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Transcript: Coordinators Addressed the Media Friday

*Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur *

Q: How unique is a guy like Tyrann Mathieu?

A: Well, he's a tremendous football player, and he has proven it at all levels. When he's in there, he can cover, certainly, but he's a good blitzer. He's an excellent tackler. So, he has got all the skills to play the position.

Q: Why has Stefon Diggs been so productive the past couple weeks? Do you have him on your fantasy team?

A: I don't really do that stuff. No, he has found a way to get open. He caught a bunch of balls on the last drive, and we try to spread the ball around if we can. Depending on the game, I feel like sometime catches come in bunches. The week before, Kyle [Rudolph] only got one touch, and then last week, he got a few more. So, we try to match our players up against the players we're playing against, but certainly, there's progressions involved. So, he just happened to be first or second in progressions and made some good plays.

Q: If they stick Patrick Peterson on him, and he even follows him into the slot, how does that affect what you do, and what do other guys need to do to step up?

A: We certainly feel like Stefon is a good matchup, but we have to give healthy respect to Peterson. He's an outstanding football player, and I guess the challenge is then that everybody else has to do their part. And so, when we go into the game, we certainly keep in mind the matchups that we're facing, but we also understand the strengths of our guys.

Q: How much do you feel at this point that it's your offense versus just trying to pick plays from what was left over?

A: We're trying to develop a Minnesota Vikings offense based on the players that we have and the things that we think are good and work well against our opponent. So, that's really the approach moving forward. 

Q: Have you been able to implement your own plays?

A: I think, again, there are things that we've all done in the past that we feel like work, but there are also so many really good things about what has gone on around here the last three years. Again, we just try look at our opponent, see how they're defending us and try to put our players in the best position possible.

*Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards *

Good to get back home, playing another tough offense this week in Arizona. Very efficient at moving the ball, very good in third down, heck of a running game so they've got a balanced attack. We'll have our work cut out for us this week.

Q: How do you compare the challenge of defending David Johnson to other backs?

A: He's a tough, downhill, physical runner. He's a heck of a receiver out of the backfield. So we're going to have to do a good job on him this week. He's second on their team in catches behind Larry [Fitzgerald]. We're going to have do a good job with leverage on him. He runs all types of routes, especially when they open up the formation with him. He's out there, definitely a viable threat in the passing game for them. He'll be a tough challenge in the run and the pass. We're going to have to do a good job of wrapping him up tackling and we're going to have do a good job with leverage in man coverage.

Q: What is the biggest challenge with him?

A: He does it all. We're just going to have to be good on him. He's one of those backs that can really do it all in the run game and in the passing game. That's a credit to him, we're going to have to do a good job as far as our matchups on him. 

Q: What does Emmanuel Lamur need to do to get defensive snaps?

A: I think the biggest thing is just different packages that we take into the game from week-to-week. He's had a good week of practice this week. It's one of those things situationally we're trying to get the best matchups that we have. He just needs to keep working on the things that we ask him to work on from week-to-week. He's done a good job. The situations will dictate when we get him in.* *

Q: What happened specifically on the one play when Jamison Crowder got the touchdown?

A: We were in a coverage and lost leverage on it at the end of the day.

Q: To what do you attribute to the missed tackles these last few weeks?

A: I think it's more of wrapping up, finishing a tackle and wrapping up. That's the biggest thing we've come back and tried to emphasize, is that with these powerful running backs, bigger backs, you've got to get them wrapped up to get them on the ground. They're going to break arm tackles, and we've got to take good angles. That's the other thing, emphasizing making sure we take good angles to tackle.

Q: Can you notice when you're watching film on them, do they look Larry Fitzgerald's way when they need first downs, or is it that's just who happens to be open?

A: I think it depends sort of what you're doing, but he is their leading receiver by a long shot. So, he does a great job route running. He does a great job catching the ball when it get close to him. So, I'm sure he's a guy that they have come to count on and over the years have been able to count on him. So, we've got to do a good job in what we're doing leverage-wise and coverage-wise on him this week.* *

Q: When you look at the defensive line, do you feel like their winning enough one on ones?

A: Again, it goes back to the same thing. The ball has been coming out quick, and we've had a lot of keeping seven-man protections in and those type of deals with the blitz success that we had early. So, we've just got to keep working, and again, we feel like it's going to come. Guys are doing what we ask them to do. They understand how it's tied together with the coverage and the rush, and we've just got to keep working and those opportunities will keep coming.

Q: Does Arizona typically keep a lot of guys in on max protection?

A: They haven't as much, but they still do chip the tight end out and the back out. So, in certain situations, different teams use different protection, and from what we've shown and how they try to scheme it up.  

Q: What do you tell the corner backs to combat the quicker throws?

