Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Getting ready for the Raiders, I think they’re a much improved football team. Offensively they do a lot of checking and shifting and motioning at the line of scrimmage, so we’re going to need our crowd very loud to help us there. Defensively I think they’re much better, they’ve improved with a lot of the talent that they’ve brought in, so it should be a heck of a contest. We’re looking forward to it.
Q: How familiar does that defense look with Paul Guenther running it?
A: Familiar, yeah. We were together for five or six years. He knows mine and I know his.
Q: What insight if any can Jon Gruden glean from team he covered as a media member?
A: Honestly I don’t know. When you’re talking to him about those kind of things, you’re talking to him about that game. He studies our tape, obviously, but we’ve coached against each other several times, so he knows things.
Q: In the year since Everson Griffen stepped away from the team, how far has he come both on and off the field?
A: 100 percent. He’s been a good leader, a very, very hard worker. Very much a team oriented player. He had some great effort plays last week, so 100 percent.
Q: Was that performance in Green Bay pretty much vintage Everson?
A: There was a lot of good plays that he had in that game. As a matter of fact, I showed them to the team this morning.
Q: What’s the key for pass rushers to successfully get past the 30-threshold and produce as Everson Griffen has at age 31?
A: I think part of it is each individual, and you’re looking at these guys all as kind of what you see with your own eyes through training camp and OTAs, and where they’re at there. We’ve always thought about spelling not just him, but all of our guys a little bit more, but when the game is on the line they’re going to be out there, because that’s what they do. But pertaining to him specifically, Everson, his game starts with violence. He’s not going to lose that probably ever. For him to be able to be violent, accelerating off the line of scrimmage, attacking the offensive tackle, and then working his combination moves off of that, quite honestly, a lot of these guys get better with age because they perfect their techniques more and more.
Q: So they get more violent with age?
A: No, I didn’t say they get more violent, but I said they don’t lose the violence that they have.
Q: What are some of the things you’re emphasizing with Kirk Cousins this week?
A: Kirk had an up and down game last week. He’s going to be fine. We have the utmost confidence in him. He’s in a good place where he’s going to play good this week and continue to play good for the rest of the year.
Q: Anthony Harris talked about the 24-hour rule on Monday, win or lose. How important is it to move on and not let a loss linger?
A: Well it’s always important, and it’s either way, whether you win or lose. It’s a long season, there’s 14 more games left. What we do in the next 14 games will determine what we do, whether it’s myself or Kirk or the defense or the receivers, whatever it is. It’s a week-to-week proposition, you try and overcome and you get back to work on the next week. That’s what we’re going to do.
Q: Would you like to see the tight ends a little more involved? How would you like to get them more involved?
A: Again, every week is different based on the coverages that they’re getting. They may have some more opportunities this week based on some of the things that they do defensively, but again, it just depends on the defense that the team is playing. I’d like to have everybody involved, but at the end of the day it’s about how can we get the ball into the end zone. That’s about the only thing that matters to me.
Q: When Dalvin Cook is in a rhythm like he has been, is it difficult to maybe spell him a little bit and throw Alexander Mattison in or figure out when the right time to do that is?
A: We have a plan going into each week kind of like with Everson (Griffen). We’re going to try to spell him at times where we feel like these are some good plays for Mattison and he’s taken a few hits and we need to get him out of there and get a couple with him (Mattison), but at the end of the day, when it’s time to go, it’s time to go.
Q: What have you seen from the growth of Kolton Miller from this year to last year?
A: Yeah, I think he’s improved quite a bit. He’s a big guy, athletic. I think he’s doing better in pass protection. He struggled a little bit last year, but he’s doing much better. Their offensive line is humongous. He might be the next to tallest guy on the offensive line.
Q: What do those two rookies, Hunter Renfrow and Josh Jacobs, bring to that offense?
A: Well, Renfrow is a tough slot guy that is a quick in and out, (Chad) Beebe-esque, I guess would be a good way to say it. Tough, competitive guy, that catches the ball well, will do the dirty work. Jacobs is a really good runner, strong physical, stays in bounds, does a nice job in protection. They’re both good players.
Q: Daniel Carlson has been kicking well for Oakland. Do you think it was a case of maybe he was thrown into the fire too early here, or he went to a less pressure situation there?
A: I have no idea about that. All I know is he’s done well. I’m glad he’s done well. I hope he doesn’t do well this week, but I wish him success in the future. He’s a good kid. He’s an athletic, very talented kid. Sometimes, that’s just the way it goes.
Q: How do you deal with your football team after losing a rivalry game like last week’s?
A: I usually say what I think, say what I believe, whatever that is, so I did. I said what I think and what we have to do to improve areas that we all need to get better at. I’m just upfront with them and honest, that’s just how I am, probably how I’ll always be. Sometimes they don’t like it. I don’t care. Sometimes they do like it. I don’t care about that either.
Q: What do you need to see from Mike Hughes to make you feel comfortable with him going out on the field?
A: Well, he’s been going full through practice. We just have to get the okay from the doctors and we’ll see where that goes.
Q: When there’s a guy like Guenther and you know each other so well, do you have to guard against getting too cute and getting away from what you do well?
A: Yeah, a little bit. In some things, we have enough variation that he hasn’t seen because I haven’t been with him in six years. We have some variations that we do, different wrinkles here and there that we do. At the end of the day, it’s about stopping their offense, not worrying about their defense, and how can we do that. I’m sure they’re doing the same thing, how are they going to defend our offense. We know each other very well. We’ve talked defense in the offseason quite a few times. He’s a good guy, a good friend. I’m good friends with his family and his kids, but I’m trying to beat him.
Q: was there a chance this offseason that Vontaze Burfict could have come here before Anthony Barr signed?
A: Some of these free agent guys, we always talk about. I don’t know if there’s much of a chance. Did we talk about him? Yeah.
Q: What’s made him so successful?
A: Number one, he’s the leader of their defense. He knows the defense as well as anybody, probably as well as I do. He’s very instinctive. He’s very athletic. He reads things extremely quick and he’s a thumper. He’s going to thump you. We better make sure the officials know he has to play clean.
Q: With as well as the run was going on Sunday, why do you think the play action wasn’t effective?
A: Well, it’s partly why the run was effective because they weren’t challenging the run a lot of times. The outside guys weren’t rushing or they weren’t squeezing down on the runs so the cut back lanes were there. We’ll take the runs all day if they’re going to play pass.