*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *
After watching the tape I kind of feel like I did last night. We made too many mistakes to win the football game. There was too many times that we shot ourselves in the foot, mistakes in crucial situations and I think that they played well. It's a good learning experience for us and it's important that we move on and not let this linger. I'm disappointed in our performance, but I'm not discouraged about our future. I still believe in this football team and I believe in everything about us. We just have to figure out who we are and stay true to who we are and not let outside influences affect us and just go ahead and play. Questions?
Q: How do you get these guys to move on from this loss?
A: I talked to them this morning about it. Their mood was down as probably it should be, but the good thing about that is they care. If they didn't care, they'd come in here laughing and joking. I've been around teams like that too and this team cares, so it's important to them, but as I told them, it's okay to be upset today. But when they come in – I want them to watch some tape tomorrow on Atlanta [on their own] – and when they come in Wednesday they better be smiling because it's time to get going. The biggest mistake that we make is that we let that loss become more than one. You get beat once, shame on us, but two of them then it's shame on me.
Q: When you have a relatively young team, is it more of a process in regards to becoming more comfortable playing in these big games?
A: No, guys go out and play. We just made some mistakes. We shot ourselves in the foot. We had, I believe, three drives that we started 1st-and-20, puts you behind the eight ball. We let the quarterback get out of the pocket a few times and he made some great throws. We get a pass interference on 3rd-and-16, we jump offsides on a 4th-and-1. It's a little bit uncharacteristic of how we've played. I just think all of these are learning experiences for us. We'll continue to work on it and get better.
Q: When you say you don't want your team to be affected by outside influences, is there anything specific?
A: Just stuff – like I told them last week – we play pretty good defense, play pretty good on special teams, we run the ball pretty good. Now we want to go do this and we're not winning by enough or we're not doing this enough. Just be who we are, that's okay with me. It's who we are right now and that's how we have to play, so let's just focus on us and what we have to do to get better. Last night we missed tackles, I don't know if that's maybe a product of them more so than us. I think that doesn't have anything to do with it being a big game.
Q: When you assess the offensive line, what can you expect from this unit that has been in a flux and hit hard with injuries?
A: My expectations is they go in and do their job. It wasn't all the offensive line last night. There was times when Teddy [Bridgewater] didn't get the ball out on time, there was times that we didn't block them, guys missed blocks and their defensive front did a good job, they did.
Q: Do you need to talk to Teddy Bridgewater at all about biding more time?
A: It's really not about biding time, it's about getting the ball out to the other places. I think when you get in those situations where you're 1st-and-20 and 2nd-and-18 and things like that, these guys can lay their ears back on you pretty good. That's a part of our issue there.
Q: Do you have any concern about the amount of hits Teddy Bridgewater took?
A: Yeah, I have a concern. I have a lot of concerns today, but I'm more concerned about this team and how we go forward.
Q: Did he take deeper drops than usual yesterday?
A: No, actually there were some times we probably called a few more quicks in this ballgame. But there's some times where we're going to take seven and a hitch and get it out, but he's got to get it out. He can't take seven and two hitches, he's got to go seven and a hitch.
Q: You said you were going to have the team come in tomorrow and watch film on Atlanta?
A: No. I said I want them to watch film tomorrow.
Q: Is that what you normally ask the players to do on their day off?
A: A lot of times, yeah, I'll do that. I'll tell them to do that.
Q: Do you think at some point yesterday players started pressing too much and strayed from their assignments?
A: Yeah, it's basically just doing your job. Sometimes when you get into those situations, that's what happens. I think somebody asked me that question about certain games. I said, some guys try to do more than really what they should. I'm not saying that's the case, but it's a typical thing. It's – give me the ball, I'm going to make the three this time.
Q: Are there any positives you can take away from yesterday?
A: It's hard to look at it right now. Yeah, I still like this team, I still like this team. I still believe in this team, regardless of what will be said or what will be written, or our moods today, I believe in this team.
Q: Do you like your defensive line in its execution of your rush plan?
A: Most of the time, but there was a couple of times that we let him get out and the guy [Aaron Rodgers] made some great throws, so that's part of it. Hey, you've got to give him credit, the throw he made for the last touchdown, that was a big time throw. Really the throw that he made on the pass interference, it was a little bit under-thrown, the receiver jumped into our guy, that happens. Both of those two times that happened. And it's not just necessarily the defensive line when we're executing these rush plans, it's other people as well - safeties, linebackers. He came out the other way and the receivers do a good job of taking off and getting down the field, he hit [James] Jones down their sideline, I think, one time. When you're playing a great quarterback you have to be very, very disciplined. You have to be on top of your game and when you make a couple of mistakes, they can bite you.
Q: Are you seeing a pattern in Adrian Peterson's ball handling that's leading to fumbles?
A: Well, he was trying to get some extra yards on that one, I don't think he saw the guy coming from the side. We're just going to have to keep working on it, keeping the ball tucked and five points of pressure.
Q: Do you tell your team that you will face the Packers again and that you control your own destiny?
A: That is January 3rd, I believe and we've got a game this next week. So, no I don't worry about that. We just have to go play this game, we've got to get better each week and each day.
Q: What did you see on Eddie Lacy's 27-yard run, did Linval Joseph play out of technique?
A: That was one where we missed the two tackles? Not really, we're trying to get that one to come back the other way and we whiffed on the tackle and then Harrison [Smith] didn't do a good job on that second part of it. We hit him for maybe a 1-yard gain and it ends up being 27. That's how you give up big runs, usually it's perimeter run force.
Q: There are times where Linval Joseph's assignment isn't to take on the guard?
A: It could be a work-back, yeah.
Q: How much did you feel things swing at the end of the first half?
A: In retrospect, there's a lot of things there. I called timeout after the 2nd-down play, it was 3rd-and-16, because I'm thinking we're going to get the ball back. Maybe you don't do that with a guy like Rodgers. He gets out of the pocket, we get a pass interference and then we get a couple of penalties down in the redzone. I think we had a whole bunch of plays inside the redzone with not much time left. And I could have made a better call on the 3rd down, they ran the corner route the play before and we defended it with one coverage, that's a typical play that they run down there, and we were playing for that and they threw a corner-post on us for the touchdown. Part of football.
Q: On your opening drive were you thinking about going for it on 4th down?
A: I was considering it, yes, but it was like three [yards]. We were trying to punt them down there, that's another part, we didn't do well. We punted the ball in the endzone. We have two penalties on special teams, which we haven't had very many special teams penalties. We haven't had very many offensive penalties. It's just kind of how the day was.
Q: Did you get any feel on why there were more penalties yesterday?
A: No, not really.
Q: Mike Wallace has just two catches in the last four games, is that one of your concerns?
A: My concern is about this football team, not concerned about stats, or individual stats or anything like that. All I'm concerned about is how to get this team better and I'm not going to worry about those kind of things.
Q: Do you have an update on Harrison Smith's knee?
A: Yeah, I don't know. He was here this morning.