EAGAN, Minn. — The coffee has been flowing at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.
The Vikings front office has made a flurry of moves over the past few days, bringing in a handful of players they hope will continue to improve Minnesota’s strong roster.
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and the front-office personnel added wide receiver Aldrick Robinson on Monday and signed kicker Dan Bailey on Tuesday before bringing back defensive tackle Tom Johnson on Wednesday morning.
Mike Zimmer has taken notice, and is appreciative of the hard work by all involved.
The Vikings head coach said Wednesday that he is grateful that the front office consistently looks for talent that will give his team the best chance to win.
“I texted them the other night and told all those guys, ‘Thank you’ for trying to get some more players in here,” Zimmer said. “No. 1, they’ve always done a great job. Rick always says, ‘I want to get the players in here that you want to get.’ We have a great working relationship.
“I think that [Vice President of Player Personnel/Assistant General Manager] George [Paton] and the scouts do a good job of evaluating talent. They’ll spend all day looking at players around the league who might become available,” Zimmer added. “If they do, they’ve already got a book on them. I think we have a great front office, and it’s great to see. We felt like we needed to make some moves after that game.”
The Vikings sit at 1-0-1 after beating San Francisco in Week 1 and playing to a 29-29 tie at Lambeau Field against the Packers in Week 2.
Minnesota will host Buffalo on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium. Kickoff is at noon (CT).
Here are four other takeaways from Zimmer’s podium session Wednesday:
1. A rookie QB on deck
The Vikings will face a rookie quarterback on Sunday as the Bills will start Josh Allen, the seventh overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Allen, who played at Wyoming, made his first NFL start in Week 2 against the Chargers. He completed 18 of 33 passes for 245 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in that game.
But the 22-year-old is also mobile, as he has 12 carries for 58 yards over the first two weeks of the season.
Zimmer said the Vikings defense will need to be aware of Allen’s dual-threat ability.
“Big arm … really athletic with moving in the pocket and scrambling,” Zimmer said. “I think he looks to throw when he’s scrambling.
“They have a lot of misdirection things, similar to San Francisco,” Zimmer added. “He can keep the ball on the option stuff.”
2. Respect for the other side
A pair of defensive minds will go head-to-head on Sunday.
Zimmer was a longtime defensive coordinator around the NFL before he got his first head coaching gig, and Bills head coach Sean McDermott has followed the same path.
McDermott was the defensive coordinator with the Eagles and Panthers for eight combined seasons before being hired by Buffalo in 2017. He has a 9-9 record with Buffalo.
“I’ve known Sean for quite a while,” Zimmer said. “[When he was] in Philly and then Carolina, we used to sit down and talk defense and things like that.
“We’d [talk when we would] go to the Combine … he called me this year before the season to talk about some things,” Zimmer added. “He’s a good football coach.”
3. Stout up front
Zimmer had high praise for Buffalo’s front seven on defense.
The Vikings Head Coach mentioned linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Kyle Williams and defensive end Jerry Hughes as players Minnesota’s offense will need to keep an eye on Sunday.
Zimmer said Buffalo has an aggressive approach, playing the run on the way to the quarterback.
“Their defensive front is aggressive,” Zimmer said. “They’ve got some really good players in there. Edmunds and Star and Jerry Hughes and Williams … they’re all good.”
Buffalo is tied for last in points allowed per game (39.0) and ranks 18th in yards allowed per game at 359.0.
4. Praise for Green
The Vikings will induct former Vikings Head Coach Dennis Green into the team’s Ring of Honor at halftime of Sunday’s game.
Zimmer on Wednesday recalled meeting Green soon after he was hired by the Vikings in 2014.
“I didn’t know him very well,” Zimmer said. “I know that I was at a coach’s symposium after I got the job here and I walked up to him and introduced myself, and we talked for a while about the Vikings.
“I know he was a great coach here, and it seemed like every time he played us when I was defensive coordinator, he kicked my butt,” Zimmer added. “It’s well deserving, great for his family, and I’m sure everybody wishes he was still [alive] to be here for that.”
Green, who passed away on July 22, 2016, will be the 24th member of the Vikings Ring of Honor, and the third former head coach, along with Bud Grant and Jerry Burns.
Green was the Vikings Head Coach from 1992 to 2001, and his 97 regular-season wins ranks second in franchise history. His teams won division titles four times and advanced to NFC Championship Games after the 1998 and 2000 seasons. Green made the playoffs in eight of 10 seasons in Minnesota.