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Zimmer Addresses The Media on Thursday

Posted Aug 14, 2014

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

We are just finishing up the last day, today.  Then we have a little mock game tomorrow that we go through, actually, camp here has been fantastic. Mankato, the city, the fans have been coming out and cheering us on and it has been great for us. We will miss the university, the facilities here are unbelievable and it’s a great setting to have a training camp. Injuries, Josh Robinson had a tightened hamstring again yesterday. I doubt that he is going to end up playing this week. Other than that, same guys as yesterday. 

Q: Which hamstring for Josh Robinson?

A: Same one, I don’t know.

Q: Any concern that it keeps creeping up on him?

A: Yeah, we would like for him not to have a hamstring.

Q: What did you learn about your team the last three weeks and was it a productive camp?

A: That’s a good question. I think it was productive, yes. We were able to come out and work efficiently, work quickly, move to different spots. Hopefully I learned something every day about this team, but they haven’t disappointed me, they have been very willing to do whatever. I heard someone say buy in, I guess maybe, there hasn’t been any complaining, whether that is buying in or not. In training camp there is usually some complaining. I like this team, they are good guys and they work real hard. As long as we play together as a team, we play real hard, we do the things that we are trying to coach them to do, then we have a chance to be a good football team.

Q: Plan for Adrian Peterson to play on Saturday?

A: No.

Q: How do you measure how hard these guys are working after the first preseason game?

A: Well, I talked to them a little bit this morning about my expectation level is always the same, it doesn’t matter. I want us to be great when we come out to practice, every single day. It doesn’t matter if we are 0-15 and playing the 16th game of the year or 15-0 and playing the 16th game of the year. I have expectations and I want them to have the same expectations that I do. The way we go about our business, the way we work, the way we study, it’s just the mindset that we as coaches have here. I think that’s what carries you through to making yourself a good team.

Q: Did you get everything installed that you wanted to get installed?

A: For the most part, yes. We have always installed up until about the last preseason game. We are right on schedule. There was one day where we didn’t install anything defensively just because we were making too many mistakes so we slowed it down that one day. Other than that, we have been right on schedule, for the most part.

Q: What do you hope to see out of the quarterbacks in Saturday’s game?

A: I hope Matt (Cassel) continues to do what he has been doing, he has been making the right decisions, he has been getting the team in and out of the right plays. I hope we score more points, obviously. Going back to (Teddy) Bridgewater, I just want him to play. He has got so much going on in his mind right now I just want him to play. That’s what I told him yesterday, and I will tell him again before the ball game, just go play. You have been doing this since you were five years old. Go out and play, have some fun. Throw the ball in there, if you make a mistake, then we will fix it and go on.

Q: When do you plan on announcing the starting quarterback for Week 1?

A: I still have the same date in mind.

Q: The secret date?

A: Yeah.

Q: How well has Teddy Bridgewater been handling things?

A: He has been handling it great. He is a terrific kid. He studies very, very hard. He can do all the things you need him to do as an NFL quarterback. It is just the combination of the protections and the blitzes, different route combinations, changing plays at the line of scrimmage, it just takes time. He will continue to get it and I believe that he is going to be a very, very good football player here.

Q: How do you plan to approach the safety situation?

A: We are going to divide it up, I have like four guys that I want to take a real hard look at this week.

Q: Is Chris Crocker going to start?
A: I don’t know that yet.

Q: What are you looking from Jamarca Sanford?
A: Right now, I am looking for the other safety. That is why I want to play these guys quite a bit this week. I want to see how it goes from there and then try to figure out the rest of the pecking order as we get going. Hopefully, this will be a big week for those safeties.

Q: Have you figured out the starting linebacker?
A: I have an idea, I’m not there yet, so that is why I don’t want to say it. I’m not there yet, still playing with something in my mind.

Q: Anyone else you plan on holding out from the game?

A: No.

Q: Who are the four safeties you want to take a look at?

A: We have to look at Crocker, we have to look at (Andrew) Sendejo and we have to look at Jamarca. Last week (Antone) Exum played quite a bit, and (Kurt) Coleman.

Q: What questions did you have that are still unanswered?

A: There is still the safety position, a little bit, that is not answered yet in my mind. There are some situations where we are tinkering around with some role player guys that we still have to figure out a little bit.

