Vikings Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater
*Pretty good week of practice this week. We came out flying around and our mindset is to continue to develop a winner's attitude around here, so we want to approach this game with that mindset. The guys have been working extremely hard this week preparing for Dallas. We know that it is going to be a tough game to win on the road, preseason or regular season. They were 12-4 last year, top five team in the league on offense, so we know it's going to be a challenge for us this weekend and we're ready for it. *
Q: How has your chemistry been developing with Mike Wallace?
A: Mike, he's a guy who works extremely hard and our entire wide receiver room – those guys come out to practice every week, every day and they just give it their all. They're precise in their route running, they're precise in their alignments on the football field and they do a great job in the run game. Mike, he and I, we're getting on the same page and today we were able to connect on the deep ball, so we're going to only continue to get better each day.
Q: Do you think the fans are clamoring for a deep ball in a game or are you guys holding off on some stuff?
A: We just are going to continue to execute our game plans. We're doing things that we do well around here and we're executing at a high level doing those things. Each week we're going to add new things to the game plan. Like you said, it's the preseason, you don't want to show too much. What we've been asked to do so far, I think we've been doing a good job at executing at a high level.
Q: He only has one catch this preseason. Is that a concern at all?
A: Not at all, but we do want to get Mike going heading to the regular season and he's a guy who is going to be huge for us in the pass game and the run game. He is going to force teams to give us different looks this year, so we definitely want to get him going whether it's this week or definitely headed to Week One.
Q: Do you find it difficult sometimes to spread the ball around to all of the weapons you have on the roster?
A: Not at all. Our coaches always say when you're playing in this system, don't get bored. If a play is called for the same guy to get the ball five times in a row and he is open five times in a row, throw it to him. It's a system where everyone is going to get their touches and everyone is going to have individual success and the guys understand that.
Q: Are there certain game situations you want to experience, such as the two-minute offense?
A: Yeah, that's one of the situations that we have yet to experience this preseason, the two-minute with the first team offense. Whether it be this game, I'm pretty sure we're going to get in two-minute, whether it's just to do it or we may be in a two-minute situation at the end of the half or something like that. We look forward to it, we practice it out here on the practice field, we try to practice every situation, try to be a good football team with situational football. We look forward to doing it whether it is going to happen this Saturday or we're going to continue to get reps on it in practice.
Q: Do you think your offense is underrated in Madden after receiving a 79 overall?
A: I say it's underrated, but we haven't proven ourselves yet. It's still the preseason and we can't sit here and say that we're the best team in the league. We have a long way to go. Our goal is to be the best offense in the league and be a top-ten, top-five offense, whether it is situational football or in yardage, touchdowns, passing touchdowns, rushing touchdowns, so we know that we have a long way to go and we can use that as motivation.
Q: Do you have any advice for the rookies or like Trae Waynes and Eric Kendricks? Is there any way you can help them?
A: Yeah, definitely. Those guys, they get it that time waits for no man and we're going to ask those guys to do some great things for this team this year and we expect them to do some great things for this team this year. They have to understand that it's a long season. It's going to have its ups and downs. You learn a lesson from each, whether it's a negative or a positive, and you just move forward. You just only control the things that you can control. That's how hard you work, the effort you give for it and what you give this team.
Q: When did you stop feeling like a rookie last year?
A: That's a tough question. I just continued to get more comfortable as I gained those reps whether it's in practice or in the games. Everything is still new to me at some point and sometimes whether it's installing new plays or things like. I just look at it as I remain a student of the game and you don't have to be a rookie to be a student of the game, you don't have to be a 10th year player. It's just trying to get better, trying to learn something new every day.
Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards
How is everybody doing today? We've got Dallas coming up this week, another tough preseason opponent. We'll get another evaluation on some of these guys. We're still working the roster, working guys at different positions and just going to have another good evaluation hopefully this week. Questions?
Q: What is the biggest thing you are battling this week?
A: The biggest thing right now we're still battling is just consistency and the more experience they get, we think the better they'll get. These game situations are good for them. We try to put them in all of those situations here in practice, but actually getting in the game and going through the situations are the biggest things. A lot of them is the first time going through some of those situations and having them make decisions and how they're going to react to things, so from that aspect of it we've still got a ways to go.
Q: What have you seen from Trae Waynes so far from three preseason games? Have you seen any progress?
A: Yeah, I think he's gotten better from week-to-week. I think the first week to the second week, I think he got better with some things we asked him to get better at. The next week, the third game, we thought he got better and hopefully this week we'll see some improvement with the things we worked on this week in practice.
Q: From your experience with rookie corners, is it better for them to experience these growing pains or is it better for them to sit?
A: There is no substitute for experience, getting out there and having to do it under the lights against good competition week-in and week-out, so there is no substitute for that. Doing it out here at practice is one thing, but transferring it to the game is another. So from that aspect of it, we're just looking for him to make the most of the opportunities we are able to get him at this point in time.
Q: Do you think he is going to be ready to start Week 1?
A: Well, that's what we're aiming for, that's what we're all working for, but we'll just take it from week-to-week. We've still got two more games to go and just keep evaluating it through the process.
Q: Has Terence Newman brought a veteran presence to the secondary?
A: No doubt about it. Like I said before, he's a true professional. He's going to come in and every day he's going to work and be able to transfer it from the meeting room to the field. He's got good experience and the techniques and the things that we're asking him to do in the secondary and does a good job helping the young guys along, so he's been a true pro.
