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Transcript: Coordinators Addressed the Media Monday

Monday, August 27, 2018

Vikings Offensive Coordinator John DeFilippo

I was pleased to see us start faster, obviously, the other night. I was really pleased with the first offense – four plays, three drives over 12 plays, 90-yard drive. I thought we much better on third down. We've just got to finish those drives. You don't want to put it in the hands of your kicker, whether he makes those or not, you just want to finish those drives. We got to do a better job of finishing, which we will. We're looking forward to our last game and coming out against San Francisco.

Q: What do you think the issues were with not finishing drives?

A: We got into a couple 3rd-and-long situations. I would have loved to see Kirk go right down to the inside fade to Diggsy, right now. Sitting on the key we had a mental error on the play unfortunately on the outside that kind of threw off the timing of the play a little bit. We'll get better.

Q: Have you ever had a quarterback keep a list of plays he wish he had back?

A: On the sideline? No, I have not. It's good to hear that obviously he cares as much as he does. Things like that happen in the preseason because you're not in full game plan mode. You don't explain to the quarterbacks a lot of the time the purpose of the play, why we're running it, and the exact looks because you're not in game plan mode. We weren't in full game plan mode against Seattle the other night. We spent a little more time than we did the first two games but when you get into the regular season there is a purpose and a teaching point behind why you're running on every single play you have on your call sheet. I think those things have a tendency to get cleaned up as you go along here later on in the season.

Q: What do you like about what you've seen out of Kyle Sloter?

A: He's done a good job. I'll tell you he's improved greatly since he first got here or since I first got here. He's been here, obviously. I just think you see a guy that up until now hasn't had a lot of experience playing the quarterback position. So, we're very happy and Kevin Stefanski has done a great job with him and it's really nice to see him come in and give us a spark and complete footballs and run around and make plays and extend plays. I think that's a big part of his game. He did a really nice job the other night.

Q: Were you pleased with how Mike Boone took advantage of his opportunity with a couple running backs out?

A: Absolutely. Mike's done a great job since we've been here. We had a lot of guys down this spring. People forget we were down a couple running backs this spring and Mike and Latavius [Murray] handled the majority of the load during OTAs. Obviously, a lot of the load here during training camp as well in the preseason. I think Mike grew up pretty quick because he had all that experience and all those extra reps in OTAs and he's taken advantage of those.

Q: Do you think his background as a wide receiver helps in this offense?

A: There's no doubt. There's no doubt. I mean he has really good hands and our big thing on our offense is the more you can do. We like moving guys around to do certain things and the more jobs you can do, the more valuable you are, not only in our offense but to any offense in the NFL. Because obviously there is not a lot of guys on the team each week in terms of numbers. The more jobs you can do the more valuable you become.

Q: What have you learned in the last 24 hours about Brett Jones? Where do you see him fitting in?

A: I watched Brett a little bit on tape. I didn't know much about him until this trade happened. So, I went back and watched some of the Giants tape and he's obviously a guy that started a lot of football games and played well. We're just looking forward to him coming in and acclimating himself as quickly as possible and just beefing up that depth on the offensive line.

Q: Will he play Thursday?

A: I don't know. I don't know that. You'll have to talk to Coach Zim about that.

Q: How do you envision working him in at the start of the season?

A: He's going to be an interior guy. We'll see what he knows. There should be some carryover coming from the Giants with Coach [Pat] Shurmur, I would think. His learning curve will hopefully be a little bit quicker than somebody coming from another team that has no idea of kind of what we're trying to do offensively. It's going to be a little bit different; some of the protections are going to be a little bit different and the way we're calling things. From a run game standpoint I think that it's going to be very similar to what he was exposed to in New York. But we're going to, obviously, work him in to the interior both at center and at guard.

Q: How set is your wide receiver depth chart heading into the fourth preseason game?