Q: With Josh Robinson’s injury, do you think Captain Munnerlyn is pretty entrenched at that other cornerback spot?

A: Well it’s hard to make the club in the tub. I guess, that would be a yes. I don’t know if he’s entrenched, but if you’re not going out there and proving it every single day and proving it in the games then it’s hard to know.

Q: With a couple injuries in the secondary, have you lent a thought to maybe keeping an extra defensive back than you would have normally?

A: No, not really, we’re going to do what’s best for the football team, overall. Whatever it is, if we keep six defensive backs and ten offensive linemen, we’re going to do what is best for the football team with Rick (Spielman) and I.

Q: What goes into the mock game tomorrow and what do you expect out of it?

A: We do some situations. We line up, we’ll run a few plays on offense, we’ll come out of the end zone, we’ll do red zone, we’ll do a couple short yardage plays, we’ll do a two point play, we’ll do all the special team situations, substitutions. We’re there on the sideline, they move in and we’ll make sure we got the right people and if somebody gets hurt, somebody’s got to go in.

Q: What did you learn about clock management from the first game?

A: There were really two situations that happened in the ball game. When we kicked the field goal on fourth and one, we’ve been practicing a situation out here that I should have done in the ball game. Just even if it wasn’t the time but we could have practiced that. And then the one time the official on our sideline called a fumble and an official in the back called an incomplete pass and I had three timeouts left and we were winning 10 to nothing. There was three minutes left. I probably should have challenged.

Q: What would you have done on the fourth-and-1?

A: Well, we have a situation that we’ve practiced out here that we’re actually going to practice a couple more this afternoon. It’s just something we want to work on and I didn’t think quick enough.

Q: On the missed 53-yard field goal, you said you wish you hadn’t gone for it after the game. What is Blair Walsh’s range in your mind and what does he have to do to have your confidence?

A: I have complete confidence. I think he kicked a 60-yarder out here yesterday or over that. The night before the night practice, I think he hit 10 straight and some long ones. It wasn’t so much that was the situation I’m talking about. I wish I would have went to that situation and then we either got the first down or we punted the ball or we kicked the field goal. It was good for him to get in this stadium to kick and we know how the wind goes in that stadium. I think it was good for him, not good to miss, but good to go out there and kick that in the preseason in these outdoor conditions. I think that’s good.

Q: How far does his range extend in your eyes?

A: Well, conditions vary, but he can pound it now. It really just depends on the situation. If it’s the end of a ball game and we got to have a 60-yarder then he’s going to get a shot to kick it. If the wind is howling and going the other way, it might be where the extra point is now.

Q: How did you feel about your first experience managing the game and calling plays?

A: How did you know I called the plays?

Q: Defensive plays?

A: No, I didn’t.

Q: Did you call plays?

A: Some. It was fun. I didn’t call all the plays. I’m involved but I haven’t decided, no.

Q: With the fourth-and-1, did you go for it because it’s a preseason game and you wanted to see a short yardage offensive play and would you punt during the regular season?

A: Yeah, basically. I think, the first situation we did out here in first, we do one every single day, but it was the first situation and something that if we’re going to practice these things, we might as well try them and now is the best time to try them. Then when it happens in the regular season and the game is on the line and we need to make that decision then we’ve at least practiced it in live competition.

Q: When you were calling plays, what was the biggest challenge balancing the head coach duties and play calling?

A: When I was calling the plays in Cincinnati on defense, I was able to go over and talk to the defense and look at the pictures and do all that stuff and I didn’t do that this time.

Q: Since Friday’s game, have you consulted with any other head coach friends about game day situations around the league?

A: I had Coach Parcell’s number on my phone today but I didn’t push the button. I plan on calling either tonight or tomorrow.

Q: Just to ask for advice?

A: Just talk about things and about the football team.

Q: Not that specific situation?

A: No, not really the situation.

Q: What’s your opinion of the long PAT kick?

A: It’s in the rules. I think there were two missed last week and there was one field goal missed outside of it, but from what I understand, some of the guys that missed were not their normal kicker. I guess it adds a little bit of excitement to the game, whether you go for two. I just go by the rules. They just tell me what to do and I’m kind of a good soldier.

Q: Will Matt Cassel get to play the entire first half?

A: Let’s see the best way to answer that one is, he has a chance to have the entire first half, yes.

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