Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner
Good morning. How is everyone doing?
Q: No softball updates today?
A: We're playing games now so it's getting a little more serious.
Q: How is Adrian Peterson doing after yesterday?
A: Coach Zimmer obviously gives the injury reports, but I talked to Eric Sugarman. We all held our breaths for a second. Adrian is fine.
Q: What are your big takeaways from the game and what stood out to you from what you were doing offensively?
A: The things that were important to me, as I told our guys, as a unit, I wanted to go manage the game. That's the first thing that you want to get done in the first game and I thought we did that well. We had one false start really late in the game and other than that, we were pretty clean. Individually, you want to see those guys who are playing for the first time this year – and some of them playing the first time in the NFL – to go manage their game, do the things that they need to do in terms of playing against the defense, playing against the player there, playing against the looks. We had good efficiency, in terms of not having major mistakes, not turning anybody loose and handling the things that Pittsburgh did.
Q: Can you give us a preview of the Tampa Bay game, and will you be building on what you did in Week 1?
A: Yeah, the good thing in the preseason is that it is preparing you for the regular season in a lot of ways. In one way, in a short period time, we have to prepare for a dramatically different defense. Our veteran players understand it, it's a reminder for them. But young players realize all of the sudden that this is a whole different defense that we're seeing and even though we're running mostly the same plays, they're blocked different, they're read different, the whole circumstance on how we're going to attack Tampa is totally different than Pittsburgh. So it's a good preparation for our guys to do it because we're in camp. We had a normal training camp day yesterday, pretty much a normal training camp day today, we walked through some Tampa stuff this morning and tomorrow will be our day of preparation. So it's a good eye-opener for the young guys at how quickly you have to switch gears.
Q: Did you think MyCole Pruitt would be as good as he is already?
A: I think we all were excited that we were able to draft Pruitt. The things he showed us on tape and the things he showed us in May and June are the things he's shown us all through this camp. I'm a big believer in evaluating your own players, trusting what you see and not worrying about who they're going against, or whatever, and usually that holds up. Some guys get in games – in real games – and it's too big for them. Certainly, that's not the case with MyCole. He's a very talented player and he was a very good player in college. You always find out something about a guy when you get him here and the thing about MyCole is that he's a lot more physical player than we thought from the tape. He's a 260-pound man and he knows how to use it.
Q: Do you have any thoughts on the passing of Mike Zimmer's father?
A: Having been through it on a couple of different occasions, it's the hardest thing I think you go through. Your father, your mother, that's a tough time. It doesn't matter if they had been sick or it's sudden, it hits you and it's hit Mike. He's as tough as there is, but it's difficult. The greatest thing about being involved in a team sport like we're involved, we're being involved in this, you become family immediately and he's getting a lot of support from the coaches here and the players here. He means a lot to us and you don't want to see anyone going through a difficult time.
Q: What does it mean to have a guy like George Stewart coaching these young receivers on the team?
A: I'm glad you asked because we've got an outstanding coaching staff, the entire coaching staff. Sometimes it's by design, sometimes you're fortunate the way it fits together but I thought Zim [Coach Zimmer] did a great job putting this staff together. Some of the guys he knew, some he didn't, but offensively we've got a very experienced group. We've got a good mix of experience and youth. We've got a lot of guys that are hungry to learn football and want to continue to expand what we're doing on offense. I know I'm challenged every day I go in there. But George is as good as there is coaching receivers. We just have a good group.
Q: In that pass to Jerick McKinnon, it seems like there was a combination of all the things he can do with the move and running the guy over at the end. Is that something you look to see with him?
A: I tell these guys – and I start in minicamp – and we throw the ball to the tight ends and the backs a lot, that we throw a good mix. We throw the ball up the field a lot but we throw a lot of short, high percentage passes and all during spring and all during training camp, we're not tackling. The guy comes up and puts his hands on you and everyone says, "Well he had him tackled." And I tell our guys, when we start playing, I told them last week, "Now we're playing tackle football." That's what you have to do, you tackle. If you're throwing the balls we throw and you get one-on-one, you've got to make a guy miss like Jerick [McKinnon] did, and when you make a guy miss, it turns into a big play. I was explaining to someone yesterday, "I don't care if the ball is thrown 16 yards up the field to get a 16-yard gain, or thrown a yard behind the line of scrimmage to get a 16-yard gain. Those 16 yards count." And usually if you're good at throwing to the backs and tight ends it creates opportunities to throw the ball up the field. And if you're good throwing the ball up the field, it creates opportunities to throw the ball to the backs. We may go through three games and not get big plays to the receivers but if we're being efficient and effective, those big plays will come.