A: I don't think it's set. I don't think anything is ever set until that final day. I think you're always in the evaluation process and I talked to our young guys about that actually yesterday in the offensive team meeting. This is an important game for a lot of people Thursday. It's an important game. Anytime you have a chance to put tape on of yourself in the National Football League, you want to put obviously the best tape you can put on. I don't care if you're going to be a starter on this team and you're playing a little bit on Thursday. I don't care if you're a guy that's trying to make the team. You've got to be careful what you put on tape because it's on tape for a long time, forever. I talked to those guys about that the other day. You never treat any game in the NFL as just a game. You go out and you try to win the game, first off. Then you go out and you do the best you can and put your best effort out there. This is an important game for a lot of our guys on Thursday.

Q: How challenging is it with that position group and all their injuries when it comes to evaluating?

A: Yes, that's a fair question. It's not easy and you just try and take the whole body of work since they've been here, as much as you can. Skillset wise; what do they bring to the table skillset wise when they're healthy? You try to say instead of "we're focusing on the lack of experience in the preseason games or whatever", you try to take their whole body of work and make those decisions. And both those guys that you mentioned [Stacy Coley and Brandon Zylstra] have competed their butts off when they have been in there.

Q: What kind of effect does it have on the starting quarterback when the offensive line lineups are still changing this late into preseason?

A: I mean obviously we'd love to have Pat [Elflein] in there, but we want Pat to come back 100 percent healthy. Not only that but 100 percent confident that he's going to in there and function the way we need him to and I know the way he wants to. There will be a little bit of a change there's no doubt when he goes in there, there will be a little bit of a change. It's just anything from the way he snaps the football. That's a quick acclimation period, especially when you have a guy like Kirk that's been in situations in his past where he's had to have rotating offensive lines. And I wasn't in the Washington building, so I don't have the exact specifics. I just know from what I know from him that he's been in some similar situations before. I know he'll be able to handle it just fine.

Q: When you've been through that before, how does it change your ability to handle it going forward?

A: You know what you do? You adjust on the fly the best you can and don't make a big deal of it because everyone's going through it. You don't make a big deal of it because if you make a big deal of it, it becomes a big problem. It's full speed ahead with whoever is in there we expect our guys, all the guys on this roster are NFL players and we expect them to play like that. Whenever you have an injury or whatever it's next man up. We've all been exposed to that before and it kind of is what it is. You just move forward.

Q: What's impressed you the most out of CJ Ham and the flexibility the fullback position gives in overloading the right side early in the first quarter?

A: CJ Ham is one of the most diligent football players I've ever coached. Not only is he smart, athletic, bright, he takes a lot of pride in his job and there's a reason why he's performing well. I kind of try and surprise him each day on the script putting him somewhere else and see if I can catch him without him preparing and I never do. He always comes up and asks, "Hey, how do you want this? How do you want this?" So, he is a guy that to me, when I talked about earlier the more you can do, he can do a lot of things and lot of things well. Not only obviously playing fullback, but from a team standpoint on our special teams. He's a guy we're continuing to watch and grow and have a roll in this offense. I've been very, very, very impressed with CJ.

Q: He had a role in getting you guys away from your own end zone last week..

A: Absolutely, you have guy that's another back with size and obviously we have Latavius [Murray]. But whenever you have more guys of different skillsets that's a good thing. He came out of the backfield as a single back and broke a tackle and that was a huge first-down for us at that point in the game. Keeping his balance and catching the football and making a guy miss that was an impressive play and that that was a huge play for us at that time. He's being doing that stuff. Somebody asked me other day if it's been surprising me that's he's played as well as he has and I said no. He's been doing that since we've been here. So, really pleased with CJ.

Q: What kind of role do you see yourself having in the final roster construction?

A: I'm the offensive coordinator and those decisions, I'm glad are made above my head and I'm going to coach whoever is on that final roster. They're going to be coached, coached hard, they're going to know what they're doing and we're going to put them in the best chance to have success.

Q: Do the coaches fight for extra spots?

A: Well, yes there's always dialogue. There's always dialogue between Rick [Spielman]'s group and Coach Zim and the assistants and that's one of the really cool things about the Vikings is how much open dialogue there is between the personnel department and the coaches. It's not like that everywhere in the NFL, especially some of the places I've been. That's really a good deal for us. The more you can communicate, the more you're on the same page.

