Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
It’s good to get the vets out here. We had our conditioning test yesterday, and started out with a walk thru [today]. Getting ready to lift and meet in between practice and then get out here for practice. Excited about the way they came back in shape, and looking forward to a good year.
Q: You put three guys on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list and two guys on the non-football list, will any of the injures linger around?
A: Mike Hughes has a multi-ligament injury so we’re going to take that as we get going and we’ll see how he’s doing. He’s had a schedule, he’s doing great, so we’ll just have to see where it goes. Some will be short term, so we’ll just have to see where they all go.
Q: What happened to Tashawn Bower and Shamar Stephen?
A: [Tashawn] Bower tore his Achilles. Shamar [Stephen], basically nothing.
Q: What kind of opportunity presents itself the longer Shamar is out?
A: They will get a lot of reps. Shamar is not going to be out long, but they will get a lot of reps. All those guys, Jalyn [Holmes], Jaleel [Johnson], Hercules [Mata’afa], [Armon] Watts, they will get a bunch of reps here.
Q: How tough can it be to know how much to push someone and not wanting to back pedal?
A: You know everybody is different, Eric Sugarman is a terrific trainer, and you know we will get him out here when the time is right. Mike is doing great and he’s excited about getting back and we’ll just see where it goes, but Mike works really hard and Dr. Larson who did the surgery is excited about where he is at right now and he’s just not ready to practice yet.
Q: What kind of injury did Hughes have?
A: Honestly, I don’t know, multi-ligament is all I know. I’m not smart enough to know all those things. I know he had an ACL and then he had something else.
Q: How do you asses Dalvin going into his first, healthy, full season?
A: Well if the spring and the way he came back is any indication, I think he should be ready to go. We don’t anticipate any issues with him whatsoever.
Q: How much time will the offense take to get the new system down?
A: I think some of the things we are doing is way simpler for the offensive line, so I think that part is going to be pretty easy. There are some things, protection, that is going to be a little different that they have to learn, and not just them, the running backs as well. I think the things we are doing will be able to help those guys in protection. I don’t think it’s in our best interest to sit in the shot gun and drop back 35 to 40 times for us or anybody else. I think some things we are doing well with them.
Q: What are your thoughts on Holton Hill getting another four-game suspension?
A: I really don’t have much thoughts on it. Disappointed is not a good word for me.
Q: How about football-wise?
A: We don’t know if he’s even going to make the team. So, we will just see how that goes. We don’t know if any of these guys are going to make the team. We’re always looking for guys, so we will see what’s going on.
Q: If Bower tore his Achilles, how did he end on the Non-Football Injury list?
A: He was working out at home on his own. It was football, but the designation had to be NFL. We treated him the right way, we didn’t take money away from him. He’s a good kid, he’s been working real hard and he’s really improved throughout the offseason.
Q: Did you have a theme when addressing the team as a whole?
A: I did, but I’ll leave it at that.
Q: How much time do you spend on stuff like that?
A: They pay attention and they listen to what I’m saying. Part of that is going out and do the things that I’m asking them to do. Everybody says we want to win the division, we want to win the Super Bowl. I was trying to tell them what we have to do in order to do those things as opposed to some generic goal. As well as other things we need to do in order to reach all these different goals.
Q: Do you sense a national perception has changed from ‘Super Bowl or bust’? That seems to be gone now. Do you see that and use it to your advantage that there might not be a belief in this team nationally?
A: I hear it, but I don’t really try to use it to our advantage. Right now, we’re just trying to figure out how we can get better and win games and focus on that one particular game. Like today, focus on today’s practice and see if we can get better and work together as a team and do the things that are right that help you win football games. Perception is what it is, the only way you change perception is by proving it.
Q: A lot of your depth on the defensive line consists of late-round draft picks. Is that a testament to your staff’s ability to know those players and Andre Patterson’s ability to coach?
A: I think part of it is. I think it’s also a testament to the scouts and Rick [Spielman] and George Payton. Finding the guys that have the ability level that we’re looking for, those certain requirements, and then obviously when Andre [Patterson] gets them and Robert Rodriguez, when they get those guys, they do a great job with them. But also, these veteran guys that we have, Everson [Griffen] and [Linval Joseph] LJ. A lot of these guys come in here and think they know everything. We’re trying to do it a certain way.
Q: What was it about De’Angelo Henderson that interested you?
A: He was a guy that catches the ball well out of the backfield, good acceleration, quick feet. He’s got a stocky body. Short, but he’s got a stocky body. We felt like he would be a good fit for some of the things that we’re looking to do.
Q: Does he possess some of the same traits as Alexander Mattison?
A: Not necessarily. I think Alexander has got physicality to him. He always runs with his pads forward, he seems to always fall forward when he’s going down. He’s the get the extra tough yard kind of back. I don’t think they’re similar in that way, no.
Q: What’s your read on the offensive line’s personality?
A: It’s good, I like it. All the guys, even the backup guys. They get in that room and they’re pretty secluded with the things they do. I think Rick Dennison does a great job with them. I’m extremely happy with the coaching staff and where it is. I love being able to talk to [Gary] Kubiak all the time. Those things are all good. As far as going back to the offensive line, they all have a little bit different personality but Riley Reiff, and [Garrett] Bradbury, and [Brian] O’Neill, and [Pat] Elflein and [Josh] Kline, they’re all battlers and I think that’s important at that position. We’ve got some guys behind them, too, that are good battlers as well. A lot of that is being able to play together and toughness and us helping them as coaches.
Q: Can Tashawn Bower play this season?
A: He could play, we will just have to wait and see.