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Transcript: Edwards, Stefanski and Maalouf Addressed the Media on Thursday

Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards

Just finished up the walk-thru, glad to be home this week against Oakland. The guys had a good practice yesterday, and looking forward to getting better today.

Q: How do you think you guys bounced back from the first quarter in Green Bay?

A: I think it was a combination of a lot of different things. I think guys settled in to playing the techniques and the things that we were looking at. They came out and like you said, they got off to a good start in the first three drives. Then guys just sort of settled down and started playing what we’re accustomed to playing.

Q: When they get off to a start like that, is it a matter of simplifying things or throwing out some of the things that you had planned on doing?

A: It can be a combination of both. They can show a lot of the different things in the first 15 (plays), and those kind of things can get you off balance. So it’s a matter of us really locking in to what it is that we’re trying to do and make sure that we don’t beat ourselves and focus on the fundamentals and techniques that we’re trying to get done.

Q: What did you think of Eric Wilson’s performance?

A: Even last year, you look back to last year, Eric had to step in and play different positions on the second level at linebacker, and it’s really a credit to him, his attention to detail, how smart he is to be able to play multiple positions in the different packages that we have. We’ve come to realize that he’s that type of player and he’s shown the ability to be able to handle those things.

Q: What about Eric Wilson’s versatility, to be in that base and stop the run but also cover slot receivers?

A: That’s critical, especially with all of the motions and shifts that we’re getting, especially this week agaist Oakland with the matchups of the different personnel groupings and those kind of things. It’s good when you have that versatility as a linebacker.

Q: What have you seen from Mike Hughes in practice?

A: He’s been practicing, just as he has throughout. He’s moving around good, so it’ll be interesting to see how he progresses throughout the course of the week.

Q: What sort of things does Derek Carr do best?

A: I’ll tell you what, he really gets rid of the ball pretty quick. He’s got a strong arm, can make all the deep throws. His decision making is right on par. He’s getting the ball out quick, he understands what different things they’re showing him defensively. I think those all are credits to his preparation and his skill set of what he’s able to go out and accomplish. And being mobile in the pocket, he’s been able to move around and make some throws down the field. He hadn’t been a big scrambler, but he has shown the ability that he will pull it down and run. All those are key factors for us going into this game.

Q: What have you seen from Josh Jacobs and how he stresses defenses?

A: Yes, I mean there is no question about it. You’ve got to line up and be on your P’s and Q’s and understand he’s coming to compete each and every down. We’ve got to do a good job of rallying, keeping our leverage and making sure that gaps are sound, all those kind of things, and get to the football.

Vikings Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski

Good morning. We’re well on our way in our preparation for Oakland. A really good football team coming in here. A scheme that we’re somewhat familiar with, but has a bunch of good players across the board, so we’re ready to roll. Briefly on last week, disappointed there in the outcome. Our defense did a heck of a job keeping us in that game. Wish we could have come out of there with a W, but we’ve learned from that and we’re moving on and we’re trying to get a W this week.

Q: Looking back at the play call that led to the interception in the end zone, would you call the same thing again in the same situation?

A: Ultimately the result wasn’t what we wanted, so certainly when we look back you say, “Man, I wish I would have run it there.” But at the same time I’m trying to be critical of every play call, from the first to the last, and try to learn some lessons from that game and apply them moving forward. To say we’re always going to do one thing in any situation I don’t think is fair, but again, really tried to learn some lessons from each one of those plays from Sunday.

Q: What are your thoughts on the running game through two weeks?

A: I think the players are doing a great job. I think they’re embracing some of the things that they’re being taught. I think the scheme has been sound, and then Dalvin (Cook) and Alexander (Mattison) have done a really nice job. I think it’s a nice combination of the guys executing the plan. I give Rick Dennison a ton of credit, Rick does and outstanding job coordinating that run game and putting a plan together, and then our charge is to do it this week again.

Q: Did you see the Packers not honoring run fake in the play action as much as other teams may. What does that open up in the run game?

A: Going back to that scheme, their edge setters were so wide, and that was what they decided to do in that ball game and maybe moving forward. We get to play them again, so it’s something that we take into account, but it certainly opened up some cut back running lanes on Sunday.

Q: How has Garrett Bradbury done in his first two games?

A: I think the first two ballgames for any young center, any young player, you’re going to have some plays that you want back, but we can point out a few plays where again, he’s working on his technique, but there’s other plays where he doesn’t look like a rookie. He’s getting up to the second level, his movement skills are outstanding. And then running that huddle, getting us in and out of the right protection calls. I’ve been really pleased with were Garrett is, and certainly there is room for growth. That’s why he’s working really hard out here with Rico (Rick Dennison) and Andrew Janocko.

Q: How important will it be to involve the tight ends in the passing game going forward?

A: I want everybody to be involved in the pass game. I think we have good players at every position. Certainly at the tight end position it’s our goal to get those guys involved. I think this ball game maybe plays out differently than the previous one, or maybe it doesn’t. I think we have to go in with a plan of attack, and then the ball goes where the defense dictates it should go.

Q: When there are similarities between what Coach Zimmer runs and what Paul Guenther runs in Oakland. Do the differences in the schemes mostly come from the players?

A: I would say the scheme is obviously similar. Coach Guenther has been away from Coach Zim now for six years, so he’s been on his own doing his thing and I’m sure it’s evolved from what they were doing in Cincinnati. There are some subtle differences in each area of the defense, along the front, the linebackers, and the safeties. There are a few things that look a little bit different than what we have seen in the spring and the summer. We just have to be aware of those.

