Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
OK, we moved up practice about an hour to give the fans an opportunity to still be able to watch practice. It’s supposed to rain quite a bit today, so we will just see how it unfolds, but we had to come in this morning because of the lightning. Otherwise, they would have got wet today at the walk thru.
Q: You talked about on offense how you want to see more play-action, but on defensive perspective, if teams are going to use more play-action because it’s statistically better, how do you think defenses will adjust this year?
A: Well you got to really work on it. We try to spend a lot of time defensively working on all the play-action stuff. And obviously, some teams are better than others with run fakes and the way the line comes off. It’s just another thing that you have to work on.
Q: What have been your early impressions of Jordan Taylor in the first few days of camp?
A: I think he’s done good. All of these guys are kind of sorting themselves out at the receiver position a little bit. It’s still early to say, ‘this guy is ahead of that guy’, or something.
Q: Is his size his biggest asset, especially in a receiver group that doesn’t have a ton of size?
A: I think it’s good that he has the size. For receivers, it’s still catching the ball, and running the routes to the right depth, and being in the right place and lining up right. Some of our younger guys are struggling with that right now. So, that’s part of it, knowing what to do and how to do it, and being able to catch the ball and then being able to use your physical attributes.
Q: How does Josh Kline look settling in at that right guard?
A: I think he’s done well. He’s a battler, he’s been in some of the system before and hasn’t had any mental errors to my knowledge. So, I think he’s doing well.
Q: You have guys with so many different skills sets at that receiver position. How do you go about creating competition?
A: You have to look at each player individually. Like, this guy is a speed guy so he can take the top off the defense, this guy is a more of a slot guy so he can work the middle of the field, this guy is more of a guy that can go inside or outside and then we just have to figure out which one of the skill sets we like the best. If they don’t know what to do, if they don’t know where to lineup, if they’re running the wrong route or moving their feet when the ball is snapped, we’ll keep looking for somebody else. They have not been precise enough in these first couple days, these young receivers. They need to get their rear-end in gear.
Q: What is Chad Beebe’s best attribute as a possession receiver?
A: I wouldn’t call him a possession receiver. I would call him a receiver that, when he runs his routes, he never slows down. Most players, when they’re running a route they get to the top of the route, they slow down to make a break and he doesn’t have to do that; he never changes his stride length. His issue has been his health, quite honestly. He needs to stay healthy and prove that he can stay healthy.
Q: With the number of injuries at defensive tackle, what are you looking for from some of those young guys to stand out now that they have a bigger opportunity?
A: The biggest thing is getting the pads on today. That part will start showing itself a little bit. They’re not just playing plays in shorts. I’m interested to see what Hercules [Mata’afa] can do in this practice today. [Armon] Watts, I’m curious to see what he can do. I have a pretty good idea on Jaleel Johnson. CC [Curtis Cothran], I think I have a decent idea on him, I think he has improved, so we will just see how it gets going.
Q: With Watts specifically, because he only played one year full of college ball, does he need more technical refinement than most or is he kind of a blank slate?
A: They all need technical refinement. He’s done a pretty good job with his technique. We play our three-technique and our nose tackle different techniques. So, when they’re moving from one spot to the other, they have to be able to adjust to whatever position that they’re playing. I like him, so we will just have to see how he does today.
Q: How do you guys balance the strength training in the direction that the team provides versus all the guys that have personal trainers and what they do in the off season? How does all of that coordinate?
A: It is hard with the way CBA rules are now and guys being away and having their own gurus to do what they want to do. Obviously, we prefer to have them here and doing the things, but Mark Uyeyama does a great job with them. He communicates with their guys there all the time and talks about maybe the deficiencies in the strength or body parts where he needs to get extra work in. Some of the guys are here all the time, and they come in and work in the weight room in the off-season.
Q: Do you get more freedom with outside training when you become a veteran?
A: Most of these guys have body movement, not so much the lifting part, but the body movement, this guy wants to go to this acupuncturist or this guy wants to go to this massage therapist and so on and so forth. In the off-season they do a lot of that and in their spare time. They have to be very careful of doing too much, like this time of year and throughout the season on Tuesdays they do a lot of stuff where they are working on their bodies but they have to be very careful that they don’t over do it. We have and that, guys think they need to have 15 modalities going on here during the week and it really hurts them more than helps them.
Q: When those guys go away for five weeks between mini camp and training camp or even in the off season, are there general guidelines that you give them?
A: Yeah, we give them a workout schedule of what they are supposed to do. At the beginning it is slower and as we get closer to OTA’s and things like that, in the off season come back to camp, it gets a little more ramped up. We are in communication with the players, Mark [Uyeyama] is, and also with the trainers, whoever their trainers are.
Q: What are you looking for from the offensive line now that pads are finally going to be?
A: I think the biggest thing is the pad level that they are coming out in, now that they have pads on. That on both sides of the ball we are not raising up out of our stance. Being able to accelerate into the block and being able to stay together on the double teams, things like that you work on, but it is a different deal when you get the pads on and you’re going against somebody with pads on. Those things more so than anything. We have one on one pass rush today, but it is probably not going to look very good because we haven’t done it since last season and that is going to take a little while. The more we can work our way into that, getting the pass rush stuff that will help us as well.
Q: What are your thoughts on possibly signing a free agent cornerback?
A: That is really up to Rick [Spielman] and what he decides. We are always looking for players, it doesn’t matter what position it is. We’ll just keep pounding the pavement.
Q: What did you see out of Craig James last year around this time that made you want to bring him back last year and then keep him around now?
A: Well he is typically a pretty smart kid, number one, he has good suddenness in his breaks, and he did a good job while he was here.