*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *
After watching the tape I thought it was a good team win yesterday. I think we did some good things really in most of the areas. We continued to play like a smart football team, we continued to be pretty good in the crucial situations of the game. Yesterday, the time of possession at one point was 31-21, that's important to me. I talked to the team last week about having runs and completions. We had 20 completions and 39 runs which adds up to 59, and so any time you have 59 of those kind of plays, it's big. We didn't have negative plays on offense – well, we had the interception I guess, so that's kind of negative – but for the most part we did some good things. And defensively I thought after the first run, I thought we played better. We were able to get some turnovers, one of their things was that their whole philosophy was about the ball, so I talked to our team this week about beating them at their own game, taking the ball away and taking care of it with us, so we were able to do that. Questions?
Q: After all the time off last year, did you expect Adrian Peterson to be this good this season?
A: Yes. I just know he's a really special player and I just think I figured that he'd be pretty good, yeah.
Q: Can you explain how he continually dominates the fourth quarter?
A: Part of it, like the first drive we had five carries for 10 yards, but we continued to push and continued to push and guys keep grinding and like I said, the time of possession was big in this ballgame and you could see their defense on the field a long time and our guys seemed to get a little bit stronger. And then Adrian [Peterson], he gets lathered up and he goes.
Q: When you speak to the team after the game, do you speak to the team similar to your introductory remarks in a press conference or do you say there is still a lot to work on?
A: I try to do both. I try to tell them the things we did good and why we won the game. Honestly a lot of the things I tell the team I tell you guys – not everything of course. But then I also talk to them about things we have to do better if we're going to continue to do the things that we want to get done.
Q: What are some of the things you need to do better?
A: That's one of the things I won't tell you. They know.
Q: Would you like to restrict Adrian Peterson's workload or have you not had that luxury since a lot of these games have been close?
A: Well, they've all been pretty close. I think the Oakland game, he breaks off a big run to kind of open up the game, this game when he scored the touchdown and made it a three-score game, he probably wouldn't have went back in after that but they've been pretty close. That's just kind of the style where we're playing right now and it's really who we are and I'm not going to apologize for that.
Q: Do you think you will eventually have to adjust on the fly if defenses gear to stop Adrian Peterson?
A: Well, we may. One of the things about football is being able to adjust to a lot of different things. Not every week is the same, sometimes it's the opponent you're playing, sometimes it's injuries, sometimes it's the weather, there's a lot of different things that go into those plans. I do feel like any time you have a north in your division – NFC North or AFC North – this is a pretty good ingredient going forward when the weather starts getting colder and things like that. And it's a little bit about a mindset too. Since I've walked in here it's about preaching toughness and discipline and accountability and being a smart team and that's kind of who we are right now. The one thing that I've always admired about my dad was that he would change year to year based on the team that he had. This is kind of who we are now.
Q: Is the downfield blocking something that your skill position players have really bought into?
A: Yeah, it really is. It really is about the team. I've always preached the team and I know they're not always getting all the catches that they want to get, but they understand we're pretty good running the football and they're a part of it as well. Those guys go in there and they've got to block safeties all the time and corners. This week was a tough matchup because they have so many guys in the box, so we needed them to be part of it and the last run that Adrian [Peterson] had, Rhett [Ellison] made a great block, he basically blocked two guys, so the tight ends are doing a good job and that's who we are and they have to take part ownership in it as well. I think that's a good thing.
Q: What made the touchdown run a great call from Norv Turner?
A: Well, they were pretty much loading up to stop the inside run. We had been pounding it pretty good and I don't think we ran that play all day. It was a way to get on the perimeter and maybe pinch them down inside. So once you've got by the initial wave, it was pretty easy and he did a pretty nice job hitting the crease and then down the sideline.
Q: When defensive guys talk about imposing their will on a team, what does that mean to you?
A: It kind of means different things, but I think to me what it would mean would be not giving them an inch. It's, "Hey, we're going to out-man you today."
Q: How do you feel Antone Exum Jr. did yesterday?
A: I thought he did pretty good. For the most part he was in the right place. The biggest thing that we did yesterday defensively is we executed the game plan of trying to take care of Julio Jones. I thought we did that well and he was obviously part of it because he was playing in the back end, so I think he did a good job.
Q: Who would have been the next safety if another injury occurred?
A: Well, we didn't have any.
Q: Would it have been Terence Newman?
A: I don't know. We'll leave that alone until it happens.
Q: How often have you had to remind the defense to 'not give an inch' or have they developed that mindset?
A: I think they're developing an attitude, if that's what you're asking. I think part of it is the things I say to them when I meet with them – 'Hey, it's an easy game, don't let your guy catch the ball, in pass coverage don't let your guy catch the ball, period.' It's things like that I guess.