Q: How did you diagnose why Oakland gave up so many big passing plays against Kansas City?

A: I got a healthy respect for Oakland’s pass defense. I think they have really good players, I think the scheme is sound. I know Kansas City got some plays out there, but watching the tape there were some unique plays made by that quarterback (Patrick Mahomes), so I think we’ll get a very stingy pass defense on Sunday.

Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Marwan Maalouf

Just getting ready for the opponent, the Raiders. They have a really good special teams unit. A lot of respect for their special teams coordinator (Rich Bisaccia). He’s been doing it for a long time and they’ll get them ready. We’ve got to get our guys ready and match their intensity and everything, situationally be sound with the things that we do based on what they’re going to do.

Q: Dan Bailey used to play under Rich Bisaccia. Can you learn anything about Rich from Dan?

A: Sure. Anytime that somebody has worked or played under somebody, kind of gives you a closer look at what they’ve done in the past. Rich (Bisaccia) has actually done a really good job of changing things up as far as where he’s been because he’s been a lot of different places. He takes different things from different places and all of a sudden he’s got a little bit of a different product now. This is his second year, I think, with the Raiders. They’ve done a lot of good things on film and that’s what we have to be ready for, but it’s good to have Dan (Bailey) as a resource.

Q: What stands out to you about the Raiders’ special teams unit overall?

A: They’re very physical. They play with a great level of intensity and that’s what we have to match. We have to match their intensity and their physicality. They have a good mix of speed and size. They’ve got a young group of specialists, which is pretty talented. We have to play against those guys.

Q: What do you see when you look at Daniel Carlson in film?

A: Pretty much what I say when he was coming out in college last year. We ended up drafting Jason Sanders at Miami. We liked Jason, but he’s a talented guy. All the kickers, I feel like in this league, are pretty talented, but does a nice job. He’s obviously getting better, (it’s) his second year.

Q: How do Dan Bailey’s and Britton Colquitt’s personalities mesh?

A: I think it’s a good mix of personality. Britton (Colquitt) definitely likes to keep things loose and fun and I like that. I’m kind of used to that. I like laughing at practice and meetings. Dan’s (Bailey) little bit more serious, or maybe not serious, but just a little calmer and I think that plays well in our room and the special teams room too. I think that’s a good mix. I think it’s important. He lightens the mood up a little bit which is good.

Q: How did Dan Bailey handle the miss in Green Bay?

A: He was really good about that. It was just a quick fix, just over rotated a little bit. He’s gotten to the point now where you’ve got to have a little bit of a DB mentality, just go to the next play. He was really good and I was pleased with his mindset after that.

Q: Is maintaining and trusting what you know a key for a veteran kicker?

A: Absolutely. Somebody who’s done it a high level for so long, there’s nothing to really change. I think sometimes we get so siked up and get so excited as a result, could be a bad result after that. Just calming him down really was the biggest thing. He’s a good pro.

Q: On the blocked extra point, did the ball come out low or was it a breakdown in protection?

A: The way I described it to the guys isn’t the way I could say it in pubic, but it was a perfect storm if that makes sense. Little bit of technique on our blocking, the time was a little bit slow, not very slow, but again, all the wrong things that could happen, happened at that moment and plus I don’t like kicking 48-yard extra points. That makes a difference. That’s not an easy kick, could be a different trajectory, but his balls just naturally, the trajectory of those are really high anyways. That wasn’t an issue.

Q: What have you thought of Britton Colquitt’s punting?

A: I thought he’s been pretty good. Obviously, I think he would tell you that there’s a couple he would like back. That’s probably the perfectionist side of him. He really wants to give our team good field position. I’ve been pleased with everything he’s done so far. I’ve been pleased in our coverage as well. I think our gunners are starting to play a little bit better every week, starting to improve. We’ve got a variety of different guys that can help us out there so getting all those guys reps, some of them have never done it before, so for them to keep improving every week is important as well in coverage.

Q: Did Kris Boyd learn any lessons from the Green Bay game?

A: Yeah, absolutely. He’s a really good guy as far as young, energetic, has a really good athletic skill set and the biggest thing for him is just learning. He’s a rookie and his intensity sometimes overtakes everything so we just have to calm him down a little bit and he’ll be fine.

Q: What are your impressions of Chad Beebe as a returner after two games?

A: I think we’d love to give him more opportunities. I think he’s handled it very well. It was unfortunate he muffed the one in the game, obviously, if he could take it back he would. I’ve been pleased with what he’s done and his professionalism back there and his decision-making, I think, is very important.

Q: What are your impressions of Eric Wilson as a special teams player?

A: He’s been really good, very smart guy, very situationally sound, too. (He) makes the proper adjustments in the game, helps coach up the other guys, get them lined up as well. I think the other guys do a great job of getting lined up themselves, but he’s been a really good core player for us, somebody who’s contributed on every phase. I think the best thing about him is he’s raising the level of other guys next to him, which is important. I think Kentrell (Brothers) is playing better. Ben (Gedeon), before he got hurt, was playing at a good level, too. I think that’s important.

Q: If Eric Wilson starts at linebacker, will that alter how much he plays on special teams?

A: I think we’re going to have to wait and see. I think it’s just going to depend on what phase. It’s going to be hard taking him off the phases to be honest with you, because I think he enjoys it. We’re just going to have to wait and see where the other guys fall at the end of the week.

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