Q: Given their limited playing time what is your comfort level with Mike Remmers and Rashod Hill on the right side?

A: If those guys hadn't had some experience in the past, obviously I'd be a little more concerned. I thought the other night, I thought you felt those guys in the game. It was great to have those guys back and you just feel that their presence at the line of scrimmage. We're really happy to see both those guys back and continuing to heal up and get better.

Q: What have you seen out of Kendall Wright?

A: Kendall's done nothing but everything we've asked him to do. He's done everything that we've asked him to do and at a high level. Kendall, I thought and I've told him this, so I'm not telling you anything that I haven't told him; I thought when he started out when he got here a little bit slow and I think he was trying to grasp everything, coming from Chicago and been in the same offense for a while. And then once he grasped what we were really trying to do I think over in training camp and the last few OTAs you really saw his game take off. I'm very, very pleased with Kendall. I think he is a really good inside receiver. He understand leverage. He understands how to get a DB back to straight-stem them. I've been very, very pleased with Kendall and he doesn't make mistakes. He's got very few, if any, mental errors. I'll tell you he's done a fabulous job at improving himself, no doubt.  

Q: Do you like to see a lot of blitzes during preseason to throw something at the offensive line and the backs?

A: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I think if you're up against a vanilla defense every day I do think during the season it can shock you if you open up against a team that does like to pressure a lot. The teams that we've played so far this preseason and every day in practice we're lucky enough to have plenty of blitz looks, and not only blitz looks but really, really difficult blitzes.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer

Good morning. Hope everybody is doing well. Everybody who saw the game Friday night knows we obviously have some work to do. Let me talk about the positives first. I thought our first group did a good job of covering punts, covering kicks. Did some good things. The young guys have been put on notice again this week. They have to show up on Thursday night because there are still some roster spots available. They are going to have to play better because we didn't cover. We gave up another long punt return. Thankfully it was called back on a good call, a good holding call. The kicker/punter situation is obviously a concern. Coach [Mike] Zimmer said it was a bad night and it was a bad night. We didn't punt well. I think we had one good punt out of five. We had one good kickoff out of three and we missed two field goals and made a PAT. Obviously unacceptable. The guys came back with a good attitude yesterday. We had a really good kicking/punting session, and snapping obviously with Kevin [McDermott]. They both did a great job. We did work indoors, we did work outdoors. We got a lot of good quality work in. Come back refocused and get ready to roll. What I've done is come back and showed some tape from last year to [Ryan] Quigley to see some of the directional punts that he was successful at and what makes him tick. He's not far off. He's very, very close. I think he's thinking a little bit too much. I think Daniel [Carlson] and his two misses probably tried a little bit too hard or tried to swing a little bit too hard. He doesn't need to do that because his leg strength is as advertised. I think that is where we are at right now.

Q: Is this as tough of a preseason as you've had?

A: Yeah, we really haven't covered very well. Typically, we've covered much better. I think part of that is the punting, part of that is the coverage. The young guys have done better in the past in the preseason. I'm sure I have to do a better job coaching. Absolutely that is part of it. Our guys have to step up and play better. I think it's a combination of the two things. We've done some different drills and different things and trying to work on the things we need work at. Devising drills to do that is pretty easy for me. That has been one of my strengths that we can do that. We can devise different drills to help our guys with different techniques. At the end of the day, we have to go out and play. They have to cut it loose and go have fun and be physical and play fast and see what happens.

Q: Have you learned anything about Daniel Carlson battling his first bout of adversity in the NFL this week?

A: Yeah, he is a pretty calm kid. We talked about that last week. I like his demeanor how I like his composure. He knew what he did on the first one and yet he came back and did it again on the second one. That was obviously a concern. That is something that good kickers in the National Football League don't miss two in a row. They don't. The good ones are going to miss one and they are going to straighten it out and come back and make the next ten. That is what a good NFL kicker does and that is what he has to figure out. I am going to help him in that regard. I didn't' get mad at him. I didn't scold him. I didn't get ticked off. I just say, "Hey, you have to come back and figure out what went wrong and learn from it and move on." I think that is what his attitude was yesterday. I know it was because he kicked the ball really well like he has been doing. I think Thursday night will be a good test for him. I think for him and Quigley and all of our guys, to them it is the Super Bowl. They have to go out and play hard. They have to play to the best of their ability and prepare themselves for Week 1 or they are going to be somewhere else. I am talking about the other special team's guys. They could be somewhere else or not in the NFL at all. They have to go out and play hard. I am going to put the onus on them that they have to play fast and physical, cut it loose and go have some fun.

