*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *
Getting ready for a really good football team coming up. Another game on the road, another NFC game. They're very talented defensively. Very good at running the football offensively. A lot of skilled guys so it will be a heck of a test for us again.
Q: You've coached a couple of their guys in Captain Munnerlyn and Matt Kalil. Does that give you some advantage in trying to scheme against them and plan against them?
A: No, not really. I mean they coached with [Mike] Remmers so it is kind of a wash.
Q: What are some of the keys to have had success facing Cam Newton?
A: I've got good players. They played those games well. Each game is different, though. Every time you play someone it's a different deal. He is a very, very talented athlete. They're doing a few different things with him now. He's got a very strong arm. Competitive. They're good on third downs. They use him a lot in the running game so it makes it difficult.
Q: From your experience, why do some teams handle success and other teams have trouble handling success?
A: I think it's human nature. Some guys get full of themselves and go from there. Everybody is telling them how good they are and they listen. But it goes the other way, too. Everybody tells you how bad you are and you listen. It's really human nature to back off of things.
Q: Is Cam Newton one of those quarterbacks that it's important to get after early?
A: I don't know. With each quarterback, you pick your spots and try to get them off rhythm. I don't know there is any guy that you wouldn't try to get off rhythm early. Heck, he's a great player. Best player in the League two years ago.
Q: Do you see him feeding off when he starts running the ball early and having some success there, do you think that feeds into how he's throwing the ball?
A: I don't know. I don't know how he reacts to those things.
Q: How much is Case Keenum's movement from his athleticism and how much is it the sense of knowing where guys are coming from?
A: Some of it is vision. Some of it is the feel, having a feel in a pocket. Understanding that sometimes coverages dictate that you can run. I think it's just a feel.
Q: Is that part of reading the defense quickly?
A: Yes, a little bit. You get back and as your vision starts looking, you feel a little bit on one side or the other. You move to a step here or there. Everybody works on those things, but he's done a good job with it.
Q: How much does it impact a defense when you have a guy like Christian McCaffrey where you're just not sure where he is going to line up from play-to-play?
A: Yes, it's hard. It's hard. They put him in a lot of different places and move him around. He's a good player. Sometimes he's a back, sometimes he's a receiver. It makes it difficult.
Q: How different are they with Greg Olsen and without Greg Olsen?
A: Well, Olsen is a great player. [Ed] Dickson has a lot of catches, too. They both can run. They might use him a little bit more opened up formations with Olsen than with Dickson. They move him all over the place, too.
Q: How does Cam Newton look compared to the past seasons?
A: I think throughout the course of the season everybody has their little ups and downs a little bit. I see the things that he does really good and that's what we try to defend. He throws the ball great down the field. He moves in the pocket well. He runs good, on the move he throws well. I don't know. I can't tell you about all that. I know the guy that went to the Super Bowl a couple years ago.
Q: Since Case Keenum took over the game in Pittsburgh, from then until now, have you noticed a difference in preparation?
A: Not really. Maybe a little bit more assertive at practice. He's out there leading the team, so he might be little more assertive, but Case is kind of an energetic guy anyways. That's kind of how he always is.
Q: In the games when their defense is playing really well, what are they doing?
A: Most of the times they are stopping the run or affecting the quarterback. They're very high on blitz percentage on first, second, and third downs, so they pressure the quarterback. [Luke] Kuechly and [Thomas] Davis they run around, their two inside tackles are hard to move off the ball and the ends are very good pass rushers. They use [Kurt] Coleman down in the box quite a bit and these two corners get up and challenge you. They give you a lot different looks. Stature wise they are a little bit like our defense; 4-3 base that does a good job with the pressures and the things that they do. If they get the run stopped, then they can really try to affect the quarterback.
Q: There was a lot of talk about the Monday night game and how physical it was. Do you talk to team about what the fine line of physicality is?
A: I talk to them about playing clean. I didn't see the second half of that game, so I don't know exactly what happened or what was going on. We talk to them about playing clean. We try to play by the rules. We try to do things the right way. We talk to them about how you have to put a target on the receiver where you want to hit him legally, and same thing on running backs and quarterbacks. We don't want to be a high penalized team.
Q: Is this team's defense comparable to the best one you've coached before or are they better?
A: Each one is a little bit different. I've been around some great defenses, great players. I really like this group. I think we have a lot of good playmakers. But I like, probably more so, I like really the confidence they play with and the desire to compete each Sunday. This group really likes to go out and compete and prove that they are good.
Q: What's been the key to your defense? You've played high powered offenses and held them to nine or ten points.
A: I'm sure we've given up points to teams who score points too. We played good that day, that's really about it. Typically when you cover good, you don't give up big plays.