EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –After watching the film of Sunday's road loss, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer broke down more of what he saw from his team against the Steelers.
Zimmer said there were positive and negative takeaways from the tape but that Minnesota ultimately "shot [itself] in the foot" with penalties on both sides of the ball.
"Twenty-three of the [Steelers] 26 points came because of defensive penalties," Zimmer told Twin Cities media members Monday afternoon. "We had a first-down run for eight yards and a penalty that made it first-and-20, so that's an 18-yard penalty. We had a 4-yard run on first down, then negated that, it ended up being a 14-yard penalty."
He delved more into Minnesota's defense and specific plays that caused problems.
"There was one time that, honestly, the receiver didn't run a good route, and we were kind of in front of him the whole way, and we got called," Zimmer said. "There was one time that we grabbed a guy in the back, just a slight grab, and that's a penalty. One time we got to the ball early.
"We jumped offsides twice, we allowed drives to go on fourth-and-1 [when] we jumped offsides, which wasn't a good play," he added. "And we jumped offsides when they threw the ball deep to [Martavis Bryant]."
Zimmer explained about the latter situation that Trae Waynes saw the official flag the Vikings for offsides at the line of scrimmage.
"The receiver (Bryant) kind of stopped, and then he took off, and Trae kind of stopped, and then took off, and the guy made a catch."
Bryant's catch moved the Steelers 51 yards to the Vikings 11. Minnesota's defense did keep Pittsburgh out of the end zone, and the drive ended in a 29-yard field goal.
Zimmer assured that the penalties committed are "correctable."
"We just have to be more disciplined with our hands, we have to be in a better position," Zimmer said.
Here are four other topics Zimmer addressed during his podium session:
1. Confidence in Case
Quarterback Case Keenum made his first start as a Viking – and first against the Steelers – when Kyle Rudolph was ruled out Sunday morning with a knee injury.
Zimmer said that Minnesota's offense "felt confident in Case and the things he was doing" and that the issues during the game had nothing to do with trust in Keenum.
According to Zimmer, there were "some good things and some bad things" from Keenum.
"I thought he was tough and battled and fought in there – a short week against a pretty exotic defensive scheme that is very physical and fast. So I thought he battled," Zimmer said. "I'm sure he would say he could do better in some things. But he did some good things, as well."
2. 'I like this team'
Should the need arise for Keenum to start another game for Minnesota, Zimmer said he "feels good" about him in the huddle.
Keenum isn't the only player Zimmer feels confident in.
"This is a good football team," Zimmer said. "We're going to continue to get better each week. I like this team; I like the way they compete, I like the way they go out and prepare.
"Did we make some mistakes yesterday? Yeah. We got beat," Zimmer added. "It's one game. We're not going to throw in the towel. We're going to fight."
*3. Challenges in communication *
Zimmer said there were multiple factors affecting the amount of pressure on the pocket.
"Sometimes, if you've got everybody out on a route, and they bring an extra guy and the line is sliding one way, they're going to have a free runner, and the guy has to come back in and take the most dangerous guy," Zimmer said. "Sometimes that happens."
He also said there were some "communication issues with the cadence" that put the Vikings offense into tough situations.
"A lot of it, the protection and the quarterback depth, a lot of these things kind of go hand-in-hand," Zimmer said. "[Keenum] got deep a couple times, you know, and we're not protecting at that depth. So some of it was that. And at times, we were late on a snap one time, but really, for the most part, we got on the right guys."
Added Zimmer: "Did we get beat sometimes? Yes. But I wouldn't necessarily call them 'protection issues.' "
*4. Positives to ponder *
Despite a number of frustrations throughout the game, Zimmer took away a number of positives from the way the Vikings performed.
"I felt like we had to do a good job in the running game and take care of Antonio Brown defensively," Zimmer said. "For the most part, I thought we did that."
Brown was primarily covered by Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who helped hold the Week 1 leading receiver to 64 yards and no touchdowns.
Zimmer also praised the Vikings defense for limiting the Steelers to just 23 percent on third-down conversions.
"And offensively, some of the things that happened, you know, I think we got the running game started a little bit there, especially a little bit more in the second half," Zimmer said. "We're excited to get back to work, get back home, put this game behind us and move on to Tampa Bay."