*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *
Alright, Happy New Year. You guys look bright-eyed. You're all good? You didn't go out last night? Ok, go ahead, shoot away.
Q: What did you get out of the November game against the Packers that you think can help you facing them a second time?
A: I don't know, we'll find out Sunday I guess. I thought they played well, I think you can get a chance to see matchups, guys on guys a little bit, but we'll have to play better.
Q: Did Linval Joseph do anything today in practice?
Q: What about Danielle Hunter?
A: He didn't do anything today.
Q: Is there a chance you may be without Linval Joseph on Sunday?
A: There's a chance I could be a jockey.
Q: Even though he didn't practice all week, does the fact that it's for the division change anything regarding his status?
A: It could, it could.
Q: Does Mike McCarthy calling plays instead of Tom Clements change much for you on defense?
A: Yeah, well he's been calling for a few weeks now. We watched all of those tapes and obviously the ones before. The offense is very similar, it's just different – I don't know what the best way is to say it – different tendencies I guess now.
Q: With you and Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden both getting into the playoffs, what did you learn from Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati and how did that experience make you ready to be a head coach?
A: I learned a lot from Marvin. We do a lot of things that he still implements. A lot of things I do with the team are very similar. And Marvin and I have been close for a long time. We sat in defensive meetings almost all of the time and talked about a lot of different things, but I still talk to him a lot about things that happen during the season, about how he handles things.
*Q: Did he give his assistants a lot of freedom based on running stuff they saw fit? *
Q: What has been your assessment of Kenrick Ellis so far in his time here?
A: Good, he's done good. Practiced good today. He's a big, physical guy, has got some athletic abilities. It took him a little while to get the techniques of what we try to do from where he was, but he's doing good.
Q: What do you see as the main differences between what he brings and what Linval Joseph brings to the table?
A: They're different guys. Linval is more powerful probably, but he's a big guy, too. I think Linval has been in the system a little bit longer. I don't know, it's hard to compare guys, really.
Q: Do you expect them to lean on Eddie Lacy in this game?
A: I would anticipate that they're going to try and run the ball on us; they did good last time, but you still have to handle [Aaron] Rodgers and the receivers and tight end. I think they'll try to have a balance.
Q: With their offensive line banged up, how much do you look at specific matchups versus their blocking scheme when getting after the quarterback?
A: We always look at matchups the best we can. I'm assuming that they'll have most of their guys back, but we look at matchups all the time, try to get favorable matchups for us just like they do.
Q: Does that change the way who you rush and what spot a player might be in on the defensive line?
A: Sometimes, yeah. How we attack guys and how we rush against certain guys. We always do that, too.
Q: What do you think of Eric Kendricks and his rookie season?
A: I think he's played good. For a young guy, some of the things that he's done, come in and be a three-down linebacker, and for the most part been healthy all year. But he's a really excitable kid, tries to do everything the right way, runs around, he plays fast, he's got good instincts.
Q: Did any injuries up front impact him at all in terms of who was playing in front of him?
Q: Has Danielle Hunter exceeded your expectations in any way?
A: Probably. We knew he was a good athlete, we just didn't know how fast he would progress and he's progressed quickly.
Q: Is he getting by just based on athleticism or has he progressed on the mental side and technique side of things?
A: No, he's doing much better in technique. He's starting to combine his athletic ability with the technique, but he's a real, smart kid. Sometimes he doesn't cut it loose when he could because he's thinking too much, but that hasn't been as much of a factor recently as it was earlier in the year.
Q: What do you have to do to minimize the big plays after the Giants had two big ones last week?
A: The two big plays, one was a screen and we didn't play that very good, two guys got knocked down. And the other one, I'm trying to remember what it was. I don't know, we've got to cover them better. I can't remember. All I've done is look at Green Bay for six days.
Q: How did you practice this week in terms of quality? Was it a good practice week?
A: Yeah I think it was, it was pretty sharp. I didn't have to do a lot of ranting and raving, so it was pretty good.
Q: Have you been monitoring the focus level and energy level especially leading up to a game like this?
A: Yeah, we seem pretty focused. I think guys know what's at stake. I think they understand all that, but we've had good practices and not played well. Typically when you practice good, your play good, but I think we've practiced good this week, I think we've been sharp, we're throwing the ball well, we're getting guys blocked in the right places, running good routes, defensively they're on top of the checks and things that we have going on.
Q: When you guys were looking at Stefon Diggs, how much of what he did in big games in his college career stick out to you?
A: Always, you always look at the bigger games even though you probably shouldn't, but you put more emphasis on those kind of games than you do in the so-called not so big games. But it's the course of the career and everything else, but he's been playing good the last few weeks.
Q: What's been your approach this week with such a big game?
A: Pretty similar to how I am every week. Here's what we have to do to win, this is what we didn't do good last time. I'm usually pretty on top of them, so that hasn't changed.
Q: With the exception of the 49ers game, how pleased are you with how your team has battled on road this season compared to last year?
A: Well, we've played good for the most part on the road and I've said what I keep saying all along, it's not really about where you play, it's how you play. We've played pretty good wherever we've been for the most part. We didn't win them all, but we played pretty good, so it's more about performing, performing under pressure, performing with the crowd noise and all the different things and that's kind of how we approach it. It doesn't really matter where we play, it's how we play.