Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Looking forward to Sunday, getting back home, another division game. This is an important game for us; we need to go out and play well and get our fans going and get some excitement back. Questions?
Q: In the past few weeks, have you had to alter what you've done defensively based on injuries?
A: We come up with game plans and then we throw out things that some guys can't do or try to change it up a little bit, but nothing much.
Q: Do you like that the winter is finally here?
A: It's not supposed to be that cold on Sunday. I kind of like it when it's snowy and nasty. We'll see.
Q: Do you like the setup of a run of three straight cold weather games to close out the regular season?
A: Yeah, next few weeks it'll be a little chilly, but I kind of like that.
*Q: When you and the medical staff are trying to evaluate a player who is borderline on his ability to play, how much do you consider the player's input? *
A: Well, we take a little bit into it, but the most important thing is that we're not going to put a guy that's not capable of playing out on the field. I'm pretty honest with them, I expect them to be pretty honest with me. I don't doubt guys when they say that can't play or they can play.
Q: How do you think you have done in turning TCF Bank Stadium into a home field advantage in your two-year stay at the stadium?
A: The last two games weren't too good. I don't know, it's the only place I know. I think we feel comfortable there and I feel comfortable there.
*Q: What's the story behind the Hot Wheels being given to the defensive backs? Was that from you or another coach? *
A: Wasn't me.
Q: Do you know much about it?
A: That's the first I've heard of it. [Defensive Backs Coach Jerry Gray] He does a lot of things in his room that I don't know about.
Q: Did you do that as a defensive backs coach?
A: No, we had belts. No, I'm kidding on that, really, I'm kidding.
Q: What have you seen from the Bears defense and how they are playing recently?
A: Yeah, they do a great job. They're very stout, they don't give up a lot of big plays. I wouldn't say they're a huge pressure team, but they have the two corners, both are pretty good guys. Young safety [Adrian] Amos, is a physical, downhill guy. Linebackers can all run. They have some thickness up front, which makes it difficult plus the outside linebackers. I think, 99 [Lamarr Houston], he's playing really well right now.
Q: Do you think they are buying more into what Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio wants them to look like?
A: Yeah, I don't think they've had a tough transition at all moving to the 3-4. Obviously they've brought some guys in that they can help them there. Willie Young is playing good on the outside, he's had some good sacks; he's obviously a good rusher, we've known him for a while. But I don't think they've had a tough transition. Really when you transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4, it's really about the front. There's very little to do with the backend at all. I've had to do it before.
Q: Did Lamarr Houston and Willie Young not play much in your last game?
A: No, they didn't play a lot.
Q: Is that a new challenge this week?
A: Yeah, both of those two guys are pretty good. [Pernell] McPhee, if he plays, he's pretty darn good; he's a load.
Q: What is it about Terence Newman's makeup that allows him to be so versatile?
A: He's a professional, he's smart, he cares about his job, he works hard, he's a good athlete.
Q: Did you notice that early on in his career?
A: Yeah, Terence is a great kid. He is top of the line, as first class kid that you ever want to meet. He's always been very open to coaching, he's always wanted to work really hard. He'll take every rep if you let him, even at his age. When he was younger, I remember the first time I talked to him was at the combine. I think I asked him would he tackle anybody. He said, "Oh, yeah."
Q: You still call him a kid?
A: Yeah, I call them all kids. To me they are.
Q: Is Anthony Harris ahead of the curve compared to other undrafted rookies you've been around?
A: I don't think it has anything to do with drafted or undrafted. It's about being able to pick up concepts and understand checks and formations and things like that. He's ahead of some guys, all of the guys are different. He's a smart kid. He seems to have a good understanding.
Q: How helpful is Brian Robison's approach and workman-like attitude?
A: He's really actually doing really good. We're asking him to do some different things. I thought he played well last week. He continues to do a good job. I'm glad we have him.
Q: To be able to jump inside like he does, what about him has made that work?
A: Well, sometimes in the passing downs, sometimes quickness inside helps a little bit because you can make guys move a little bit more on the guards. He's a really good athlete, he's quick, has got good strength and he's smart – that helps.
Q: Do you take into account the playoffs and trying to be healthy during that time when you play these games late in the season?
A: No, we take into account Sunday against the Bears at TCF. That's all we take into account.