Q: Are there some particular technique things you are working with Daniel Carlson and how is he coming along with those?

A: He is coming along really well. He is a very coachable young man. He's done a nice job of fixing some of the smaller things that he had issues with in terms of really he was really slow. His get off was very slow coming out of Auburn. That was my one major concern with him. He's fixed that totally. His kicks the other night weren't slow. The get off times were really good. They weren't too fast. His method, his whole process has really improved. That wasn't the issue the other night. I think he just wrapped his foot and tried to kick it too hard and pulled them both left.

Q: Is it more concerning Daniel Carlson missed the first two kicks after being named the starter rather than missing two in a row?

A: No. I know people have said that. I don't think so, Mark. I think in his mind, he was going to go and go out and perform at a high level no matter if there was competition or no competition. There's still always competition. We tell all of our guys they are competing against guys on the team. But if there are only one kicker, one punter, one snapper here, they are competing against everybody in the League that doesn't have a job. We've said that before so I don't think that was it at all. For me, it was disappointing for our team, for our fans. It was disappointing but I'm not really concerned or overly concerned. Thursday night is going to be big for him and he is going to have confidence. He has to swig his leg with confidence, kickoffs and field goals. He has to go do his job.

Q: What impact with the decision going for two will have on Daniel Carlson?

A: I don't know. Maybe we were just working on going for two. It's the preseason. I had not heard that [Coach Zimmer coming out and saying he wanted to send a message].

Q: What do you think of Chad Beebe as a punt returner?

A: He [Chad Beebe] did a good job. That is the other positive. Here we are with what, four minutes and 26 seconds left, give or take a second in the game. They punted to us and that young man [Michael Dickson] is a good punter. He has a big time leg and had two nice punts that landed inside the five that I thought we blocked up pretty well and had a chance to go in the end zone. He had a couple good bounces there for him but he outkicked his coverage and that worked to our advantage. Great job by Chad going to get that ball. That was a great set by him and he got outside of the wall. If the punter doesn't make a nice play, that would've been a touchdown. We had a nice line of blockers still rolling so it was well played by Chad and that whole punt return team, which were a lot of the young guys. I was very pleased about how we finished the game. Wasn't a great game for us across the board but I have to accentuate the positives along with correcting the negatives with these young guys.

Q: Is there any concern that both returners, Marcus Sherels and Mike Hughes, are both sidelined?

A: I'm not allowed to talk about injuries. I hope they are back for Week 1 and ready to roll.

Q: Where do you see Mike Hughes' development as a punt returner?

A: I wish he had a few more reps this preseason. That would've helped him along. I'm sure he is going to make a judgement error or two or do something not set it exactly how it needed set, etcetera. Because he hasn't had these reps but I think he will be fine. He has come a long way since the spring and he is only going to get better. Keep using that ability of his and let him go out and do his thing. We are going to have to block more consistently for all of our returners. We are going to have to cover more consistently across the board. We have to punt and kick more consistently. It's been a rough preseason and I know our fans expect better. I know our organization expects better and so do I. I think we are going to get there.

Q: How do you feel Chad Beebe fits in overall on special teams?

A: The thing that Chad can do is he can be a punt returner, back up kickoff returner. He can play gunner. He made a really nice play at gunner the other night on the shorter punt that came to his side. He came off the corners block and helped and made a play. I think he had an assist on that play. He can play on kickoff. He has no fear. He's fast, he's tough, he's smart. He understands the game. I like a lot of the things he's doing.

Q: Are you still tweaking your coverages with the new kickoff rules?

