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Presser Points: Zimmer on Preparing for Gurley & Goff

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer announced Wednesday that Case Keenum will start Sunday against his former Rams team.

Zimmer spent most of his session, however, talking about the multitude of threats posed by Los Angeles on offense, defense and special teams.

"Getting ready for a very good Rams team," Zimmer said. "They're very good defensively, very physical upfront. Great 3-technique (Aaron Donald). Very good special teams specialists. Offensively, fast-break offense. We're going to need our fans nice and loud there. No huddle, they do a lot of checking at the line of scrimmage. Great backs, good receivers. Quarterback [Jared Goff] is playing well."

The Rams already passed their points total from a season ago and lead the league in scoring (32.9 points per game).

Kicker Greg Zuerlein leads the league in total points with 114. He's 28-of-29 on field goals and has connected on all 30 of his extra points.

Running back Todd Gurley leads all non-kickers with 60 points. He's tied for the NFL lead with seven rushing touchdowns and has caught three scores.

Sean McVay is in his first season as Rams head coach. He became the youngest head coach in modern NFL history when he was hired at age 30 earlier this year. Now 31, McVay worked with Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden with the Buccaneers in 2008, Florida Tuskers in 2009 and Redskins from 2014-16.

Zimmer said he sees similarities in the Rams and Redskins offenses.

Here are four topics discussed by Zimmer:

1. Gurley is 'great'

In addition to the 10 touchdowns, Gurley also leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage (1,160). He has 754 on the ground and 406 through the air. The 10th overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft has four games this season with 100 or more rushing yards, including a season-best 121 against Dallas in Week 4.

"He's great. He's physical, fast. He had a big year as a rookie," Zimmer said. "He does a great job on screen [plays]."

2. Goff's Growth

Quarterback Jared Goff started seven games as a rookie in 2016 and didn't win one. He completed 112 of 205 passes (54.6 percent) with five touchdowns and seven interceptions.

This season, after a coaching and scheme change, Goff is 7-2 in nine starts. He's 172-of-281 passing (61.2 percent) with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions.

The Vikings caught a glimpse of Goff during the 2016 preseason finale.

He started the game and was 6-for-16 (37.5 percent) with 67 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Goff's passer rating has gone from 63.6 to 101.5.

"He is doing a good job of getting the ball to the right places," Zimmer said. "He's reading the coverages. They get up to the line quickly, and they probably tell him what it is going in. Then he checks a different play, like the colleges do. So he has a good idea of what is going on. He throws the ball vertically very well."

3. Defensive identity

The Rams also overhauled their defensive scheme, shifting from a 4-3 base alignment to a 3-4 under new coordinator Wade Phillips.

Zimmer talked about the defensive identity under Phillips, who was the architect of a unit that helped the Broncos win Super Bowl 50.

"Five-man rush, two outside linebackers rushing," Zimmer said. "They're playing under with it with Aaron Donald being the 3-technique, which is a handful, and then these two outside linebackers (Robert Quinn and Connor Barwin) are difficult to block."* *

4. Donald dominant

Zimmer was asked about preparing for Donald, a two-time All Pro who has 33 sacks in 56 career games and has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his three previous seasons, and said, "Well, it's not easy."

"You try and get two hands on him as much as possible," Zimmer added. "You get him on the ground as much as you can – trap him, cut him."

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