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Presser Points: 1st Vikings Preseason Game Could Help Offense the Most

Posted Aug 8, 2017

Mike Zimmer addressed the media for the last time from the campus of Minnesota State University, Mankato on Tuesday morning.

With 12 practices under his belt and one final practice scheduled Tuesday afternoon, the Vikings head coach is ready to evaluate his team in a game.

Minnesota is set to take on the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on Thursday night, and Zimmer said he would be keying in on how the offense has come together so far.

“The interesting thing is that the defensive guys have been together, so we probably could’ve played a game three or four days ago,” Zimmer said. “Offensively we’ve been kind of working with the system and exploring some different options and things, and I think for them, it’ll be good to go against someone else.”

The Vikings have been trying different combinations on the offensive line throughout camp, and injuries to free agent acquisitions Latavius Murray and Riley Reiff have given other players opportunities to take reps with the first team on offense.

While Reiff and Murray both practiced on Monday, Zimmer still plans to try out a few different combinations on offense during the first preseason game.

“We’re trying to gauge where we’re at, you know and I am looking forward it,” Zimmer said. “I am looking to the offense playing someone else. We’re not crazy preparing for this, we’ll have some cards today, but I think it’ll be good to find out where we’re at and kind of evaluate where we need to go.”

Zimmer said some members of the first team could play longer than others.

“Maybe when the first group goes out we’ll keep some other guys in,” Zimmer said. “Maybe we’ll look at some different combinations of things. I went over last night with the coaches what we’re trying to get done.”

Here are three other topics addressed by Zimmer:

1. Plan for Murray, Bradford vs. Bills

Murray practiced for the first time as a Minnesota Viking on Monday.

The running back has been present for practices through OTAs, minicamp and training camp and Zimmer thinks he’ll be ready to suit up in Buffalo.

“Well, he only did individual drills yesterday,” Zimmer said. “He’ll do a little bit more today, and we’ll just gauge where he’s at. There’s no issue about him being ready for the first game.”

Asked about how much Sam Bradford might play, Zimmer simply said, “I have a plan.”

2. Farewell, Mankato

On Tuesday the Vikings will practice in Mankato for the final time after a run of 52 consecutive seasons for training camp. This year marked Zimmer’s fourth season in Mankato, and he expressed thanks for his time on campus.

“This place, Mankato, and Minnesota State, have been phenomenal the four years I have been here,” Zimmer said. “I know it’s been 52 years, I am not quite that old, but it’s been a great place. The facilities are fantastic, the fans have been amazing, and I think our players really appreciate, really all of the aspects of it.”

3. Camp atmosphere

The Vikings are scheduled to have the 2018 training camp at the team’s future headquarters, which is set to open in March.

Zimmer was asked how his team will bond in that atmosphere.

“It’ll be fine,” Zimmer. “I have been in places before. It’s really not on my radar yet. As far as camp next year, I am just thinking about today and Buffalo tomorrow and go from there.

“I am really fortunate that I have a lot of good people here on this football team with guys that are good guys and guys that do the right thing. I think they like being around each other. I think the team dictates how the team bonds,” Zimmer said.