*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *
After watching the tape from yesterday, I thought defensively we played very well. We flew around the ball, we were in the right place for the most part. A couple mistakes here and there, I think the crowd helped us a lot defensively. Offensively, I thought we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit with some of the penalties that we had. It kind of set us back in some of the things. But, some of them we overcame. Case [Keenum] whatever it was, 20-of-23, I thought he did some very good things. Taking care of the ball, you know, it helped get some good runs in there, some efficient runs. Special teams, I thought we did a good job as well.
Q: What did you think were some of the factors in those offensive penalties?
A: It was holding, grabbing guys. For the most part, it was stuff like that. Guys would start to come off a block and we would grab them.
Q: How much did their pre-snap movement on defense affect how the offense used tempo?
A: Well, they had been like that in the past a little bit. So, we kind of knew that if we got it lined up quickly and got on the ball we might catch them a few times.
Q: What has been the key to the explosive plays on offense?
A: I think we've done a nice job of keeping teams off balance with some of the play actions and some of the running game. We've had the opportunity to hit some shots when we've been able to. I think it's the combination of keeping people off balance a little bit.
Q: Are you surprised it took this long for the defense to score points?
A: Yeah, you know we've had some chances that we haven't come all the way through. When you score on defense or special teams, it elevates your chance to win games. This year we just haven't had any like that yet. But, it was good to see. Eric [Kendricks] made a great play and he got some nice blocks down the sideline there. It was good.
Q: Is there a certain special teams area you've seen stand out in recent weeks?
A: All the areas are doing much better, I think, now. We could still probably be better on kickoff return but we've been careful about the ones we take out. Other than that, I think they've done a lot better. I think Marcus has been a lot more aggressive. That's added to field position. I think our coverage units have been better. I can't remember, I think we got them inside the 20-yard line three or four times yesterday.
Q: Has there been an emphasis on expanding Jerick McKinnon's role in the passing role?
A: Honestly, I don't think it's expanded any. He's always had a big role in the passing game. He's always been a good third down guy. We just happened to catch them yesterday on a couple things that they messed up. Honestly, it was the same play both times. One time they were in zone defense and they didn't play it correctly. One time they were in man coverage and they ran into each other. So, he was pretty open.
Q: Were you surprised at how open it was?
A: I don't know. I mean they had a couple new guys in there, so maybe that had something to do with it, but I don't know.
Q: Do you feel the Vikings are deserving to have a couple players in the Pro Bowl this year?
A: I only really care about what the team does, honestly. If they get voted in great, if they don't that's just the way it is. But this team has always been about teamwork and team cohesiveness and I know all the guys are saying the same, "It's not about an individual, it's about the team" and that's what I really like about this team.
Q: With teams in the past that have had one game byes, how does it benefit you down the road?
A: It's been a long time for that, since it's happened. Honestly, we're not focused on that. We're focused on Green Bay and trying to figure out how we can win another game. It's a great rivalry and they're an excellent football team and a great organization. We'll have to play really good to win. If we don't win this game and the next game, it really doesn't matter about all that stuff.
Q: Linval Joseph said he hopes Aaron Rodgers plays because it will be more of a challenge. Are you hoping Rodgers plays too?
A: It's not up to me. We just play whoever comes out, it doesn't matter to me who plays.
Q: How much does that affect your game planning process not knowing who the quarterback will be?
A: We'll prepare for both and we'll assume that [Aaron] Rodgers is going to play. It's not different than anything other week where you don't know what's going on. You guys wonder why I never say who the quarterback is, see.
Q: The offense has evolved to what Brett Hundley could do, but now they're going back to what Aaron Rodgers can do…
A: Yes, a little bit. I mean they're still doing a lot of the same things. I've only watched three games on them before I came down here. Some of the stuff is still the same and then there is some other things. I not going to get into the differences into those things. I mean Aaron Rodgers is an unbelievable great player, right? If somebody goes in he's hard to replace, but they have a lot of similarities – rather than how great Rodgers is.
Q: Do the cold temperatures Saturday night put more emphasis on the run game and establishing that?
A: It could but I think that will be determined more by the wind and things like that. Field conditions, a lot of those things will come into factor. You can throw the ball in the cold, it's just sometimes the wind and cross winds affect it a little bit more. It's like everything else, you go in a game and you prepare for these things. As you get there, you might have to change some of the combination routes you're running because of the wind. You might have to change some of the defenses you're playing because of the conditions that you're playing in. It's a part of adjusting during the game. It's no different than if this guy is killing you catching balls, ok, well now we have to double this guy or we have to do this or do that. It's the game management part of adjusting.
Q: How do you feel about your running game?
A: Yesterday wasn't too bad. I think they probably were the most efficient runs we've had this year. That's a good defensive front they [Cincinnati] had in there. They're doing a lot of pressure coming off the edge. We've had some explosive runs. That's kind of it, if a team is trying to pressure some and they catch you sometimes and you catch them sometimes. When you catch them, it's a big play. I think that happened the other day.
Q: Do you agree with Anthony Barr is having a better season because he is more focused and more engaged in every single play?
A: I don't know the reason. I know he's having a great year. He's playing really good. He's been very active. He's on top of things, he makes a lot of checks for the defense and things going on. On the field, he's been physical, very active in really all phases of the game.
Q: Is there a noticeable difference for you getting Pat Elflein back and what he can bring both from diagnosing and getting down the field and making some blocks down there?
A: I don't think it was so much the diagnosing. He's a good center and I think some of that showed up, yes.
Q: As you wrap up the division, what can you do to make sure the players don't let their guard down?
A: I think our players understand from two weeks ago that this thing happens really fast is something goes haywire. That's number one. Number two, our guys are pretty smart, focused guys and I think they understand what's at stake. Number three, we're still playing for seeding. We would like to play, if possible, every game at U.S. Bank Stadium. I know we're going to get one, but we're kind of greedy.