A: The biggest thing is the techniques and the fundamentals that we work on, whether we're [in] press, whether we're off, whether they have wide splits, whether the splits are in there tight, whether they run stacks, whether they run clusters. So, situationally, they have to be on top of their game for, number one, what we're doing and then, number two, what they come out in, because they'll have to adjust off the alignment of the receivers

*Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer *

Before we get started I want to let guys know that although Tuesday was a tough day, Blair (Walsh) handled himself with professionalism and class. I was real proud of the way he handled the situation. Blair's done a lot for us the last five years both on the field and in the community. He's a fine young man and it was a tough day for him.

Q: Can you describe that parting conversation?

A: Well, I'd rather keep that between Blair and I. But, I thanked him for all of his contributions to our football team and like I said he's a pro. He's a true pro that handled adversity ever since last January. And since then on and off he's handled the adversity as best as any young man could. I was real proud of him for that and I think he's going to be better for it in the long run as a person and as a football player.     

Q: Do you think a change of scenery could be good for him considering all of the struggles he was having?

A: Yeah, I think it's a change of scenery. That's what I told him and I hope he goes to the AFC because I wouldn't want to play him. At some point he's going to turn it back on I think and I think going to another place will help him. I truly believe that.

Q: How often have you seen that with kickers over the years?

A: I think it's with a lot of players to be honest with you and anybody that's gone through all the criticism that he's faced the last several months. I think going to a new place is going to help him kind of get a fresh start. And I think you see that with any type of position, but maybe in particular kickers and punters. The microscope is always on them so much. I think it's going to help him like it would help any other player. 

Q: How long do you think it'll be before he gets another job? Would a few weeks off help him mentally?

A: That might help him and then be ready for the offseason.  

Q: Did you take it personally as coach that you weren't able to help him get out the slump?

A: You know with any position player and the great thing about coaching special teams is I get to coach everybody. Anytime a player whether it's at the end of training camp when you cut a player a linebacker, a receiver, or a tight end or whatever position it is I kind of take it all personally that maybe I could've done more to help him succeed at this level. So, like you said a lot of it is on Blair, but at the end of the day maybe I could've done something else. I don't know because when he got here he wasn't a real accurate kicker. He became an accurate kicker and he had his ups and downs from there. But, I think I did the best I could with him. I know the guys that I've coached in the past know I've done the best I could with them while they're here. And when they part ways, they part ways. It's a part of the business.

Q: What can you say you've learned over the years of working with the mental side of things?

A: That's a big, big part of the game especially for a kicker. I think the mental part is a very, very important part of it because there's hundreds of guys that are good enough technically-wise or strong enough leg that could kick in this league. But, when it comes down to being under pressure and in those type of situations in order to perform at a high level a lot of it is going to be mental.

Q: What do you like about Kai Forbath?

A: Kai had a really good workout. I followed him over the years and when he came out, I think he came out in 2012, he's always had a very smooth approach. He's under control. He may not have the strongest leg on kickoffs, but he's an effective kickoff guy as well. I thought because of his workout, because of his experience level I thought he was the best option for us. We all spoke, the general manager, then of course the head coach and I, and we all talked about it and we thought he was the best option for us.

Q: Do you guys plan to have Kai Forbath kickoff or will Jeff Locke get a look at that?

A: You know I thought about that, but I think the way Jeff's punting right now I don't want to kind of mess with his technique because that does take a different swing obviously. And Kai's a good enough kickoff guy that we should be able to handle him especially indoors. It should be fine.

Q: How big of an advantage is it that Kai Forbath has already worked with Jeff Locke and Kevin McDermott in college?

A: Yeah, I actually asked those guys yesterday. They actually never worked together. I'm sure they did in practice, but they never worked together in a game. They do have familiarity with each other because they do work together in the offseason. So, that's part of it. They know each other and to me that was just a bonus. He was the best one last week and that became a bonus for us.

Q: How much coaching do you do with Kai's mechanics considering that he's coming in with established mechanics already?

A: Like I tell all of the specialists that I coach no matter if I get them as a rookie or get them partway through their career in the spring, in the summer. I'm not going to change anything they do right off the bat. I probably need to see Kai Forbath kick "1,000 field goals before I can start messing with his technique. But, what I ask him is, Hey how can I help you?" Are there any reminders that a coach can help you with before you go out on a field goal, a PAT or a kickoff. So, we've already had that conversation and we've already had good discussions about that the last couple of days. 

Q: With his range while indoors if you've got a chance between 55 and 60 yards, do you just say run it out there?

A: Depending on the situation. Probably at the end of the game in order to win the game that way. Early in the game I wouldn't recommend that only because as you know if you miss that field goal, they get the ball at the 48 or the 50 or wherever you kicked it from. So, end of the game I'd feel comfortable kicking it from there. Just earlier in the game it depends on the score, the situation and that type of thing.

Q: On kickoff is the impact kind of lessened a bit now because of the new rules and you don't always want a guy kicking it all the way into the end zone?

A: Depends on our philosophy. You know our philosophy hasn't worked all the time this year unfortunately. We've covered some kicks really well and we've made a couple mistakes. So, hopefully going forward Kai (Forbath) can give us exactly what we want.   

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