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NOTEBOOK: Sloter Focused on Mastering Vikings Playbook

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Monday that he doesn't think the Vikings will be adding a quarterback to their roster anytime soon.

That means Kyle Rudolph will be the starter when healthy, and Case Keenum will assume the backup role. It also means Kyle Sloter, who served as the backup on Sunday is Pittsburgh, is the third option for the Vikings, and Teddy Bridgwater is still on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Sloter joined the Vikings 53-man roster in early September after getting picked up from Denver.

Zimmer was asked Monday about Sloter's development. 

"He's behind, but he's an athletic kid, throws the ball good, strong arm," Zimmer said. "But he's catching up."

Sloter was put on the practice squad upon arriving in Minnesota but was elevated to the active roster Sunday against the Steelers.

The former Northern Colorado standout said there was a sense of accomplishment in getting bumped up.

"It's everybody's dream to make an active roster," Sloter said. "It's just a blessing to have the opportunity and a blessing to have a coaching staff that believes in me.

"I really can't put it into words, it's just a dream come true that I've worked toward since I was just a little kid," Sloter added.

Sloter admitted he doesn't have a full grasp of the playbook since he's only been in town for two weeks, but said he could have filled in if he had been called upon Sunday. 

"I'm not a master of it quite yet like Case and Sam are," Sloter said. "But I could definitely get in there and run the basic plays that we have.

"I would say I could probably run 70 to 80 percent of the playbook successfully," Sloter added. "That's going to come with time. I think in the next coupe weeks I'll have it down pretty good."

Sloter played two seasons at Southern Miss before transferring to Northern Colorado for two more seasons.

He threw for 2,656 yards and 29 touchdowns as a senior.

"It's been a great ride so far, and I've enjoyed my time in Minnesota," Sloter said. "I'm just going to hopefully keep growing in the offensive playbook and keep working my way up."

Quigley on fake punt in Pittsburgh

Ryan Quigley is known for his leg, but the Vikings punter had an opportunity to use his arm Sunday against the Steelers.

Minnesota called a fake punt early in the second half on fourth-and-4 from the Vikings 36-yard line. Quigley took the snap and threw to his right on a pass intended for tight end Blake Bell that fell incomplete.

"I was excited. It's a cool feeling," Quigley said. "You get to do something different. I'm jealous half the time seeing the other guys do stuff, and I'm just punting the football. I was pumped. Unfortunately, they were with it the whole time."

Pittsburgh sniffed out the fake and had Bell covered. The Steelers took advantage of the short field and kicked a field goal to put the Vikings in a 17-3 hole.

"Your hope is they're bringing a rush and you're able to sneak out a little quicker, but they were held up, and in this league, usually a guy grabs on and doesn't leave you," Quigley said. "He stayed with (Bell), and it's easy to block when you're staying with the guy. We'll learn from it."

Quigley had attempted one other pass in the NFL, a throw in 2014 with the Jets that went for 38 yards. The 27-year-old said he wished he would have had a better throw to Bell on Sunday.

"I could have been like Sam Bradford and led [Bell] a little bit better and put it right where he needed it," Quigley said. "It's obviously not my specialty. I'm better with my feet, but I love the call and us being aggressive and coach having faith in us. That shows what this team is about. We want to win."

Zimmer said he wants him team to have an aggressive mindset in all three phases of the game.

"We were struggling a little bit offensively. I almost called it the series before," Zimmer said Monday. "It looked good in practice, didn't look good in the game. I was just trying to be aggressive.

"I told the team, 'I'm going to be aggressive. I'm going to do whatever I have to do to win. If it's fake punts, fake field goals, trick plays, whatever it is, we're going to try to be aggressive.' Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't," Zimmer added.

Quigley had six punts for 264 yards Sunday for an average of 44.0 yards per attempt. But his net average was 44.2 yards after Pittsburgh had minus-1 yard on two returns.

"I did see that," Quigley said. "That tells you my boy, (Jayron Kearse), is making plays. He's been incredible.

"Our gunners and inside guys are doing a great job," Quigley added. "I've got to do my job, put the ball where it needs to be put and they'll cover it."

Murray aiming for constant improvement

Latavius Murray has had a somewhat limited role through two games in Purple, rushing five times for 12 yards.

The Vikings running back said Monday that he's focused on making the most of his opportunities when called upon in a game.

"I think I just need to continue to try to get better," Murray said. "Every rep that I've taken so far hasn't been perfect, so I need to work on that, just doing each rep, making sure that it's perfect and making sure I'm doing what I need to do when I am in there, regardless of how many."

Minnesota ranks 12th in the league with 220 total rushing yards through two games. The Vikings ranked last in the league with 1,205 yards in 2016.

Murray said that despite a penalty-filled game against the Steelers, he likes the direction Minnesota's ground game is headed.

"I think we're doing some good things running the ball," Murray said. "I think we've proven that we can run the ball efficiently, and I think that's what's most important – that when we're running it, we're running it efficiently.

"We set ourselves back this past week, and you can't really beat anybody doing that," Murray added. "So I think we want to run the ball, and I think we have a good sense of how we can run the ball … and we did some good things yesterday. We have to take the good from it and improve from the bad."

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