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Transcript: Vikings Coordinators Addressed the Media on Thursday

Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards

Okay, just finished the walk thru, getting ready for practice this afternoon. It’s a tough NFC opponent coming up this week in Philadelphia. They’re as good as anybody in the league right now. I think they’re number two in the red zone, two on third down, so we’ve got to do a good job of playing situational football this week. Guys are tuned in, getting ready as far as they’re preparation heading into this game.

Q: How do you think Ifeadi Odenigbo is looking? How much are you looking to keep him inside?

A: Ifeadi (Odenigbo) is doing a good job for us. It’s just carried over. He continues to get better from week to week, rushing inside and him playing a backup role outside, he’s embraced those positions and done a good job when his number’s been called. He’s been able to step up and make some plays for us. We just look for him to continue to develop.

Q: What do you think about the pairing of Ifeadi Odenigbo and Stephen Weatherly inside?

A: Yeah, it’s been good for us, I mean, it’s been good for us since we matched those two inside. Hercules (Mata’afa) being inside also has been good. Those three guys when, we get into some of the sub-packages has worked out well for us. We just look to keep developing with their skillsets inside to come up with different things to be able to utilize their skillsets.

Q: What makes the Eagles so effective on third down?

A: I think it’s a combination of things. I think you look at the personnel they’ve got. They’ve got excellent receivers. You look at (Alshon) Jeffery, go on down the line, 13 (Nelson Agholor), Jeffery’s been a pain for us all the time. The tight end, (Zach) Ertz, is a heck of a tough guy to cover coming out of the back field with (Darren) Sproles, so it’s a combination of the personnel and schematically what they do from week to week. They change up a lot. There’s not a consistent evidence of you’re going to get this, you’re going to get that. They do a really nice job in their third down package.

Q: With that creativity that Doug Pedersen likes to use, how hard is it to prepare for?

A: It’s challenging. Our guys really, from what we’ve got planned against them, have to go in and really pay attention to the details of what we’re asking them to do. That’s what we’re working through as we progress through the week.

Q: With the amount they use both tight ends, does it keep you in base more often?

A: We’ll have to see. I can’t give away the trade secrets here, but different things. We’ve had teams put two tight ends on the field for us in third down and stuff, so we’ll look forward to how we need to match it up.

Q: What about the skill sets of Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert?

A: They’re probably two of the best packages as far as two tight ends that can really do a good job of blocking and also being able to go down the field and make plays. They’re both good receivers coming off the line of scrimmage and understanding what they ask them to do as far as protection and those types of deals. We’ve got our work cut out for us this week as far as matching these two tight ends.

Q: What did you learn from playing Carson Wentz last year?

A: The one thing about him is he’s mobile in the pocket and when he runs, he turns into a running back. His ability to get rid of the ball as far as having a feel for it. So, we have to be disciplined as far as our rush plan on him and he’s got the arm strength to throw the ball. He’s got big-play receivers outside. He’s got tight ends inside. He’s got the back coming out of the backfield and he does a good job of featuring all those guys within their packages. We’ve got to do a good job of being disciplined as far as what we’re trying to do coverage-wise and also when we’re rushing him. I mean, you look at him, people have got him wrapped up, he’s so hard to bring down in the pocket. We’ve got to do a good job of wrapping up.

Q: How is he playing now compared to when you faced him last year? 

A: I think he’s gotten better. I think he’s utilizing the guys around him better and, again, we’ve got to a good job of staying on the routes, do a good job of rushing him because he’s very competitive and he’s got the ability to make all the throws.

Vikings Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski

Looking forward to the challenge this week, getting back in front of our fans. Got a great Eagles defense coming to town, and we will have our work cut out for us. Briefly, last week, great team win. I thought the players really did a nice job of executing the game plan, and again, great to get on the road, get a victory. Looking forward to coming back home.

Q: How much do you think you can build off of last week, with the balance and well-rounded play you had?

A: I think we had production in the run and in the pass. I think there was balance in the explosives, so we had some runs that were gaining some yards for us and in the pass game. I think it’s a week-to-week proposition, and we’ll see how we’re going to attack these guys. I think there’s going to be opportunities in the run and the pass, but it’s not going to be easy.

Q: When you look at the tape of Philadelphia’s game against the Jets, how do you balance the fact that the Jets don’t have the talent and the quarterback situation that your unit has?

A: I think you look at all of the tape, so you have five games worth. Schematically you can go back to last year also and see how they attacked teams that are similar to us or how they attacked us when we played them last year. I think you certainly look at last week, because it’s the most recent, but I think you can really use the whole, all of the tape that’s at your disposal to try and get an understanding of how they may attack you this week.

