes I am!" Rush responds.
"Wow, I remember when you beat the Vikings on Sunday Night Football," the stranger continued. "That was awesome!"
Rush nods politely and takes a sip of his beer as the stranger continues.
"Funny story...I also beat the Vikings," the stranger said extending his hand. "The name's Nick. Nick Foles."
Suddenly, another stranger stands up and yells across the room.
"No way," the man says. "I'm Chase Daniel and I also beat the Vikings!"
Matt Moore and Andy Dalton walk through the door and suddenly Rush realizes he's in an elite fraternity. He is one of the many backup quarterbacks that have defeated Mike Zimmer.
Zimmer's futility against backup quarterbacks continued on Sunday night when Rush led the Dallas Cowboys to a 20-16 victory on national television. With Dak Prescott out due to injury, Rush stepped in brilliantly, throwing for 325 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
With the game on the line, Zimmer's defense made Rush look like Roger Staubach as he drove down the field and found Amari Cooper for the game-winning touchdown with 51 seconds remaining.
It was reminiscent of other clutch performances by quarterbacks who are known more for holding a clipboard than throwing touchdowns. During his tenure with the Vikings, Zimmer has posted a 7-5 record against backup quarterbacks including a 4-5 record in the last nine games.
The list of backup quarterback performances gets more interesting when you consider the story behind the games.
Nick Foles blasted the Vikings in the NFC Championship when they had a chance to play in the Super Bowl in their own stadium. Matt Moore was retired before beating the Vikings in 2019 and Brandon Allen built a 20-0 lead the following week before Minnesota scored 27 of the next 30 points to win.
But Rush's story adds another interesting chapter. Despite being in his fourth season in the NFL, Rush was making his first career start. While it was a small task for Rush to eclipse Sean Mannion's touchdown total, it should have been an even smaller one for the Vikings' defense to contain a quarterback of this caliber.
A key component could be the Vikings' lack of preparation. Zimmer said in his postgame press conference that they had plenty of film on Rush but Xavier Woods noted they had prepared for Prescott instead of the possibility that Rush would start.
"We just prepared for [Prescott]," Woods said. "We kind of felt like they were still going to run the same offense. So we just prepared for [Prescott] all week. We didn't get the word until pregame so...we just watched a couple clips of [Rush]."
This thought process is even more inexcusable considering Prescott's practice schedule. He practiced in limited fashion throughout the week and felt sore when trying to ramp things up on Thursday. The tea leaves continued to fall when Prescott and McCarthy mentioned the big picture and with a massive lead in the NFC East, there was no reason to risk further damage.
Still, Zimmer and his team apparently succumbed to tunnel vision which has sunk the Vikings too many times throughout his tenure. With another backup torching his defense, it might be time for Zimmer to prepare for the unexpected. Otherwise, it could be time for a change.