Q: How do the young guys respond to Terence Newman?
A: I think they see it as their body of work is an example of what it is that they need to be successful in this league. It's not about just talking to him, it's about coming out here every day and going out and executing calls and being able to execute the game plan and what we've got going from week-to-week. Leading by example is a huge plus for us.
Q: How do you find the balance between being aggressive but also staying disciplined and not holding?
A: Well, the rules are the rules. We know how they're going to call it, so that's how we try to teach it from that aspect of it. We just don't want to get into a game and end up with a bunch of penalties because we're not teaching with the right technique. You can't be lazy out there and you know you're on an island every play, so from that aspect of it, we just try to just get the importance of what they're looking to call and how we're playing a technique and make sure that they're not grabbing.
Q: Are there certain things you can learn about the defense going up against an experienced quarterback this week for a few more plays?
A: There is no doubt. More experienced quarterbacks are going to look off the timing of plays, the timing of routes, they're going to have better timing, those type of deals. From that aspect of it, for us it is more concentrated on what it is that we've got to go out and get done each week.
Q: Josh Thomas got into it yesterday at practice. Is that his feistiness on display or was he being overly feisty?
A: The situation came up. I don't think it was that big of a deal. I think they just got into a push and shove deal. The one thing he does do, he goes out and competes every day and competes every play, so from that aspect of it we like that about him.
Q: With Gerald Hodges starting at middle linebacker, is it realistic to think of him a starter at that position this year?
A: Yeah, he has done a good job thus far through the offseason and training camp, so we want to look at it this week. He brings a certain skill level to us defensively. He plays aggressive and he's been where he needs to be, so we're going to look at him this week at the Mike. He's been practicing there the last couple week on and off, so we're going to give him a shot this week to go out there and compete.
Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer
I wanted to start off by saying that Sunday was a tough day when we had to release Cullen [Loeffler]. Cullen is one of the finest young men that I have ever had the opportunity to coach and it was tough to say goodbye to him. He was a class act from the day I got here until the day he left on Sunday. He handled everything with dignity and I was real proud to be associated with him the last four and a half years. It's a tribute to Kevin [McDermott] and his hard work. It was great competition and he beat out the incumbent, and that's a tough thing to do in the NFL.
Q: Was there a certain date you wanted to make that decision by or was it based off of the last game?
A: No, they both played really well in the game. That was the date because we wanted to have a couple of preseason games to help us prepare for the San Francisco game, to get two games under our belt with those three guys working together.
Q: Is Kevin's familiarity with Jeff Locke impact the decision at all, both playing together at UCLA?
A: Not at all, not at all.
Q: Was it a close race and a tough decision for you?
A: It was. I think at the end of the day, it was a decision based on purely snapping. Kevin [McDermott] had more velocity, did a better job and was more consistent with field goals. Cullen, at the end of the day, is still a little bit bigger and stronger and probably a little bit better in coverage and protection, but the number one thing those guys do is snap the ball and the decision was solely based on snapping.
Q: How did you see Blair Walsh react from the game he had on Saturday?
A: He's done a great job, he's owned up to it. He came in early on Sunday morning and we watched the tape. Some of the mistakes that he made were uncommon for him. He's worked real hard this week on just tweaking his technique. There's no overhaul changes; we're not overly concerned about it. I think he just has to get his confidence back. He had a good week at practice, he worked on a lot of things and I look forward to him rebounding well this weekend.
Q: When a guy has proven that he can do it at this level and has a slump, is it attributed to his technique or confidence?
A: Probably both. I think the technique attributed to one or two of his misses and then based on the misses, that's when the confidence comes in. He's a mentally tough kid and I expect him to rebound nicely.
Q: Do you have to guard against trying to fix too many things at this point of the season?
A: You're absolutely right. We're not going to fix too many things. If we're going to fix things that would be an April, May, June type thing, not at the end of training camp to get him ready for the regular season. It's minor things that we're working on, whether it's the angle to the ball, a little bit of footwork thing but it's no major overhaul changes.
Q: With the ideal conditions this weekend do you think that can help him get his confidence back?
A: Yeah, I think so. It was a crazy night the other night. Not to make any excuses, because we wouldn't make any excuses, but going into an environment with no wind, yeah, that will help him.
Q: Marcus Sherels has been doing a good job as a gunner both in games and practice, what makes you think he's doing such a good job?
A: I think the longer he's done it, the more experience he has. We always tell our gunners to have a plan, don't just go out there and wing it because that doesn't work in the NFL. Marcus [Sherels] has a plan and he does a great job with his speed releases and he does a great job with what we call our counter releases. When you have a plan, you study tape, you know what type of opponent you're going against and you execute that plan like he does, it really helps him be successful. He's gotten better every year that I've been here.
Q: Has Marcus Sherels' experience as a return man helped him as a gunner as well?
A: Maybe at the point of attack. Based on what the gunner might be thinking at the point of attack, but I don't think he's thinking about that when he's returning the football. He's improved on kickoff, kickoff return, punt and punt return since I've been here.
Q: Jeff Locke seemed to have handled the conditions very well.
A: He's punting the ball well. He's gotten a lot of confidence. Punting the ball in those conditions the other night was ideal from him to prepare for TCF [Bank Stadium] for the rest of the year. I think he's got nine punts inside the 20 already in three preseason games, so he's doing a nice job of protecting well and we're covering punts well.