A: We will definitely will still tweak it prior to Week 1. A lot of the stuff you see in preseason is all basic stuff which you typically do every year in the preseason with your coverage units. We are going to do some different things to keep people off balance. That is going to be the fun part. Statistically, what we've seen is these higher, shorter kicks have gone in the favor of the kickoff team. People are getting tackled inside the 18, 20 yard line. As we continue to look at what other people are doing, what we're good at and what we're good at kicking off-wise, hopefully we continue to improve there and take advantage of the rules that will help us. Whether it's at home or away or whatever the case may be. Whatever returner we are facing or whatever that may be.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards

Preparing this week for our last preseason game, headed to Tennessee, a short week. Coming out of last game, just getting through that evaluation and looking forward to seeing some of our guys play this week versus Tennessee and the matchups that they have.

Q: How do you prepare for the fourth preseason game and trying to get a look at players who haven't seen much playing time?

A: I think that's the main thing. Again, we use the preseason strictly, pretty much, for evaluation of their skill set and what they add to us defensively, and for working on some of the things that we've allocated that we needed to work on. It's a short week, and a lot of young guys will get shots to get more reps this week, so we're excited about seeing them go out and play.

Q: What has stood out to you the most about George Iloka's addition to the team?

A: He came in and broke up a pass that ended being an interception for us last week. He's a true professional, you can see his work ethic, and he's very familiar with what we're doing systematically. Matchup wise, with the things that we ask our safeties to do and the different packages we're using him in, he's picked up on those things pretty quick. We're excited to have him and look forward to keep progressing.

Q: Could you see Iloka in a hybrid linebacker role if you decide to play with three safeties?

A: We're giving him some reps in that role, trying to do some of those things, because we know in our preparation going into the season and from our knowledge of what a lot of teams are doing with two tight end sets, opening them up and those kind of things. We have been working him in that role some, so we'll continue to work and keep using his skill set back at safety and underneath.

Q: How rare is it to have a player arrive on a new team and have the kind of expedited transition that Iloka is having?

A: That's a blessing. It's no different than when Terence [Newman] came in; you come in and you've been exposed to the system and you understand the calls, you understand where to get lined up so you're not having to think quite as much, not having to think about the verbiage of the different things from system to system that get called. He's come in and jumped right in. There are some things technically and fundamentally that we may do a little bit different from the time that he's been away from Coach Zimmer, but I think for the most part he's got a good grasp of what we're looking for individually from his position and of the different things we're asking him to do.

Q: What have you thought of Danielle Hunter coming off of the right edge during Everson Griffen's absence?

A: Danielle has done a great job throughout training camp and really this whole offseason of just coming in and going to work every day. Whether it's on the left side or the right side, he's really been productive and feels comfortable both ways. For us moving guys around for matchups, week in and week out, that's good for us and he's shown that he has no problem on either side. That's good for us as we progress down the road.

Q: What are the major differences that you see between Danielle rushing on the right and left sides?

A: I think just being comfortable with going from that side. The biggest thing is your footwork, especially taking on the run game, the foot that you got up and how you're coming off. I think that's primarily it, but Everson [Griffen] has played on both sides, Danielle has played on both sides, so that's good that we have the flexibility of being able to move those guys around during the course of the season.

Q: Would you like to move defensive linemen around during the season?

A: We'll have to see. Week to week, we kind of look at it. We did it some over the last couple of years, so it hasn't been a big deal for him [Hunter]. We'll see as we progress down the road.

Q: Is there anything that has stood out to you about Danielle's progress?

A: I really think he has made a big jump, feeling comfortable systematically as well as technique and fundamental wise of what we're asking him to do. He's not thinking nearly as much. You can really see his athleticism as we go through the preseason. He's really gotten off of the ball and effected the quarterback, getting him off of the spot, those kind of things, but he's also very good versus the run.

Q: Have you seen any drop off in Terence Newman's athleticism as he has aged the last few years? Can you talk about his knowledge of the game?

