EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings played well in all three phases Sunday en route to a victory over the Eagles.
Head Coach Mike Zimmer met with Twin Cities media members Monday afternoon and was asked about the defense’s success against a talented Philadelphia offense. He explained that they “put a couple new looks” in for the Eagles.
“We tried to make it a little cloudy for the quarterback (Carson Wentz) and then get to some other areas in coverage. And really, the guys did a good job,” Zimmer explained. “But I think the disguise part and adding a couple different wrinkles in there helped.”
He later specifically addressed “pretty good coverage” by the Vikings secondary.
Zimmer was pleased with how Minnesota contained tight end Zach Ertz, who recorded just four catches for 54 yards on the day.
“And [Alshon] Jeffery had a lot of catches (10), but he didn’t have a lot of yards (76), and those were two emphases that we had going into the ball game,” Zimmer said about two pass catchers who have previously hurt the Vikings. “I thought we did a nice job disrupting the receivers, not letting them get into the route, and I thought Trae Waynes played really well yesterday.”
Jeffery was limited to one catch for a loss of 1 in the final 22 minutes of the game.
Waynes, who was able to disrupt a couple of deep shots by Wentz, finished the afternoon with two tackles (coaches’ tally) and a pass defended.
Here are four other topics Zimmer addressed during his podium session:
1. Great performance by Griffen
Through six games this season, defensive end Everson Griffen has played impressively.
Against the Eagles, Griffen totaled three tackles (coaches’ tally), four quarterback hurries, two passes defended and an interception of Wentz.
“He’s playing excellent – maybe as good as I’ve seen him play since he’s been here,” Zimmer said. “What makes Everson really, really good is his effort that he plays with, the violence that he plays with, and he’s going to make it a full-day affair for that offensive tackle that he’s going against.
“And we’re asking him to do some things that, really, defensive ends don’t want to do, and he goes in there and does them,” he continued. “Like getting in the A-gap yesterday – he was probably excited about that, but some of the things he’s not excited about, but he does it because it’s what we ask him to do.”
2. Wearing a ‘3-piece suit’
Following Sunday’s win, quarterback Kirk Cousins said during his postgame press conference that he tries to play each game “like an executive in a three-piece suit.”
“That’s kind of how I view it,” Cousins said. “And that means just staying consistent and calm, and there’s an intensity there, absolutely. But it doesn't mean you’re an emotionally unsteady, either.”
Zimmer was asked about the comments Monday and responded that “he’s fine” with whatever helps Cousins play the best. He did elaborate, however, that the quarterback was not without emotion during Sunday’s game.
“I saw some pretty good emotion out of him yesterday. There was some good emotion after a couple of passes that he threw,” Zimmer explained. “He’ll get fired up during the games and practice. He’ll get fired up a little bit. So, each guy has to be their own personality and if that’s how he feels he plays the best, I’m good with that.
“We’ve got other guys that don’t wear three-piece suits, that’s for sure,” Zimmer added with a chuckle.
View the Vikings in "Big Head Mode" following the 38-20 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 6 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
3. Diggs disciplined in route-running
After a three-touchdown day by Stefon Diggs, Zimmer was asked if a successful game – in which the receiver had heavy involvement – help him to stay confident and patient moving forward?
Zimmer said he doesn’t think Sunday’s game will change Diggs’ approach to the game.
“He always plays with a lot of energy, a lot of emotion,” Zimmer said. “I think it will help his confidence. He’s going to get some balls, and as long as he stays disciplined in his route-running and all those things, he’ll continue to get a lot of balls.”
4. Finding success in play-action
Zimmer has mentioned in multiple press conferences the importance of getting the play-action game going, and Minnesota was able to do that against Philadelphia.
He pointed out the difference it made, particularly on passes that traveled a longer distance.
“I’ve been saying for a long time that play-actions make it hard on a defense. We showed it yesterday; I think all of those big plays were play-actions,” Zimmer said. “If they’re going to take the free safety out of the middle, then you have a chance to get some real deep ones, and if they keep him back, you’ve got a chance to get some intermediate ones.”