Q: How quickly was Adrian Peterson able to get back in the flow of things?
A: With us? With me, it was about a day. When he got back in here and started practicing, we obviously feature the things he does best, so his recall was outstanding. The things we put in last summer when he was here with us. He runs extremely well. He keeps himself in great shape. He's a great, great competitor, so if someone showed up and hadn't been around for a year and went out and watched practice, I don't think they could tell you that he'd ever been away from us.
Q: Will Adrian do anything at practice today?
A: I would not expect him to. Again, I don't have that information, but I wouldn't expect him to.
Q: But you said early he's fine.
Q: In terms of Teddy Bridgewater as a second-year quarterback, does he need more playing time in the preseason than say a guy who has been starting for five, six, seven years?
A: I think everybody, I don't care how long you've been playing, and the best players I've been around that have played a long time want to play and they want to get reps. It wasn't a lot, I think Teddy [Bridgewater] got 10 or 12 reps. But getting back in there, that feeling you get, that first snap, the feeling you get the first time you walk from the sidelines to the field, I don't care how long you've been doing it. You get butterflies, you get the energy, your heart starts speeding up. I mean that's the excitement of playing in this league. If he doubles the number of snaps he got last week, that'd probably be good for him and we evaluate it each week and see how we're going. I think to be sharp and be ready to go that first week at the quarterback position, you need some full-speed reps, some live reps. We did a great job in protecting him. Pittsburgh gave us some really unusual things, some things they'd never done before, not even last year, and our guys handled them extremely well, so that was pleasing.
Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards
Coming off our first game, we saw some things that we really liked and got a chance to evaluate some of the guys that we've been looking to see under the lights and kind of see where we are and see what things we need to get corrected and cleaned up as we keep progressing here through the rest of training camp.
Q: What's the best thing you've seen from Justin Trattou since he got here?
A: The one thing you see is he's a hard worker. Every day you know what you're getting as far as him coming out there and working. So from that aspect of it, just right now getting him to transfer all of those things consistently throughout the course of the game is the biggest thing. But he's done a good job for us as we've worked through training camp and kind of know coming out of the game some things we need to get him improved on and just with him a little bit more comfortable with, but I think for the most part he's stayed consistent throughout what we're asking him to do.
Q: Justin Trattou described himself as raw, what are some areas you'd like to see improvements in?
A: Well, the thing is, when you're coming into a new system and asked to do new things and going up against the competition that you're going up against. I mean, the biggest thing is that you kind of start thinking too much as opposed to just lining up and playing. You're trying to do all the things that you're coached to do but there is a thought process that you have to go through pre-snap before a ball turns over rather than just, 'Hey, I know this is going to happen, this is my assignment, this is my alignment' and now all of a sudden the offense is shifting and motioning and doing all those kind of things to change those things, so from that aspect of it, I think the more reps he continues to get he will continue to get better.
Q: What did you think of Audie Cole's performance on Sunday?
A: I know Audie [Cole] did a good job. I think he's been solid throughout camp and he carried that over to the other night in the reps that he ended up getting and just building off of last year. He kind of came on at the end of the year for us last year. He worked his butt off this offseason and got in the first game and had a good outing, he was solid in everything we asked him to do.
Q: So he took a step up from last year?
A: I think he's a lot more familiar with what it is we're trying to get done, so I think his reaction is a lot quicker to certain situations that offenses put us in, I think he's a good pro and you can see it as he keep maturing through this process that he's just getting more comfortable and settling in and playing, as opposed to having to line up and think.
Q: What are your thoughts on being in Mankato and did you get a lot accomplished?
