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Presser Points: Zimmer on Vikings Depth, Goals as Training Camp Opens

MANKATO, Minn. — The big news out of 2016 Verizon Vikings Training Camp check-in day was Head Coach Mike Zimmer's contract extension.

The team announced the news Thursday as players were arriving to the campus of Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Zimmer met with the media soon after Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said the third-year head coach is the 'right leader' for the team's future.

But with the Vikings set to begin practice Friday in Mankato, Zimmer addressed additional topics as well.

Here are four key points from Zimmer's presser with the media:

Plenty of depth

The Vikings currently have 89 players on the roster after signing tackle Sean Hickey and linebacker Jason Whittingham earlier this week.

But while Zimmer noted he's excited for competition to play out on the offensive line and in the secondary, he also mentioned that he and Spielman are always on the lookout for more talent.

"I feel pretty good about (our depth), and I think we'll have some good competition," Zimmer said. "Rick always does a great job of checking the wavier wire every single day and trying to continue to create more depth.

"Just because we have (almost) 90 players on this team right now, it doesn't necessarily mean those players were will be the 53 we end up going into the season with," he added. "We're going to keep trying to evaluate and get better."

Setting the bar high

Zimmer is 18-14 in two seasons as a head coach and led the Vikings to the NFC North title last season.

Even as the hype has increased around the Vikings, Zimmer said outside expectations can't compare to those he has set for his team.

Zimmer said he's more focused on the 22 players on the field limiting their mistakes than whether or not the Vikings will make a deep playoff run.

"The expectation level is higher, and I get that, but the expectation level isn't any higher for me than it was the first year or the second year," Zimmer said. "I think this team understands hard work and the things we have to do get there.

"There's so many good teams in this league," he added.

Dividing attention

A defensive-minded coach, it's been no surprise that Zimmer has helped guide Minnesota's defense to noticeable improvements in each of the past two seasons.

The Vikings defense ranked near the bottom of the league the year before Zimmer arrived, and improved to allow the fifth-fewest points in 2015 at 18.9 points per game.

Zimmer said Thursday that he'll always have a soft spot for defense, but added that he's trying to be more hands-on on the offensive side of the ball.

"I'm never going to get too far away from the defense," Zimmer said. "But I did spend a fair amount of time this offseason and this summer looking at a lot of offensive cutups and some of the things that I see.

"It's just a different set of eyes and talking to the coaches about these things," he added.

Self and staff evaluations

Zimmer said he not only assesses his roster, but himself and the coaching staff as well.

He quipped that he often evaluates himself right after a game, but said he tends to look at facts and film study when analyzing things.

"We sit down and look at things and we try not to do it with emotions involved," Zimmer said. "We sit down and watch particular plays and what's been good.

"One of the tapes I was watching this year was every one of Adrian (Peterson's) runs from different personnel groups and (whether they were a) success or not successful and how we can try and improve those," he added.

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