EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Mike Zimmer wants to capitalize on his first game film of the 2017 Vikings against an opponent.
Zimmer reviewed Thursday night's 17-10 win by Minnesota at Buffalo before players returned to Winter Park on Saturday for their first practice at the team's headquarters in two months.
Zimmer said the film had some elements that were encouraging, as well as several areas where the Vikings can improve as the preseason continues.
"After evaluating the tape, really there were some good things that happened all along," Zimmer said. "The first two plays offensively we drove them off the ball, had some nice surges and good runs, a 6-yard gain. Then the two sacks kind of set us off a little bit.
"Defensively I thought there was some good things," Zimmer added. "We didn't cover good enough all night, really what I said after the ball game. Still a lot of things to work on, but I still like the way this team works and how they respond to things, so we'll get better this week."
Players are scheduled to practice Sunday and have an off-day Monday before practicing Tuesday and Wednesday. The team is scheduled to travel to Seattle Thursday and play the Seahawks at 9 p.m. (CT) Friday.
Here are four other topics covered by Zimmer:
1. Offensive line evaluations continue
The Vikings were without left tackle Riley Reiff, who suffered an injury on July 27. Rashod Hill started in place of Reiff, along with Pat Elflein (LG), Nick Easton (C), Nick Easton (RG) and Mike Remmers (RT).
Zimmer was asked about evaluating the performance without Reiff in the lineup and indicated that the Vikings are looking at multiple players, even though the competition at center between Easton and Pat Elflein has gotten the most publicity.
"Well, as soon as we figure out who the offensive line is going to be, it will help," Zimmer said. "We want to do it sooner than later, but we want to make sure we get the right five guys in there.
"Elflein played very, very well. He had one bad snap, but he played really well. He missed one guy, he took a poor angle," Zimmer said. "Easton played well. [Danny] Isidora did some good things. [Willie] Beavers, early he played well, but it looked like he got tired or something late. Some of these young guys are starting to show up."
2. Cook's style of finishing runs impresses
Dalvin Cook totaled 13 rush yards on five carries and added another 30 yards on four receptions. The Vikings want to continue to find ways to create space for the dynamic rookie in the run game and pass game.
"He didn't have a lot of open space. He had good runs, he had effective runs," Zimmer said. "I guess the one pass that he caught on the sideline there and the other screen pass, it kind of showed his ability a little bit more than when he can really hit a crease and go. You didn't really see that the other night, it just wasn't there. The first two plays of the game we knocked them off the ball 4-5 yards. He got what was there.
"The thing I liked about him was, when it got into tight quarters, he lowered his shoulders and tried to fight for the extra couple yards," Zimmer added.
3. The bump-and-run
Bump-and-run technique is one that defensive backs aren't able to work on during the offseason program. It is always one of the things that Zimmer looks forward to working on when pads go on at training camp but not the only type of coverage that the Vikings deploy. Zimmer added the Vikings defensive backs and receivers can be better when coverage is physical, and said the defensive backs also can be better when they are lined up off the line of scrimmage.
"We didn't have many mental errors, we just didn't cover very good. We were soft in coverage, when we were off [the line of scrimmage] we were soft," Zimmer said. "We opened up way too early when we're bumping and running. So, we spent a lot of today on that. We spent a lot of time in the film room today on that.
"Our receivers didn't get off the press very good," Zimmer added. "The quarterback didn't have places to go with the football. We've got to do better with the receivers and DBs than we did the other night."
4. Internal focus
The Vikings barely prepared for anything the Bills might do on offense or defense, and it sounds like Minnesota might "card" Seattle a little more than it did for Buffalo's schemes, but the focus will remain on helping players and the overall offense, defense and special teams improve.
"It's about us. We've got to get better," Zimmer said. "We can't worry about Seattle right now. It'll be a great test. It's going to be a great atmosphere for us. It's going to be loud, like a regular-season game there."