Q: It looked like around the Bye Week the offense started running the ball more and lining up under center, is that just recognizing what your team does best and doing more of it?
A: A little bit of it, yeah. As coaches there is always things that we want to do, but it really comes down to what can the players do and what can they do best? That was a little bit of it, yeah.
Q: How does Anthony Barr have a knack for always making a big play?
A: The one thing that's changed from this year to last year, last year Anthony [Barr] was a heck of an athlete that worked real hard at being smart and doing things like we ask him to do. This year Anthony is a lot more vocal, he's a lot more intense, maybe, on the field. I think that's a good thing.
Q: You mentioned to your team yesterday how much you wanted that win, why was yesterday's game so important to you?
A: It really didn't have anything to do with Atlanta; it was important to me that we were better than we were a year ago. We have a chance to, if we win this ballgame, we'd be 8-3, we have a chance to continue to move forward. I don't know, we lost last week, there was a lot of things. It really had nothing to do with Atlanta, I'm way past that.
Q: Do you feel like blocking and pass catching this was one of Kyle Rudolph's best games?
A: Yeah, I think it was. They were doing some things that allowed us to get to the tight end a little bit in the passing game. Also, he's kind of made a commitment to understand that he can be a big factor in helping us run the football, as well. Kyle [Rudolph] is a very conscientious kid, obviously he's kind of a receiver at heart, he wants to catch the ball like everybody does, he's kind of bought in to the concept as well about, this is who we are and I don't know when my opportunity is going to come, but when it does, I have to take advantage of it. He's starting to do some of that. The best one to me was the one he ran on our sideline, the outside-breaking route, we'd been running, I think I said it yesterday in the press conference, we'd been running that route and he was kind of iffy about it. He went out there and beat the guy to the outside and Teddy [Bridgewater] made a nice throw and he double tapped the sideline. Those are the things where he's progressing and even in the passing game he's progressing with a lot of things of continuing to run through the route as opposed to look, things that we're trying to teach him to do. I do think that was a long answer for yes.
Q: Do you see Teddy Bridgewater getting into a rhythm earlier in games as a result of him getting the ball out quicker?
A: It's really not so much of a quicker passing game, what we're trying to do is, it's important that we start fast. This week, he hit the completion on 3rd down, we didn't get the 1st down, but then the next drive we took it and moved down the field and were able to get points. That part is important, the more that we can – even the Green Bay game we were able to get up 6-3, or something like that, the more stress that we can put on the opponents by moving the ball, controlling the ball and scoring helps the defense, it helps really everything.
Q: Is there a next step you'd like to see Anthony Barr take in his development?
A: I think he's progressing really well. We can continue to do more things with him to make him more dominant. There's a few things that he can do better as well and we'll talk to him about those.* *
Q: Is Teddy Bridgewater spreading the ball on the early scoring drive him taking what the defense is giving him?
A: Each week we've got a list of things that we're trying to call that we feel we're going to be good against, sometimes it comes up that way and sometimes it doesn't. We're trying to be diverse with the things that we're trying to do so that they don't – obviously everybody knows that we're going to hand the ball to Adrian [Peterson] but in the passing game we want to be able to have some quicks, have some shots down the field, have some crossing routes, have some double-sided combination routes, it's just kind of how it comes out throughout the course of the game.
Q: In those situations does Teddy Bridgewater have the option to audible into a pass?
A: Yeah, sometimes.
Q: In the game yesterday did Teddy Bridgewater see some things that he changed?
A: Yeah, there was times yesterday that he did based on looks. Not every play does he have the option to change, but he has the option to change a lot of plays. Some of them are runs to runs, pass to pass, pass to run, there's a lot.* *
Q: Was this the first time since Anthony Barr's injury you felt you were able to turn him loose?
A: I felt better about it this week; about him using him hand more. For two games he basically played one-handed. He is feeling much better now and we're always trying to think of ways we can continue to use him.* *
Q: Do you expect Andrew Sendejo to be out awhile or is it a minor injury?
A: I don't know. He had an MRI today, I don't know if I've got the results back yet.
Q: Is there a possibility of pulling Anthony Harris up off the practice squad?
A: It's a possibility.
Q: When was the last time you saw a clip called, and how much did it swing the momentum?
A: The officials are 10 yards back on that one, so it's not like they're way down the field. Typically, now where they've got the umpire and the referee, they're back here, so it's hard to see anything where they would have saw it on the goal line. It was a good call. I think because of where the umpire was lined up at that time it was an easier thing to see, but it was a good call. I don't want to comment on officials anymore.