Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner
Q: What was it like to have Adrian Peterson out there this week and what did you see?
A: It was nice, it was nice. I've been around a lot of these guys a lot of years and he's one of the top guys I've ever been around. He just comes out and it looks like he hadn't missed a day. It was nice having him.
Q: How much catching up does he have to do in getting comfortable again?
A: The great thing about what we do, and youth and the young guys and being involved in this like I have been, you take a break and you come back and you haven't seen everybody in three month as group and it's like you've been together for the last three months. You build those relationships and I think once Adrian got in the meeting room and we got going, that was the same feeling. He's very comfortable with what we're doing. He retained a lot. We have new stuff in and he was eager to get involved in that and he's had three good days.
Q: What have you seen from Cordarrelle Patterson so far that you might not have seen last year?
A: I think this time of year everyone's working on getting better and I think Cordarrelle has really taken a very positive approach in terms of doing the things we're asking him to do. He's like all the guys, he's working hard at getting better at the things we're asking him to do.
Q: What has he done to convince you that he's gotten the message?
A: There's a lot of things that go into if you're having success on Sundays. Some of it's out of your control and a lot of it's in your control. I think he understands that and I think he's working on doing the little things we're asking him to do. He's got a smile on his face and he's working hard.
Q: Would you describe what it's like to have your full healthy group of offensive talents?
A: We've got a lot of guys that are going to be able to play when we get into the games and we're going to be able to use a lot of our personnel groups. Guys that people don't even think of, maybe it's third tight end, maybe it's having a fullback that's a good receiver. There's a lot of different things. It's exciting having Mike Wallace because he's a big play receiver and he's proven that. CJ, (Charles Johnson) has picked up where he left off in December and he's having a good spring. Jarius (Wright) kind of gets lost in the middle of this thing because there's other names around, but he really played well in the second half of the season. We have a strong group and it's going to be great competition and there's going to be great competition for playing time on Sundays.
Q: What have you seen from Jerick McKinnon this spring?
A: Jerick, really looks faster than a year ago, because he's real confident in what he's doing. He's 100% healthy and he's flying around. He really gives you a nice dimension, a changeup.
Q: Can Jerick McKinnon compliment Adrian Peterson?
A: Like I said, we've got a lot of guys that I think are going to be able to contribute. Certain guys are going to get to contribute more than others and I'd assume Adrian would be that guy who'd get to contribute more than others. If you're going to be a really good offensive football team, you've got to use all of the guys you have.
Q: How would you describe the change in personnel last season and how you were forced to plug and play so many different players?
A: Every NFL season is challenging. Last year, offensively, obviously Adrian being gone after one game, the constant change in the offensive line made it challenging, but our guys handled it. I've been in those situations where, in the last six games guys kind of, I don't want to say packed it in, but didn't give themselves the best chance. The thing that was impressive, and I think it starts with Coach Zimmer, this group continued to work hard, giving themselves the best chance to win. We got better in November and we got better in December and I think we're better now than we were in December. That's what you have to do in this league if you're going to be successful.
Q: What does it take for an Isaac Fruechte do step up and make the team?
A: He probably should talk to Adam Thielen, because you just come out there and you work and you learn how to play the way we want you to play. Then, when you get opportunities to make plays, make them. It's amazing how that just steamrolls and you get an opportunity. You hate to say this this time of year, because anything can happen, but if you go play good, and we have five preseason games and it shows up in games, there's 32 teams, so you have an opportunity to get involved somewhere if it's not here.
Q: Teddy Bridgewater last week brought up unprompted the importance of a healthy Kyle Rudolph, what kind of difference can he make?
A: Obviously, that's what we said last spring, when Kyle was good in the spring, he had a great training camp, then he had the injuries, so we've seen him here at a high level, we saw him early in the preseason at a high level. He's working hard, he's had a great offseason with his body to try to make sure he doesn't have those nagging injuries. When he's healthy and running like he's been the last three weeks, it's exciting to have him. We'll get some coverage on the outside with the speed that we have, he can open it up a lot. He'll get match-ups, if they're going to play eight-man fronts, the tight end gets great match-ups through the passing game. It's nice having him.
Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards
Q: How's the defense been looking so far?
A: I think we've improved. I think guys coming in and systematically knowing what we're trying to accomplish and what we expect. I think we're right on schedule as far as our install and what we're trying to get accomplished, but we're still trying to refine a lot of techniques and fundamentals between the different packages.