Q: How much confidence are you getting week to week in Alexander Mattison?

A: I think as a staff, I think myself and I think Kennedy Polamalu certainly has a trust in that kid. He goes out there and he performs. There’s not much of a drop off from one to two, which is a really good thing for us, and we’re looking to get him some work. He provides a similar but different running style than Dalvin (Cook), so I think that’s always good when you’re attacking a defense to give them a slightly different look. But he’s a young player that I think is only going to get better, and I applaud his effort and how he prepares.

Q: How much of Mattison’s playing time is predetermined?

A: So we talk as a staff during the week and obviously on game day, but we have a plan and we have a contingency plan and then, ultimately, we have a number that we’re looking for both of those guys. But as you know during the series, Dalvin rips one off and he needs a blow, so very quickly Alexander (Mattison) jumps in there and we don’t really change what we’re doing or change our mindset. That’s really all Coach (Kennedy) Polamalu, who I think does an outstanding job managing that.

Q: What makes the Eagles run defense so effective?

A: Great combination of scheme and players. They have really good players and I think the scheme is sound. It’s an attacking style. They get off the ball. They tackle well. They play with great effort and then the players, you could name every single one of them, honestly. I think Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, what they bring to the table is really a special group.

Q: Is that attacking style different than what other teams do?

A: It is. There’s some teams that are playing into blocks and reading off your blocks. These guys are coming off the ball. They’re attacking gaps and they’re trying to disrupt. We know that. We’ve looked at the film and we have to be ready to match their intensity.

Q: What kind of progress have you seen from Garrett Bradbury week to week?

A: I think Garrett’s (Bradbury) doing a nice job. You have five guys that have to work together and certainly for a young player making calls and working together with those guys, I think he’s finding his groove. The more reps he gets, I think he’s just going to get better and better.

Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Marwan Maalouf

It’s been a solid week of practice so far. We’re getting ready for the Philadelphia Eagles. They have a really good special teams unit, familiar with that coordinator a little bit, just throughout our history in the NFL. I’m proud of what we did last week. There are some things that we needed to clean up as well from the Giants game. Dan (Bailey) had a good game, won the (NFC Special Teams) Player of the Week. Very proud of him and just the entire operation and what those guys have been doing. The key thing that coach said the other day is making sure we’re as consistent as possible every week. That’s important.

Q: What is that specialist group doing right at this moment?

A: It’s just a level of consistency. It’s anticipation. It’s all the reps that they’ve gotten together and that they continue to get together. Its working through different situations, hurry up situations, all that stuff. Those are the small things that we don’t see a lot of the time, but they’ve done a really good job of just all being on the same page and still keeping our opponent guessing as far as that operation goes. I’m very pleased with that, and we got to continue it. That’s the bottom line.

Q: With Dan Bailey’s track record, did you get the feeling as you went through the summer that he would improve when everything settled down and the group had the chance to find a rhythm?

A: Yeah, that’s a really good question, and to answer it straight up, yeah. You could tell by how he kicks his ball, how clean it is. We needed to clean a couple things up, and I think we’ve done that. We got to continue to keep doing that. I think the consistency is the most important thing. When you look back at it, these guys really haven’t been together very long, but having a pro like Britton (Colquitt), who has done it a long time, really helps settle everything down too.

Q: Did you ever get the sense that he was frustrated during the preseason and training camp? He seems like a pretty even-keeled guy.

A: No, and that’s why it’s so good to have Britton around, because he livens things up a little bit. Dan is very even-keeled. He was a pro from day one, and he continues to be. If you didn’t know that he had a good week, and in a game you would never know, just because of how he is. The thing that Britton brings to the table a little bit is just a little bit more liveliness in the locker room and just the sense of calm I think.

Q: Are you guys expecting Darren Sproles to play? What’s it like facing him?

A: He’s probably one of the best. 14 years in the league, and doing it at a high level like he’s been doing it is very impressive. We’re definitely expecting him to play, we’re expecting 10 to play, DeSean Jackson. We’ve got to be ready for all those guys. To me you have to prepare for those guys, because if you don’t that’s where you get in trouble. He does such a good job once he gets the ball of making the first man miss and then gaining yards. He gets north and south really quick and has really good balance. Like I said, he’s been doing it at a high level for a long time.

Q: How has he kept his quickness even as he gets older?

A: He does a great job of obviously staying in shape and preparing himself. He still has it. To me, he still is one of the scariest returners in the league, even at whatever age he is.

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