A: Yeah, I mean it's been great being here, the facilities are great. I mean everything is comfortable to get to practice and I think we got a lot accomplished, I still think we have got a lot of work to do but we know where we are right now, know the things we need to get better at. We got a good group of young men that come out and compete every day and that's thing that is interesting for us is creating that competition at each position every day and just seeing them come out here and compete and get better. Everything has been great here and we've enjoyed it. It's one of those things as training camp goes, towards the end of training camp I think everybody is kind of getting excited to get back into your routine back home and can be comfortable with that but it's been great here the whole time we've been here.
Q: Is the battle for the third defensive end spot still a three-way competition between Danielle Hunter, Scott Crichton and Justin Trattou?
A: I think it'll be a continual battle throughout the rest of training camp and through the preseason. Those guys are working their butts off and really the other night we saw some good things and we saw some things that we need to improve on. After the first game, look at what we need to get better at, come back out here, address those things and just keep moving down the road. Like we talked about earlier, the biggest thing is we want that competition going throughout, not just the preseason, we want guys to compete at practice and they've done a good job at that. Even going against our offensive line, I think it's been good and playing against, mixing and matching ones and twos and just trying create those match-ups in practice has been good for us.
Q: How much will Scott Crichton's injury set him back?
A: Anytime you're missing time it's not like riding a bike where you just come out and all of the sudden you're back on the bike and peddling. There will be some adjustments to him but you know he's been in meetings, paying attention to details, been out here for walk-thrus, paying attention to the details. So, from that aspect of it, we think he will come back and have a good grasp of what it is we're trying to get done.
Q: What are some of the good things you saw in the Hall of Fame Game?
A: We saw some of the young guys finally get to compete against Pittsburgh and against opponents really they hadn't done a lot of studying on and just to transfer of what we're asking them to do fundamentally and technique-wise. It was good outing for us in that they got a chance to finally do it against somebody else rather than just what they been seeing out here in practice, because during the course of a game things you've prepared for during the week, there's a lot of times, you know they will change the splits, especially with receivers and corners as far as match-ups and you have to stick to your rules on things. Same thing with defensive linemen will they get the tight end motioning on that side, those kind of things. We're pleased that they got a chance to do it but we're looking forward to keep going through this process and seeing them get more familiar with what we're asking them to do and perform.
Q: How did Eric Kendricks grade out with knowing alignments and assignments?
A: I think he did a good job for his first game out. [Eric] Kendricks is a guy that wants to make every play and the thing is, we've got to get him to slow down. He did a good job with the communication and all those things from the Mike position. He did a good job of handling his assignments and the biggest things is just with alignments and shifts and motions that the offense is giving us just getting him to calm down and not over run the ball or over-pursue and good angles in the open field and all those kind of things but we're pleased with where he's at and look forward to keep working through this process with him.
Q: Where does Eric Kendricks rank instinctually?
A: He's a very instinctive guy, whether it's the run or the pass. He's got good instincts on both sides of it. He's a true student of the game. He's going to work his butt off and the biggest thing is him just learning that he's not going to make every play to just sort of slow down, leverage the ball and we're looking forward to him just keep progressing through this. He did a good job the other night, though.
Q: Eric Kendricks had a play where he got good pressure up the middle, was that a delayed blitz?
A: Based off what they're doing protection-wise, that blitz, that's why he ended coming free because he saw the protection and executed it nicely. The center turned away from him and they didn't have anybody to come back and block him. He did a nice job there. He also had a blitz earlier where he did a nice job coming off a picking and he didn't end up getting the sack but he helped as far as getting the guy around to get the sack. He did a nice job in his blitz that we called with him there the other night.
Q: What are your thoughts on Gerald Hodges and the looks he's given you at middle linebacker?
A: The one thing we've talked to [Gerald] Hodges about is being consistent and that's the one thing he has done during this training camp. I mean, he's played every position we've got at linebacker, whether it's been our base package or our sub packages throughout the training camp and I'll tell you what, he's really handled it pretty good. When you go to the Mike linebacker, there's a lot of things with alignments and those kind of things that change from being outside that we've got to keep working with him to get him comfortable with but we're pleased with where he's at right now and just look for him to keep competing to go down the road with him.