Q: What's been the thought process of Jabari Price filling in as the nickel corner while Captain Munnerlyn is out?
A: He's played nickel. He was our backup nickel last year. He played quite a few snaps at nickel for us all last offseason and going into the preseason he had played a lot of nickel for us. We think he's got a chance to compete right there, he's done a good job handling the different concepts of things we're trying to get accomplished underneath in coverage.
Q: What did happen with Captain Munnerlyn?
A: He had a lower leg injury. I don't know how long it's going to be, but I don't think it's anything major.
Q: Was Xavier Rhodes absent today?
A: Xavier wasn't here today, his son has got a graduation, so he's down for his graduation.
Q: How has Trae Waynes looked?
A: He's doing good. We're putting a lot on his plate by playing him inside at the nickel and playing him outside at corner, so from that aspect of it, it's a lot of different concepts that he's learning, asking him to do some things that he probably hasn't done, especially playing him inside on the slot. For everything right now, I think it's kind of running together a little bit for him, but he's been working and doing a good job of picking up what it is we're trying to teach him.
Q: How NFL-ready is Trae Waynes?
A: We're still early in this process. We will just keep following through the process, the more competitive situations that he gets into, the more that picture will become a lot clearer.
Q: How do you feel about the depth at left defensive end?
A: We feel pretty good about the position with the guys that we've got here working it. We've got a good rotation going as far as different body types of guys that we can use at the position. Scott Crichton has made a big jump this year. He's doing a good job in there for us. (Danielle) Hunter, we've worked him in there some at it. Right now, we're just kind of putting guys in that spot and looking at the different things that they bring to the position and everybody has been doing a good job, especially with Brian (Robison) being out and missing some of these days this offseason.
Q: Is Justin Trattou an option there at left end?
A: Yeah, there's no doubt. Justin (Trattou) has done a good job rotating from the left into the right. We were really surprised, he's bulked up this offseason and really bought in, has a good understanding of what we're trying to do at the position and really has flashed here at us this offseason thus far.
Q: What do attribute Scott Crichton's jump to?
A: I think it's a combination of going through all of last year. If you remember last year, he missed the whole offseason because he was on the quarters system (at Oregon State), and I just think he feels a lot more comfortable with what we're asking him to do technique and fundamental-wise, where he's got a lot more recall, as opposed to last year, he came in for the rookie mini camp, then missed all of that time, came back and boom, training camp. I think it all kind of got too fast for him there. Now he's able to break things down and he's got good recall of what we're asking out of the position.
Q: Scott Crichton seems to be more a reserved individual, does he have a fire?
A: One thing about Crichton is his work ethic. He's going to outwork a lot of guys, just that's his mindset. He's a blue collar, out-work you (player). We're playing him outside; he's shown the flexibility to play inside in our nickel package. From that aspect of it, we're pleased where he's at right now. We just need to finish this offseason strong and carry it into the opening of training camp.
Q: Do you expect to have Brian Robison back for training camp?
A: I hope so. I don't know exactly what the extent and the time period is with the injury, but I'd say that he will probably be ready.
Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer
Q: What have you seen from some of the new players and what can they contribute on special teams?
A: Every time we draft a player, coach Ryan Ficken and I will sit down there and watch some tape on them, whether or not we've watched them or not. Watch their combine tape, their pro day tape and see what type of athlete they are coming in. Then what we like to do is, obviously, teach them our techniques and fundamentals, things that we want them to emphasize during the spring and then athletically see if they can do that, and if they can, we are going to put them in the right spots to be successful. Kind of tweak it as we go through the spring on into training camp. There's a lot of really good athletes in this young class that we're excited about.
Q: Can you see some of the athletic traits even though they're not in pads?
A: That's the big thing right now, is that we're more focused on the athletic movements. Yesterday we did a cover drill, you actually can't come down and do the tackling part of it, but you can tag off on the hip. We talk about the footwork and the squeeze and the cutoff, all of those sorts of things. We talk about with punt and kickoff coverage without the physical part of it right now. It's the tough part of spring, but we understand that's what we're supposed to do right now and those are the rules and they're great rules to keep guys healthy. We will find out who the tough guys are when we put the pads on in training camp.
Q: What have you seen from new returners like Stefon Diggs and DuJuan Harris?
A: DuJuan (Harris), I'm familiar with, we've played against him before, he's a very strong, quick returner. I think he is more of a kickoff returner than a punt returner. Stefon (Diggs) can do both. He had a great freshman year at Maryland doing both, tailed off a little bit the next two year, but I think he's got a phenomenal skill set. He'll give some great competition at those spots.
