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Presser Points: Zimmer on Bradford, Keenum & Facing Winston

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer stepped up to the podium Wednesday and broke a slight pause by asking himself the "How's Sam doing today?" question.

"He's doing good," Zimmer said before responding to follow-up questions that quarterback Kyle Rudolph's status for Week 3 likely won't be known until Sunday when Minnesota hosts Tampa Bay.

"It's day-to-day," Zimmer added with regard to a knee injury that kept Bradford, the Week 1 NFC Offensive Player of the Week, from taking the field in Pittsburgh in Week 2.

Case Keenum started in place of Bradford, making his first appearance for the Vikings and against the Steelers. Multiple factors helped Pittsburgh pressure the pocket and affect Minnesota's offense.

Zimmer was asked about the evolvement of Keenum, who entered the NFL with the Texans in 2012 as an undrafted free agent. Keenum started 24 of 26 games he played with Houston and the Rams. He started games against Tampa Bay in each of the past two seasons, going 2-0.

"He's learned a new offense, so I don't know the evolvement," Zimmer said. "He started off well with the Rams last year and played good. He's a kid that is smart, understands his ability and where he's at and understands the offense.

"He's quick, he's energetic, he's got excitement to him when he comes in there, he calls the plays good, sees things," Zimmer added. "He's been through it before."

Here are four other topics covered by Zimmer on Wednesday:

1. Facing Jameis Winston

Like Bradford, Bucs QB Jameis Winston is a fellow Heisman Trophy winner. Winston started his third pro season last week with efficient stats (18-of-30 passing for 204 yards and a touchdown) in a 29-7 win at Chicago, but he has shown propensity for big plays.

Winston also became the first NFL quarterback to pass for more than 4,000 yards in his first two seasons.

"He's a very talented guy, a very strong arm, moves well in the pocket, gets out of the pocket and makes big plays," Zimmer said. "He's looking to throw the ball down the field. He's got two excellent receivers — actually, he's got a few guys. I think he believes he can make every throw, and sometimes he's going to take his opportunities to throw it."

2. 'Turnover machine'

Looking at the other side of the ball, Zimmer said that the Bucs defense is "very similar to us in a lot of ways" and noted the unit's ability to cause turnovers. Tampa Bay intercepted Chicago twice and recovered two Bears fumbles last week.

"Scheme-wise, they're very similar. The safeties are aggressive. Their linebackers are fast," Zimmer said. "Gerald McCoy is a great player at the 3-technique. The corners play a lot of off coverage, but they do a lot of man-to-man. They're a turnover machine. They got four last week. That's kind of been their m.o. Last year was the same thing. They play fast, and they play hard."

The Bucs recorded 29 takeaways (17 interceptions, 12 fumble recoveries) last season but finished tied for 13th with a plus-2 turnover margin.

The Vikings haven't forced a turnover yet this season. Minnesota tied for fourth in the NFL in 2016 with a plus-11 turnover margin.

3. More on McCoy

McCoy, a former teammate of Bradford's at Oklahoma who was picked two spots after the quarterback at the third overall spot in 2010, has made the Pro Bowl five straight seasons and has recorded 7.0 or more sacks in each of the past four seasons, pushing his total to 42.5 in 95 games.

"He's big, powerful, quick, has great first-step quickness," Zimmer said. "He gets off the ball and goes. He wreaks a lot of havoc."

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Buccaneers.

4. 'Decent' D

The Vikings defense ranks seventh in the NFL in third-down defense, allowing conversions on just seven of 24 third-down plays (29.2 percent). Minnesota also is tied for seventh in the NFL in red zone defense (33.3 percent of trips inside the Minnesota 20-yard line have resulted in touchdowns). Zimmer said he sees areas where the Vikings can improve.

"I think we've been decent," Zimmer said. "Obviously, we've been pretty good on third downs. We've been pretty good in the red zone, pretty good against the run for the most part. We've given up too many big plays, too many penalties."

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