A: I think Terence is a big plus to us. Not only with the things that he does to get himself prepared, but the things that he does with these young guys, helping them get prepared, showing them how to be a true professional. He's been out there taking reps and looking good, so I don't think age has anything to do with it. He's a little different that way. He's a true professional who takes care of his body and prepares as well as anybody, so it's a blessing for us to have him.

Q: How have you seen Eric Wilson progress from last year to this year?

A: Eric really looks a lot more comfortable getting lined up and understanding the concepts of what we're trying to do, things that people are trying to do against us coverage wise, and I think that the thinking has really slowed down for him. When you see him line up, he's really flying around and making plays and understanding the adjustments and communication. All of those things have been a big plus for him throughout the offseason and in the training camp, and he's been able to take it to the games. He's done a pretty good job this whole training camp.

Q: Did you ever think you would coach a 40 year old defensive back?

A: I've done it once before. When I was in Washington I had Darrell Green, so I've done it once before. I had him and Bruce Smith, by the way, so I had both of those guys and the end of their careers.

Q: Are there any similarities with how they all prepare?

A: I don't like comparing players, but anytime you got a player that has been that productive for that long, they're really special. They're really special as far as being able to take care of their bodies. We try to explain that to young guys; the sooner you start, the more longevity on your career. Both of them have done a great job of that throughout their careers. Their knowledge of the game, they've just seen so many different things that offenses try and do. It's hard to surprise them on anything when you get into a game and all of a sudden the offense is doing something that they haven't done before.

Q: What changes about taking care of your body as an older player?

A: I think you see a change of guys paying more attention to their nutrition and the things that they put in their body, their recovery, how much sleep they're getting. I can remember when I first came into the league, it's really changed over the course of time. You can see guys starting at a younger age, and therefore it prolongs their careers. I can remember Junior Seau, I can remember guys that I've coached that have been older, that's the one thing that seems to be a common denominator; the attention that they pay to what they ate and the rest that they got. All of those things are indicative of how their careers progressed.

Q: What do you think has prompted more players to pay attention to those things early in their careers?

A: I think it's just education, I think it's the awareness. Like here, what we have facility wise and what we have right here available to us with our nutrition bar and upstairs in the cafeteria with what they're preparing, I think all of those things in conjunction with their awareness of it plays a big part in it. They're not just driving out to McDonald's or Burger King and eating, you know what I mean?

Q: What did you see from your run defense in the first half against Seattle?

A: I'll tell you what, they [Seattle] did a nice job schematically. They came in and ran the trap, and we didn't play it very good, we didn't execute it very good, and we didn't react to it very good. So once we got to the sideline, if you'll think back, after the second one that they ran we got off to the sideline and we finally got it addressed, and that really slowed it down the rest of the way. But they did a good job schematically of attacking that, and we've got react to it better and coach better for our guys to recognize it quicker and better. Once we did that I think it kind of settled down from there. That's been an emphasis for us, but it's hard when you go into the preseason and you're really not game planning against someone and they come out and all of a sudden run a play that we really haven't been working on. They really had to rely on their instinct to do it, and we just didn't react there early. But like I said, we got over it and we got it adjusted at halftime and it seemed to limit the yards after the carries in that situation.

Q: Was some of that due to Seattle knowing Sheldon Richardson's tendencies?

A: You never know. He was there, so that might have been a play that they put into them. We have two players that transitioned there, so it could be a combination of things. But the big thing is seeing our guys, because during the season it's going to be the same thing. There are things that are going to show up in game planning that you probably haven't prepared for that they've seen, and you have to adjust to it on the sidelines. So that was a good learning experience for us. I think it was a good learning experience for our players of being able to come to the sideline, look at the pictures, get it adjusted and then go back out and stop the play.

Q: Do you feel like Holton Hill has started to swim in his own head with all the information that he needs to take it?

A: I felt that last week was probably one of his better weeks. He got up and he pressed, and he's still working to perfect the press technique, but is a lot better getting up and challenging routes. We just look for him to continually show progress that way, because he's got the ability to stay on top of routes. He's got the ability to cover, but understanding the techniques and fundamentals and doing it consistently every day is a big thing for him right now. We just look for him to continue to progress.