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Transcript: Priefer and Edwards Addressed the Media Wednesday

*Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards  *

Q: How has the offseason program gone with the new additions to the defense?

A: Guys have really been working hard, paying attention to the details. It's a new terminology for them, new techniques, new fundamentals. They've really been doing a good job coming in every day and concentrating and focusing on what we're asking them to do.  Right now, it's a work in progress, we'll keep grinding through the offseason and hopefully they don't have to think as much and can come and be ready to react. 

Q: How valuable has this time been to get to know Sheldon Richardson as a player?

A: This is really a critical time for us to kind of see his skill set and what he's bringing, that'll continue over when we get to training camp. He's been doing an excellent job thus far paying attention to the details. He's in a very good room, a lot of good guys around him that are kind of helping each other, coaching each other through situations. We're pleased with where we are right now but we look to continue on through the offseason and training camp to keep working on that process.

Q: What have you seen from Mike Hughes thus far?

A: He's done a really good job, we've moved him around to a couple different positions so there's a lot going on right now. It's usually that way transitioning from college, the game is totally different for us. He's done a good job, his talent shows, his skill set shows. We're just working through it, refining it, hopefully keep continuing to get him ready to go.

Q: How can the veterans in the secondary help Hughes?

A: No doubt about it, they're a very unselfish group. Really, I think the unit as a whole, when you talk about the defensive line, the linebackers, and our secondary we do have some guys that are experienced. They're grabbing these young guys and trying to help them through this process, accept the information as quickly as possible. 

Q: How have you enjoyed the chess match with the new pieces on offense?

A: It's a challenge coming out here every day. It's good work for us. It's good competition. They're sort of going through the same process with some new players. The process is what it's about and we just try to come out here and get better every day.  But it has been a lot of good competition and we look forward to it as we keep proceeding through the offseason. 

Q: Does having a new coordinator across from you add a new wrinkle?

A: Some concepts have changed, some things we've had to adjust and adapt to. That's kind of what the offseason is, kind of figure out what you're good at, things you want to improve on that you've identified from the season before. We're really concentrating and focusing on what we've got to get done. But, like I said, it's a competition out here every day and we're trying to get the most out of each other. 

Q: Do you think the new kickoff rules will impact the defense?

A: I think that it will. Obviously, player safety is the most important thing as guys are working through it. For us, we think that it will, where the ball is placed to start, your percentages changed as far as scoring of offenses and all those different things that we go through. We'll see as we keep progressing forward. 

Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer

Q: How do you gauge this kicker competition when you can't see them in the stadium before the season starts?

A: We put them in different situations. Like today we had two hurry up field goal situations, both kickers had an opportunity. We have been charting these guys for the last few weeks competing against each other ever since Daniel [Carlson] arrived back the week after rookie minicamp was over. We try to put them in competitive situations as much as we can to get them ready for the preseason games and ultimately the decision going into the regular season.

Q: What is your opinion on the new kickoff rule?

A: I was very honored to be a part of that whole committee that went up to New York a few weeks ago. I thought the owners were great. I thought Rich McCay, head of the competition committee, did a great job. Troy Vincent did a great job. They were willing to listen. We had some really good ideas. We had been working on that for about five or six weeks to get that proposal in. Pretty much everything in our proposal is what they went with. Our goal was to make it safer play. Our goal was to make it just as exciting play as it always has been. At the end of the day, we need less guys injured on that play. I think we can get there, too. I think if you teach blocking correctly, you teach taking on blocks correctly, you teach tackling correctly, you have a chance to keep guys healthier. Along with the rules, it's an exciting time for the NFL, I really do.

Q: Do you think having the coordinators involved placed an emphasis on preserving kickoffs?

A: I do. Obviously, we want to keep it around. We love the play. We think it's a great play in our game. At the end of the day, I think we gave the owners and we gave the NFL, the league office what they wanted. They wanted a proposal that would make the play safer and was still going to make the play exciting and a part of our great game.

Q: When you pick your kicker, do you include in your evaluation past seasons in terms of what Kai Forbath did last year and what Daniel Carlson did in college?

A: I think you look more at the NFL I guess. Kai has been doing this a long time and he made some really big kicks for us last year. I think going into the offseason that played a part of it. Of course we don't draft Daniel if he wasn't as successful in college. I think it is a little bit of both. You have to look at the whole package. When they get here and compete against each other that is when we make our final decision.

Q: Is it nice to punt inside?

A: It's great. I just told [Ryan] Quigley, "You need to go thank both owners that are standing over there and thank them for building the building that is high enough to punt in. He had a 5.2 hang time today and it didn't hit the ceiling. We've been punting in here for a while. This is the first time we practiced in here with the full team. It was great. It was very nice to have it. It was a good day. Good day for us. 

Q: Is there some young new players that you enjoy working with on special teams so far?

A: I work with all the young plyers but it is always fun to take these new guys that really haven't been coached a lot of the techniques that we are teaching. But you take the athleticism, you take the intelligence, you take the willingness to work at get better, you put that together with some good coaching and they go out there and perform. Some of these young guys have really done a good job and other guys are coming along a little bit slowly, but once they get it figured out it is going to be some great competition in training camp. 

Q: How comfortable has Mike Hughes looked fielding kicks and punts?

A: Kickoffs, he is very comfortable. Punts, I think he is comfortable or getting more comfortable. We've worked with him a lot already starting in rookie minicamp starting earlier this month. Like any young player that comes in here, they don't have the time in college to teach them a lot of the techniques that we have the time to teach them here. He's been being taught stuff on how to track it correctly, how to catch it correctly. He's got all the ability in the world. He is really starting to put it all together. He has a great opportunity to compete for that job as well.

Q: Is there a certain date you want to have that kicker decided by?

A: Yes, before we play San Francisco. I think that would probably be the best date. No, probably the week before, maybe. I don't want to rush the process. I think we need to do what is best for our football team, whether that is at the end of spring or end of training camp. I don't make that final decision. At the end of the day, we will make the right one and hopefully the kicker that we keep will help us win a lot of games this year.

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