*Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur *
Q: How did Teddy Bridgewater look to you yesterday?
A: Teddy did a good job. He is out there getting a couple of reps in all the periods and we will try to have him do more and more. Just trying to get him up to speed. He hasn't been on the field in a while, but he looks good.
Q: Mike Zimmer said yesterday about wanting to get Teddy Bridgewater as time goes on into more uncontrolled environments. What is the key to easing a guy into that, that hasn't been in a situation like that in 14 months?
A: You have to do that. Certainly, the drill work. Anytime you are just doing drill work one-on-one, it's a very controlled setting. When you go out there and you're playing 11-on-11, it's uncontrolled. There's blockers, you have to move. It's very important and you just need to do it. It's like time on task. We'll just try to get him as many as we can and keep bringing him along, much like we've been doing since the injury.
Q: Mike Zimmer said the key issue with movement is the pass rush. How was he doing?
A: He moved around fine. But nobody hit him. I think with Teddy, it's baby steps. A little bit of a time. We try to amp it up a little bit each day as we go.
Q: When you were watching Teddy last preseason, before you were the offensive coordinator, what were your impressions of him as a starting quarterback?
A: The thing about Teddy is he has a very live arm. He moves well. He had very good command of our offense at the time. Along the way here, he has also kept up with everything. He's been in every meeting. He's been involved with everything we're doing behind the scenes. He is up to speed with that. He was a good decision maker, early in the down as well as late in the down. He is a guy because of his lower body, can extend a play and make a play after things tend to break down a little bit. Probably all of the things that everybody knows about him. I've obviously got a short exposure with Teddy, but also very impressed with his command of things. I felt like watching him that Teddy was a winner.
Q: How is Stefon Diggs progressing?
A: He is working hard. I'll defer to Coach Zimmer and Eric Sugarman with that. But he's progressing, coming back as fast as he can.
Q: If Stefon Diggs can't go again this week, the way that Laquon Treadwell played last week and his patience, how do you envision him being a part of the game plan?
A: He'll be involved like all of the other guys. We have a receiver corps. I know you've heard me say it before but it takes a village. I think it's important for our offense that we spread the ball around. At the end of the day if six, seven, eight, maybe nine guys touch the ball, that's a good thing. What's important for Laquon is important for all the other receivers. Do your job, run your routes the right way, and when you pop open and we're looking at you to make the catches. That is going to be the challenge for all of them. I think we have a good, unselfish crew of receivers that they are going to do what they have to do to and when their number is called, be ready to make a play. They really have to be prepared. They have to be focused. On every snap when they're on the field, expect to make a play. Then when it comes your way, you'll do a good thing.
Q: Is there anything with Michael Floyd you are concerned with about a setback from the suspension and now the injury?
A: No. I'm not concerned. Injuries are a part of the business. They're all professionals. Unless you get put on IR, the challenge is then to get healthy again and get back as quickly as possible. There's no reason to focus on it. We, like every team, we've had injuries. I think we just deal with it and move on. If you focus on it too much, then you let it stall you out. Every player we put on the field we trust to play like a pro and make plays. The next guy up has to go and we have great trust that they're going to do a good job.
Q: What have you seen from Case Keenum that made it seemingly so easy for the locker room to trust him when he had to step in?
A: I think the proof is in the pudding with Case. He has come in and helped us win three ball games. Whether you thought of him as a second or third quarterback, that is the reality of it. Along the way, he's been pretty emotional about his preparation and helping us win football games. Over time, because you see it happen, you develop more and more trust that it is going to happen again. I think that is credit to him. Super pleased with what he's been doing. Very competitive guy. The thing I like about Case is along the way, within a game or in a practice, something or a mistake may occur. Case will readily say "Hey, that's on me", and quickly find a solution, make the correction and move on fast. I really appreciate that in his ability to lead and move on. Because he's willing to do that, I think the players around him realize that "Hey, here's a guy that's trying to do the best he can and we need to do the same.
Q: Have you seen some similarities between Teddy Bridgewater and Case Keenum?