Q: Adrian Peterson has had a year off, so he can return kicks, right?
A: Adrian, he hasn't asked yet. I actually asked him yesterday if he was ready, he said, "Let me warm-up, Coach Prief and I'll be ready to roll here in a little bit."
Q: What are your thoughts on the punt return position and Marcus Sherels?
A: I think everybody that has talked to me before about Marcus Sherels understands or knows how I feel about him. I think he's a very reliable returner, also is rated one of the better returners in this league in making people miss and getting the big yards when they're there. His average was outstanding last year and we had two or three really big returns called back, or his average could have been upwards of 13 or 14 yards per return. He's a very reliable and talented returner that somebody is going to have to come in and beat him out. We're going to have competition like we do every year, he knows that, but I'm excited about that because that's only going to make him better and make our football team better.
Q: Can you tell at this point if Stefon Diggs has what it takes to be a returner in the NFL?
A: I think right now, yes, he's got the skillset to be a returner in this league and I think he's got to develop and do the little things that are necessary in terms of tracking the ball, catching the ball and getting the ball up field and doing the things that we're asking him to do, but we will see more of that as we get going in training camp.
Q: Is he a better punt returner or kickoff returner?
A: I think he's got a great skillset to be a punt returner and I think he's big and strong enough to be a kickoff returner. He probably could do both, there's no doubt in my mind. I've seen him on tape as a college player, but at this level it's a little bit different. For me, I think it's harder to be a punt returner in this league than a kickoff returner, but I think he can do both.
Q: How does having two long snappers change the offseason approach?
A: Well, we brought in competition for Cullen (Loeffler) this year, we thought it was the right thing to do. It's been a very good competition. The great thing about these two young guys, both Cullen and Kevin (McDermott), they're great people, I've been wanting to say kids, but they're not kids, but they're great people. They get along well, they help each other, encourage each other, it's just great competition right now and the best player, the best one is the one we're going to keep, I'd think. I don't make that decision, but that's I think the direction that we're going.
Q: Was there anything with the timing of creating the competition after Cullen Loeffler has been here for so long?
A: He's been here a long time, I think this is year 11, if I'm not mistaken. He's had a solid career, an outstanding career and he's been great for this football and we just felt like this was the year to bring in the competition.
Q: When do you want to decide on who you're going with at long snapper?
A: I think it will work itself out. I told both of those guys that I think at the end of the competition, both of them will know who won that competition. Again, I don't make that final decision, it could become a numbers game in training camp with injuries, you never know how that's going to go. I hope to get them to training camp and into the preseason games and see who's going to be the best possible option there.
Q: Do you go into the season thinking Cordarrelle Patterson as your kickoff returner?
A: In my mind, Cordarrelle Patterson is the best kickoff returner in the league. It would be crazy for me to try and put someone else in that spot, but we're still bringing competition, we still want him to get better. There's things that he can't do this year that he did last year, put the ball on the ground and those things, but he's still very talented and every time that he's back there, you guys see what teams do, they get nervous and they don't like kicking to him, we get great field position because of that.
Q: What kind of changes do you think the extra point rule change will cause this season?
A: Oh yeah, the PAT rule, first of all, I'm happy that the owners and the competition committee kept the play in. It's a very exciting play I think. They made it more exciting. Like any other change they've made to special teams over the last few years, we've embraced it, we're happy about it, we're going to make it a home field advantage at TCF and it's going to be cold and windy, as you guys know, when it gets to that point of the year, we have to go out and execute, hopefully our opponents wont and when we go on the road, we've got to do a good job there, as well. I think it makes an exciting play, the possibility of scoring two points for the defense, I think is great, should be fun.
Q: How much difference do you think it really does make?
A: When you look at it, there's going to be a team that loses a game this year because of a missed PAT, because of that rule. Obviously, we don't want to be that team. We hope that's one of our opponents that we play. At the end of the day, whether it's 94%, 95% from 33 yards, whatever the case may be, it's still less than 98% or 99%, or whatever it has been for PATS under the old rule. It will make an impact I think on that play and the decision that head coach has to make. Whether it's the first half or the second half, whether he's going for two in the second quarter, the fourth quarter, every head coach is going to be a little bit different I think. I think it's going to make the game more exciting.
Q: Have you started talking strategy with Coach Zimmer yet?
A: Yeah, sure, absolutely, absolutely.