EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –The Vikings game against the Seahawks Friday may be a preseason contest, but Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer is looking forward to the regular-season vibe it will likely present.
Seattle's stadium is known to be one of the loudest in the league, and it's sure to be raucous for the NFC matchup.
Zimmer said he likes when the preseason schedule features a road game in a tough environment.
"It's more like a true, in-season game atmosphere," Zimmer told Twin Cities media members Tuesday. "So I think that will be good."
He added that the opponent will be a good test for the Vikings offense, as well.
"Obviously the Seahawks defense is very good," Zimmer said. "They've got guys up front that can rush, they've got corners that can play man-to-man, a safety in the middle of the field that can go and linebackers that can run. So it'll be good for us."
Zimmer hasn't finalized his decision on how he will approach playing time for the Friday night standoff scheduled to start at 9 p.m. (CT). He did emphasize that he wants to see the starting offense play better and "develop a rhythm."
He aims to take full advantage of the opportunity a game in Seattle provides.
"I do think that it's going to give us a chance to evaluate a lot of guys, as well, so you can kind of see them against better players," Zimmer said. "So we may get some of the younger guys in there a little bit earlier, but at the end of the day, we still have to try to continue to get ready for the regular season."
Here are four other topics Zimmer addressed during his podium session:
1. Preseason perks
While various opinions exist around the NFL on the league's preseason format, Zimmer said he appreciates the four looks at his players in game action.
"I like the opportunity, especially now that we've changed the [roster] cut date so that a lot of these young guys can get out and get a lot of playing time in the fourth game," Zimmer said of this year's change to eliminate the first cut-down period that previously forced teams to trim their roster to 75 before the final preseason game.
"Preseason is a lot less stressful for me," Zimmer quipped. "I'm not as nervous on game day as I normally would be."
2. Approach to preseason game 3
One thing that does cause the coach anxiety, however, is the potential of injuries during the preseason.
"I think you have to be mindful of all those things," Zimmer said.
It's common practice for teams to play their starters for the entirety – or near to it – of the first half of Preseason Game 3. When asked if he plans to follow the trend during the Aug. 27 game against the 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium, Zimmer said he's "really weighing that a lot."
"Like I said, I had a game on in the background and saw two defensive starters go out for the season yesterday, and one team had five guys get injured yesterday," Zimmer said. "It's really a fine line.
"How much do we weigh the guys that I really know, I've got a pretty good idea if they can play, [against] getting them in there and playing just to play?" Zimmer added. "And the back fire to that is, really, are going to be in shape for Sept. 11? So that's something that I'm contemplating right now."
3. Always good to win
The Vikings under Zimmer have a preseason record to date of 13-1.
It's an impressive stat at first glance, but Zimmer said it's not something he focuses on, considering preseason wins and losses have no weight on a team's regular-season results.
That being said, however, he said that it's always good to win.
"If we're playing Tiddlywinks, it's good to win," Zimmer said. "So I think the competitor part of me is always good. At the end of the day, does it matter? No. But I think the competitive nature of your team, and especially if you've got a young team getting used to winning, I think that's good."
4. O-line decisions
The Vikings have been doing a lot of shuffling on their offensive line throughout training camp and the beginning portion of the preseason.
Zimmer said Tuesday that he's "getting close" to having a final decision on the starting five.
"I mean, I think this week will be a good tell-tale of some of the things we're trying to do," Zimmer said. "Like I said, it will be good competition, so we may have some guys in some different spots this week and see how that goes."