A: In some ways. In some ways, I think they both can extend the play with their legs. I think that is an important quality for a quarterback. You've seen in the last two ball games where really what ended up being scrambles, were two of our biggest plays of our game. That's huge. That's huge. Typically, if you're going to drive the ball on offense. If you're going to take the ball and go 70 or 80 yards and score. Somewhere in that drive, the quarterback is going to have to do something with his feet. So move in the pocket to make the throw. If he has to escape the pocket, either make a run or make a good decision and throw the ball away, which is using your feet the right way. He's been able to do that and I think that's helped us.
Q: Does that ease what you're forced to do with your practices in terms of putting Teddy Bridgewater in for a couple plays, changing your approach not knowing who the starting quarterback will be?
A: Again, I've said it along the way. When we're talking about Sam [Bradford], Teddy, Case, Kyle [Sloter], whoever is in there, we have a system that we're developing as we go. It's got a heartbeat and it just keeps morphing, based on who was in there. It changes a little bit when the receivers go in that are different. We have a system. We lay it over the team that we are playing. Then we try to use the things that we feel that are going to be best against the opponent we are playing. Then try to utilize the strengths of the quarterback that's in there. I'm trying to make it sound simple. It's really not simple, but it's something that we do constantly.
*Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards *
In preparation for Baltimore this week. It's good to be home and take advantage of the crowd noise and those kind of things. It's really been a benefit for us defensively. We're excited about playing this team. They really have a good quarterback, have a good running game. We're really going to have to do a great job executing as we're planning this week and practicing and preparation for the game.
Q: What is it about the combination of Linval Joseph and the edge rushers that makes the run defense so good?
A: I thinks it's a combination of everything. I think everybody has bought in to the fundamentals and the techniques of each call. Even to our corners. They've come up and done a good job tackling out on the perimeter. Our guys up front really do a good job of getting separation off blocks and coming off making plays. Linebackers getting downhill, filling. It's a culmination of all three levels of the defense doing their job and doing it with the tempo and a mindset that we want to play with.
Q: What does Linval Joseph do in one-on-one matchups that makes him so good?
A: Well, there were a couple plays last week that are very indicative of his ability in there. He draws attention because anytime they try to single block him and come off on that 'backer, he usually ends up getting off the block and making a play. That's the big thing about it. A lot of times he requires two guys inside, which allows our linebackers to come down hill and player freer. And I think that's a big credit to him because he's got great block awareness, great contact balance, and you know his motor runs 100 miles an hour. He's definitely drawing attention and a lot of double teams inside on the run for us.
Q: How much does Harrison Smith's success as a blitzer come from what he does before the snap?
A: Harrison does an excellent job. Number one, he understands what we're doing schematically. Being able to show up, play back deep in the field. He's a real a pro. He really trusts his eyes and his vision and decision making. And I think he does a good job disguising and doing some of those things off the weak side.
Q: How do you feel Emmanuel Lamur did in his 38 snaps last week?
A: He did a good job. He's been in this defense awhile so he understands the concepts and the different things that we're trying to do. That's why he's here. We know he's able to step in there and play with a short week of practice or whatever, not getting all the reps and those kinds of things. It's always the next man up mentality with us and he's the next guy up and he went in and did a good job.
Q: Is Tom Johnson showing you things that you might not have seen before?
A: He's really done a good job the last couple of years against the run. He's come in, even though he's a smaller guy inside, his block awareness and contact balance has been a lot better. I think he understands what's expected out of the three-technique within our scheme. Does a good job of the technique and fundamentals each week. Coach Patterson's done a good job with his alignment and those kind of things and his block awareness and his contact balance. He's really done a nice for us this year.
Q: What do you think has allowed Mike Wallace to have so much success with Joe Flacco?
A: Mike's always been a speed guy and Joe can really throw the ball. I think those two have connected on some big plays, which is something we definitely have to pay attention to this week. Joe, you can't say enough good things about him. He can make all the throws, got excellent arm strength, good awareness of what's going on in coverage. It'll be a tough matchup for us this week. Wallace was here. I was with him in Miami before. You know about his route running and his ability to get deep. We're going to a good job technique and fundamental wise out there at corner when he's out there on the runway.
Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer
Q: Would you say that Balitmore is the best special teams unit you'll face this season?
