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Lunch Break, August 14: Zimmer Not Easing Up On Defense

Posted Aug 14, 2014

Mike Zimmer not letting up on Vikings' defense

USA Today NFL reporter and former Vikings beat writer Tom Pelissero visited Vikings camp as it comes to a close. Pelissero touched based with a few players and Head Coach Mike Zimmer on the state of the defense:

The Minnesota Vikings' defense didn't allow the Oakland Raiders a first down in two series before starters began departing in last week's exhibition opener. But that didn't stop new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer from relaying some constructive feedback.

"We're up 10-nothing and he's still chewing people out on the sidelines," defensive end Brian Robison told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. "I don't think he's ever going to let up."

This is the Zimmer everyone came to know in his 35 seasons as a college and NFL assistant: a savvy, fiery perfectionist who lets players know exactly where they stand, good or bad. 

"Nobody's immune, trust me," linebacker Chad Greenway said. "It goes all around."

Pelissero goes on to explain how Zimmer will leave his finger prints on this defense and how involved the first-year head coach is with the defense. The Vikings 31st ranked defense is in line to improve for 2014 under the watchful eye of Zimmer.

Vikings tab E.J. Henderson as youth football director

The Minnesota Vikings announced former Pro Bowl linebacker E.J. Henderson has been named the team’s Youth Football Manager.Henderson, who spent nine seasons (2003-11) as a linebacker with the Vikings, will be an integral part of the Vikings community relations team. He will help develop new community-based youth football initiatives, will zero in on health and safety issues and will work to expand Vikings programming in Greater Minnesota.

Brian Murphy wrote about the Henderson hire in today’s edition of the Pioneer Press: 

The Vikings on Wednesday named Henderson their youth football manager, tapping the nine-year NFL veteran to expand the team's community programming.

Specifically, Henderson will work with the club's youth football programs, including Heads Up Football, USA Football's initiative to teach proper tackling and reduce concussions and head injuries.

"I think it's crucial for the future of our game, not only for the players but for the parents, so they can feel safe about sending their kids out there to play," said Henderson, 34. "The awareness has changed 20-fold. So I'm excited; this is something we want to focus on." 

Henderson, who was a consistent advocate for youth football throughout his playing career, will be headquartered at Winter Park. 

Quick Hitters

- ESPN’s Ben Goessling talks about the Cordarrelle strategy entering the 2014 season.

- Tim Yotter’s notebook on Viking Update highlights the starters during blitz pickups.

- Sid Hartman: State trio back with Cardinals to face Vikings this weekend.