Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
We need the fans to come out early this week, be loud and rowdy, make this the loudest stadium that the Vikings have ever played in, and help us get a win on Sunday.
Q: How did the extra time off go? What kinds of things did you look at to get prepared for the game on Sunday?
A: We spent a lot of time on the three different teams of possibilities that we might play, a little bit on the self-scout stuff, but it was mostly getting back to fundamentals with the team, doing some of those things, and then we would study the three different teams, so it took a lot of time.
Q: Was there much from the week one game that was still relevant in your preparation against the Saints?
A: Yeah, they've all changed, we've changed, but there's the base things on both sides of both teams are still the same.
Q: What has changed the most for the Saints since week one?
A: I don't know you would have to ask Sean [Payton]. I don't know.
Q: How have defensive starters for the Saints evolved?
A: Well, they're playing a lot better now. They've got 20 interceptions and 42 sacks and I think that is their mantra. They want to create havoc for the offense and they've got good players.
Q: What stands out to about Sean Payton's offense?
A: Well, they're always good. I think he's always been one of the top in the league in first down offense. First downs, this year he's second. They've always been explosive, take their shots, do a good job in the screen game, and he's got a Hall of Fame quarterback. He's had that for a while.
Q: Did New Orleans win over Carolina last night help to summarize everything that Drew Brees is capable of doing, even at 38 years of age?
A: I don't know. Drew Brees has played good for a long time. He's won a Super Bowl, he's been the MVP, he's thrown for millions of yards. I think all those things kind of sum up what he does.
Q: Have you seen the Saints use Alvin Kamara differently as the season has progressed?
A: Yeah, a little bit. They use him a little bit more, spread him out of the backfield a little bit more. They use him as a receiver some, he catches the ball some on screens. But he's in the backfield as well. He played against us the first game, but I guess they're using his abilities a little bit more now.
Q: What are the challenges that Cameron Jordan presents?
A: He's a good player, one of the best defensive players in the league, a tough matchup. He's as good of a defensive end as there is in the league.
Q: Does Jordan do anything differently that sets him apart from other pass rushers?
A: No, I just think he's got the instinct to get his hands up on time. The one game against Detroit, I don't know if it was him, but he knocked down some balls that they intercepted. He's just a heck of an athlete that can rush the passer, but also has great vision with the ball and the quarterback.
Q: They move him around quite a bit, do those different looks present a challenge?
A: Yeah, they all do. They've got a lot of different looks and variations of what they do defensively.
Q: Has the message to the team changed now that it is win or go home?
A: No, I think they know that. We had a quick little practice today, I didn't talk to them too much about that stuff. I'll talk to them more Wednesday about things we have to do to win and where we're at and what we need to do. I think they understand the magnitude of where we're at in the playoffs and that New Orleans is a heck of a football team. I really think being able to play at U.S. Bank Stadium with our fans and the crowd noise and [Drew] Brees trying to change the protections and the audibles he makes at the line of scrimmage. I think that will play well into our hands.
Q: Will the crowd noise change your communication on defense at all?
A: We've been practicing with noise all year long, loud, a lot of noise. I may crank it up a little bit higher this week. We haven't seemed to have much of a problem with it.
Q: What is the key to being a good tackler when you practice can't be very physical?
A: The number one thing is always having good players. Trying to get them in the best position possible, I think the other thing is knowing where your help is. If you're going to miss, you want to miss on the correct side so the next guy is there. That's what we try to do. Get them in the best position and work on knowing where your help is. Taking your shot, sometimes you've got to take your shot. You can't come up there and just dance with the guy, you've got to go take your shot.
Q: What allows Drew Brees to be so consistent?
A: Well, number one, I think they've got a great scheme. So, they do a great job with their scheme. Number two, I don't know him very well, Adam [Zimmer] was with him down there in New Orleans, he says he's one of the most competitive guys there is. He'll compete at anything. I think that's kind of what drives him, the way he works, the way he studies. Obviously, he's got the talent and the ability to do it. The intangible things are really what, I think, make Drew Brees him.
Q: What kind of things can Adam Zimmer offer to you?
A: It's been a long time since he's been down there. Same thing, I used to practice against him every day, too. You see some of the same concepts. You see some of the same things and then it's a variation. You don't know when they're going to call the plays. Sean [Payton] is a very good play caller. It could be second-and-one and he's calling a bomb and it could be third-and-eight and he's calling a run. That's just the way it is with this team and the way that you have to prepare for everything.
Q: Is he as much of a risk taker as a head coach and trying to catch everybody off guard with certain plays?
A: Yes, he's a gambler. That's his mentality.
Q: Is it tougher to prepare for?
A: No, you just have to be ready for fourth downs. There's a team across the river over there that does a lot of the same stuff.
Q: The defense was obviously playing well at the end of the season. Was the offense clicking how you wanted it to at the end of the season?
A: Well, I think we were efficient offensively in the last three games. I don't think we were exactly explosive, so hopefully we can be a little bit more explosive. Maybe one of those kind of games, but I think for the most part we did a decent job in third downs, we ran the ball efficiently, we had high percentage in completions. But you want to get some big plays in there and we really didn't generate big plays. I guess it was the last three games when we played good defenses too.
Q: What's your level of confidence in Kai Forbath?
A: Good. We got the crystal ball on our side.
Q: You had Zach Line last year and he's doing okay for the Saints, had a touchdown yesterday. What led to you moving on from him last year?
A: Well, he had a hip surgery that he wasn't able to go with and he wasn't going to be ready until training camp, so we moved on.
Q: Will the team have the same chip on their shoulder from the 2009 NFC Championship game as the fan base will have?
A: I was actually at the game. We don't think about 2009. We don't think about anything but 2017, now '18.
Q: Do you know who your backup quarterback will be going into this game?
A: I think I know, yes. You'll have to wait until Sunday.
Q: Is there still more you want to see from Sam Bradford going into this week?
A: We had two days of practice and he got about one third of the reps, so we'll just take our time and see how it goes.
Q: You were at the 2009 NFC Championship game?
Q: Just as a fan?
A: Well, my son was coaching in the game. I was sitting in the stands.
Q: What'd you think?
A: I don't know. I was just sitting there observing. I wasn't really rooting for anybody or anything like that.
Q: Did you get crunk or anything like that?
A: No. I had some of those hurricanes.