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Transcript: Zimmer Addressed the Media Friday

*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *

Alright, good morning. It's nice to get out here with these guys, get out on the field again, get a little football done and get a chance to look at some of the new guys. It's kind of exciting for them, I know. It's fun.

Q: Can you update us on your eye surgeries? I guess you've had eight. How are you doing, Coach?

A: I had one April 17 and April 25. So, hopefully we're done. We'll see.

Q: Rick said today that you had two in the past two weeks.

A: I had two in eight days, the 17th and 25th. *(Reporter: OK, I need to get better at math.) *Yeah, I went to Illinois State. I'm good at math.

Q: Is there a certain time period that you hope it'll be restored, your vision and all that?

A: Yeah, I hope now, but I don't think it's going to happen. Who knows?

Q: What do you like about Rodney Adams, and what specifically do you like to see in a college player that makes you think that they can potentially be a kickoff returner?

A: He did it good in college, but his run after catch in college was always really good. His kickoff returns, lower-body strength, I think that's always important for those guys, vision, and he's got good size. He seems like a pretty smart kid. He was here on the Top 30. So, yeah, I like him.

Q: Where do you see him potentially fitting into the offense? Do you see him more as an outside receiver or inside receiver, because I think he did both at South Florida?

A: Yeah, he did both. It's way too early for that.

Q: It has been reported that the Vikings have interest in Michael Floyd? Is that correct, and what could he bring to the team?

A: I don't know. You'd have to talk to Rick (Spielman) about that. 

Q: With Dalvin Cook joining Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon, how do you see the backfield shaking out and is it an open competition?

A: Well, yeah. It'll always be an open competition, but with the veteran guys we have, we've been doing Phase II. And he hasn't been working yet, Latavius hasn't. So, we've got a long, long way to go before we make any determinations on any of that.

Q: What are your early impressions of Dalvin Cook, granted it's not much, but to see him in person?

A: It's a walkthrough, but he showed acceleration, good feet, good vision, a lot of the same things we saw on tape. (He's) a good kid, seems smart in the blitz pickup drill they had down there.

Q: Just describe what it's like to be back on the football field.

A: Yeah, it's fun. You felt like when we finally went out here in Phase II and got to be around the players a little bit, to me, that's kind of when the new season started. Everybody said after the Super Bowl, but that's when you get out there with the guys, you get a chance to start coaching them again. Yeah, that's the fun part.

Q: You have a couple guys on the roster – Adam Thielen and Marcus Sherels – who turned a tryout here into an NFL career. Do you tell that to the guys here that anything is possible?

A: Yeah, we actually showed them a little video last night, and those two guys were on it quite a bit. But yeah, when you go back and you look at success stories in the NFL, a lot of it is getting a chance. A lot of it's getting the right fit. You see players move from one team to another, getting into a right fit, just getting a foot in the door, and guys who have the perseverance and wherewithal to be able to hang in there against all the odds. 

Q: When you broke away in January, you talked about doing some soul searching. What did you discover, and how do you think you'll be a better coach this year?

A: Well, I think there are a number of things. I met with a lot of people this offseason, a number of head coaches. I talked to them about how I can do things better. I'll just leave it at that. I won't go into specifics.

Q: How about something in general, maybe a tone you want to set right away?

A: Yeah, I think one of the things that … Well, just going into last season, part of my whole goal was I thought we had a pretty good football team, and I wanted to make sure we got to the first game healthy. And so, maybe I was a little bit too cautious in some of those things. We're going to get back to being the Vikings, and we're going to be blue collar and do things the way things that got us to be when we played teams, that they respected the way that we played.

Q: Will practices be a little more physical?

A: Quite honestly, I don't care how long practice goes. If the schedule says two hours, and I'm not happy about it, we'll go 2:30. I don't care. We're going to do it until I feel good about it.

Q: Ready for some pushback?

A: No, they're not going to push back.

Q: When you were looking for a running backs coach, what was it about Kennedy Polamalu that caught your eye?

A: I've been really impressed with Kennedy in the short time (he has been here). I got the chance to go on a couple visits with him and hear him talk to the players, talk to the coaches, his demeanor, the way he does it. He had, being in college, he recruited most of these guys anyway, but he's very smart, hard worker. He has got a really good personality. He has got a tough mentality, which is good, and … I better stop there. I was thinking something, but I shouldn't say it. No, I like him a lot.

Q: When you have a back that needs to work on ball security, obviously coaching helps. What specifically can a coach do there?

A: A lot of times it's about, one of the things we talked about in the meeting, five points of pressure, making sure the ball is high and tight. Tiki Barber had an issue with it a while back and corrected it. A lot of it is points of emphasis, making sure you're doing it correctly, and understanding when you get into a crowd, you've got to put two hands on the ball. * *

Q: In Phoenix, you talked about not wanting Teddy Bridgewater to go anywhere else when his contract expires. Do you think anything has changed with his option not picked up? Are you still confident he'll be here past 2017?

A: Yeah, I love Teddy Bridgewater. The guy is working his rear end off, continues to fight every single day. Everything about him is, when he's rehabbing and doing the work he has to do, it's the exact same way he approaches life. I'm excited. I'm probably more optimistic now about him eventually playing than I have been at any point in time, but he has still got a long way to go.

Q: What challenges do you think Bucky Hodges can present to defense with his size and physical skills?

A: He's a big, top-shelf guy. He has been able to go over the top of guys and get the ball. He has got great hand-eye coordination. It's going to be a little different for him, playing more of a traditional H-back role, but he's a big guy. He's 6-6, 250, and he's going to have to get in the weight room and get stronger. But he runs a 4.5-(second 40-yard dash). He's got some work to do.

Q: When you have guys who wrestled in high school or college, what does that trigger in your mind to hear that they have that background?

A: Most wrestlers … It's tough. These guys, when you go out there and you're battling three periods, and it's man on man, not only is it a lot about technique and competition and you against him, but it's also about balance and body control. But at the end of the day, it comes down to a lot about "I'm going to whip his butt, or he's going to whip mine."

Q: The past couple years, you had all the draft picks signed before rookie minicamp started, none so far. Does it make any difference at all in any way?

A:  That's not my job description. Everything get slotted now. So, it's not a big deal. 

Q: Where is your confidence on the offensive line now compared to where you left it last year?

A: I don't know yet, I mean, we haven't been out on the field. I believe it's a lot better but we'll have to see. Proof is in the pudding.

Q: What do you like most about the additions to the offense, either through free agency or the draft?

A: Well, I think I said this, I don't know maybe I didn't say it. Like with [Mike] Remmers, Remmers is a veteran guy that is going to change things up all the time on you, he's not going to give you the same sets, the same things. He's a smart guy, he's a tough guy. Riley Reiff is really the same way. They've done a great job in the weight room so far. They've done a great job in the one week of Phase II that we've had. I think (Pat) Elflein is the same way, he's going to be that kind of guy. If we're not the most athletic, maybe we'll be the toughest and the most physical. 

Q: You talked a lot about getting the right mentality on the offensive line. How much have you been able to tell that they're progressing in the right direction?

A: You can't, really. They do have background of what they've put on tape so far and kind of their personality that you know. I guess you kind of go on that. It still comes down to, 'I've got to block that guy and us two have to block those two.' I mean, that's what it comes down to at the end of the day. Get your pads down and come off the ball. If we're going to make a mistake, we're going to make it full speed and aggressive.

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