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Transcript: Zimmer Addressed the Media Friday

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

After watching the tape, I thought offensively, Case [Keenum] played really well. He made some big plays not only with his feet but with some of the throws he made. We protected well, a couple of sacks, we kind of held the ball too long. Running game, I thought Latavius [Murray] ran the ball good, Jerick [McKinnon] at times did, we need to get him hitting the hole a little bit better now. I thought the offensive line played well, receivers made some great catches. Defensively, actually we played pretty darn good. They made a couple good catches on us. We played pretty well, we played the run game well. Rushed the quarterback good, pretty good on third downs, good in the red zone. In these last few ball games, both sides of the ball have been really effective in the red zone. That's helped us score some points and keep them from getting some points. That and also, we didn't play as well on special teams, we've got to shore that area up so that will be a point of emphasis for us this week.

Q: What do you credit the red zone success to?

A: We've been practicing it a lot more, spent a lot of time with it. I think guys are starting to have a lot more confidence. We've made a big emphasis on third downs. Those third down conversions in the red zone, those are big. We've really made a point of emphasis on that.   

Q: What does it say about that offense that it continues to succeed despite the injuries?

A: We've got a pretty resilient bunch. They play hard together, Pat [Shurmur] does a great job along with the other offensive coaches. They just like to go out and play. We do have some playmakers. [Kyle] Rudolph had a nice game yesterday, he did a good job blocking. David Morgan did a nice job blocking. [Adam] Thielen made some excellent catches, [Stefon] Diggs made some good catch and runs, Jarius Wright, I think we've got a lot of guys there that have some abilities, the quarterback is helping and they're helping the quarterback as well.

Q: Does that resiliency come from the guys that have been here a few years and experienced some of the tough times?

A: Yeah, I was talking to somebody about that earlier today. Maybe it's good we went through some of the issues that we had last year. I think a lot of it is the players themselves, they're pretty tough minded guys. 

Q: What stands out about Case Keenum's ability to move around in the pocket?

A: I think he's got good vision and he's able to see things. He's got some movement skills, he used his legs on one of the third downs. He's moving well in the pocket, he moves side-to-side or where he needs to to get a chance to throw the football.

Q: What happened on the two blocked kicks?

A: Well, the one we muffed the snap, we dropped the snap. The other one, they probably did something they shouldn't have done.

Q: Are they allowed to have guys run through the long snapper?

A: Can't hit him in the head or the neck, can't hit him in the head or the neck. 

Q: The run game had some long runs but also some negative plays, what do you attribute that to?

A: Yeah, there was. Man, I've got to figure out how to say this without getting in trouble. They were really crowding the line of scrimmage. Really, really crowding the line of scrimmage. I'll leave it at that.

Q: How many plays do you end up sending in to the NFL from that game just with questions?

A: I don't know yet. I can only send ten, but they told me I can send as many as I want. So we'll see.

Q: Multiple batches of ten?

A: I don't know.

Q: Is there a frustration with the kicking right now?

A: We have to get better in that area. I don't think it was really the kicker. He didn't really get an opportunity. Like I said, the one we didn't get the ball caught and put on the ground good enough and the other one got blocked. I don't really think it was him. We had a couple poor punts. We had a couple good punts. We didn't cover very well, well enough anyways. In general, we have to be better special teams.

Q: Is Case Keenum still a week-to-week thing or has he solidified himself as the guy?

A: He'll be the starter next week, yes.

Q: What type of challenges does having two tight ends in the game present for opposing defenses?

A: It balances a lot of formations. Typically, you don't get a lot of nickel against that kind of thing. Really, there are five or six different formations you can get and the protections are when you're throwing the ball, it's hard to predetermine what the protection is going to be. It's kind of a hit and miss operation. You can use them as a fullback. You can use guys as wide outs. You can put the receivers on the same side and the tight ends on the same side. It's hard to know the kind of formation you're going to get before you get in there. 

Q: Do you think Latavius Murray is finding a groove?

A: Yes, I thought he played well. He ran the ball efficiently this week. I think he continues to get better as we get going.

Q: What stands out to you about Pat Shurmur's plays from week-to-week?

A: I mean he's done a good job. Some of it is the same plays, different formations. The thing I liked about it, we've done a lot of different things out of the same looks. You take the play on the goal line when we were in London and they handed the ball to Jerick [McKinnon] when we were on the goal line. The next week we have a boot off of the exact same look. We're starting to do a lot of things off of the same look that defenses prepare for that look and they get something else.

Q: Do you feel like you can catch teams off guard in that situation?

A: Yes. I don't know so much about shorter week. Part of it is what can you execute in that short of time, but you're always going to put a couple little wrinkles in there.

Q: How much is your involvement in the offensive side?

A: Little bit here. Pat and I have a good talk about things and things that I see. I just try and help him with as much as I can with thoughts and ideas that they do, but they're doing a great job. I'm not going to mess with them much.

Q: With a three game lead in the division, what's your message to the team?

A: It's really the same as seven games ago. Figure out how to beat this team this week, go about our business the same way, make sure we stay who we are, understand who we are as a football team, and then go out and execute on Sundays. We're not looking down the road or anything like that. The more wins we can stack up right now will help us in the end.

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