A: Possibly, they're very, very good. I don't want to compare any of the teams that we play because the teams we've played have been very good as well. The thing that makes Baltimore different is their head coach is a former special teams coordinator and he did a great job when he was in Philly. Their special teams coordinator has been doing this a long time and he's an outstanding coach and a great teacher. They have arguably one of the better kickers in the league and one of the better punters in the league. Both of their returners showed up last week and they're both very talented young men. They have their core special teams players that play hard every play. It's going to be a great challenge for us but I'm really excited. Our guys are excited. We're going to have a good gameplan, we have a good gameplan. We just have to go out and play our game and play hard and play fast. Finish plays, play faster and longer than them and get after them. I'm looking forward to the challenge.
Q: Is there a specific phase you're most interested in seeing?
A: Considering they returned two touchdowns last week, kickoff and punt. That'll be crucial for us. I'd like to get our punt return game going. I think we left some yards on the field last week against Green Bay. Kickoff return, we're still not anywhere near where we've been in the past. So, we've got to continue to work on that. These guys aren't going to make it any easier either. Their punter does a great job. He can spray the ball all over the field. Their kicker can kick any type of kick that he wants. He can kick it high and short, he can kick it out of the endzone, whatever he wants to do. The challenge is there. Like I said, we're looking forward to it.
Q: What did you think of Stacy Coley?
A: The return that he had, he needed to keep that outside and to the left. They did exactly what we thought they would do on coverage. We thought the yards were there. I don't think he panicked, it was a young mistake and went inside where he could've gone outside. Hopefully he'll learn from that and we'll get better because of it.
Q: How do you go about filling the special teams units when the roster gets shaken up?
A: The great thing about our team and our roster is we have a lot of guys that are willing to play special teams. There are guys that are starters on offense and defense now that have played a lot of special teams in the past or there are guys that understand the importance of it. I think our whole locker room understands the importance of how important special teams is. Coach Zimmer has allowed me to use whoever we need to use. Obviously, I'm not going to overuse the starters, offense or defensive starters. But, he's going to allow me to use the guys that when we feel like we need them to be successful, he allows me to use them. Which is huge for a special teams coordinator to have the support from the head coach, that's huge.
Q: Was the 53-yard field goal a confidence booster for Kai Forbath?
A: He's been confident. I don't think he's ever lacked confidence. I think he's disappointed when he doesn't do well. He's a guy that really responds well to adversity. I was proud of him, helped me with my confidence in him. Anytime you make a big kick like that, all five kicks in the game, all three kicks in the second half were obviously very, very huge for our football team. So, it was a big play for us.
Q: Do you ever base going for a two-point conversion on the kicker or just the state of the game?
A: I think that's more of a head coaches strategy. You hope that you don't get to the point that your kicker is struggling that much that you have to go for two points. That means you need to change out your kicker, in my opinion. You ought to be able to make extra points. I know we've missed a few in the past couple years. Hopefully, we're beyond that. At the end of the day, it's a 33-yard field goal and there are no gimmes in this league. I don't like it when announcers or even media types say a 28-yarder is a gimme. I don't think there's ever a gimme. Not with a snap, a hold, and the kick involved. Usually, obviously our stadium, there's no weather involved. Then you've got a field goal block team, Baltimore has got a phenomenal field goal block team. They've got the young corner coming off the edge, he's excellent. So, you've got to do a great job of protection. So, there's a lot of different factors going on. Anytime that you're lining up for a 33-yarder, you expect to make it.
Q: What do you remember about that crazy finish in 2013?
A: I remember we lost and it broke my heart. That's a game we should've won. We didn't do enough, we did some good things, we didn't do enough to win. I went back and watched it on Monday, that got me ticked off for the rest of the week. And no, I haven't really slept. So, I'm a little ornery right now. We'll get after them, we're looking forward to it. We should've helped our team win that game and we should've won that game and special teams didn't do enough to help. Anytime you lose a game, even though its four years ago, you kinda look back and say, 'You know, what if?' We've got to be better prepared this time around. Like I said, we've got to win the special teams battle to help our team to win this game.
Q: Did you watch that game to see how they approached your strategy?
A: Several reasons, I guess. One of which is to see, because the same coach is there, to see how they approached it. Obviously, it was a crazy snowy game, so different weather conditions this weekend, obviously. How they approached us, how we approached them. But, then of course, I wanted to get a little fired up for the week. It worked, it worked, I'm ready to roll.