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Transcript: Zimmer Addressed the Media Monday

*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *

Good afternoon. After watching the tape I still feel pretty much the same as yesterday. It was a good team win. I think offensively, Teddy [Bridgewater] in his last two weeks has completed 16 out of 18 on third downs, not all for conversions, but those completions add up. We moved the ball well, we converted on third downs and we scored touchdowns. And defensively I thought we hung in there fairly well on some of the things we do. We've got to shore up some things on special teams. We've had too many long kickoff returns in the last three weeks, we got the onside kick, so we've got to fix those things. I want to give a little shout-out to the University of Minnesota. I know this could be our last home game there, but they've done a great job for these two years – it's gone by fast actually. Our fans have been great, hopefully they'll be great again Sunday night and go out the right way outdoors, so it'll be fun.

Q: Why do you think Teddy Bridgewater has been so good on third down these past few weeks?

A: I don't know. He's felt good going into both of these last two ballgames. He's felt really good about the plays, the things, and I think maybe sometimes in the past he saw some things that were covered that really had a chance to still get open and he's throwing those.

Q: Have there been any adjustments in terms of the game plan to get him going a little?

A: Not really. In every game we've had shots and quicks and crossing routes and deep outs and they get called. I think he's always seeing the coverage the right way, it's just getting the ball to the right guy all of the time.

Q: Is he feeling better about changing the protections for the offensive line compared to earlier in the year?

A: I think he feels good with it. I don't know that it's different earlier in the year. They caught us on a couple yesterday.  

Q: Do you see any issues with trying to balance this recently good passing attack with your running game?

A: I don't think there will be. We want to run the football and we want to be efficient throwing the ball. I don't particularly see us as a team that's going to be throwing the ball every play. That's just not who we are built how we are right now. I think you can see when we're effective throwing the football how much better we can be offensively.

Q: Were you upset after Robbie Gould's field goal yesterday because you wished you had accepted the holding call on third down the play before?

A: Yes, I was mad at myself. I made the decision based on a scared defensive coach, "Oh, they might get a first down here." 

Q: Is there any positive or hidden value you can take from playing some of the younger guys and getting them experience in wake of the all of the injuries?

A: I think it's good for this football team when they see guys that haven't played a lot step in and perform the way they've performed. I think it gives everybody confidence that the guys can go in and be effective. There's no, "Whoa, it's me because somebody is hurt." I think they have confidence in really what we're trying to do defensively, so I think it's good for the team. Sure, we'd like to have those other guys back in there because they're better players at this particular point in time.

Q: Did you see improvement in the communication area this past week compared to the Arizona game as the young guys got their second starts?

A: Yeah, we still had a couple mistakes. The touchdown to [Alshon] Jeffery was a mistake, but it was probably less of that this week than there was the week before, yes. 

Q: How good does it feel to be so close to a playoff berth?

A: I don't know, I don't feel too good about it yet. Our goal really isn't to get into the playoffs. Our goal is to win the division first.

Q: What specifically did you like about the execution on Teddy Bridgewater's touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs?

A: The coverage that he got was one – he has options in it, but he saw the guy playing bump and run on Diggs and he knew Diggs was going to the corner and that's a confident throw. There was a couple other safer places he could have made the throw, but he decided to try to hit the big one. I think that play probably shows as much about his confidence level right now.

Q: Why do you think Stefon Diggs has been so successful in the yards after the catch, did you see that trait in him at Maryland?

A: He was a pretty good punt returner, too. He didn't do it much later in his career, but he was a good punt returner. You saw that run after catch ability; he's shifty because he's got great stop and starts, he's tough and he's competitive. I probably didn't know the determination like he had on the second touchdown, I guess it was, where he said, 'Hey, I'm getting in the endzone.' I know he's that kind of kid, but maybe the competitive part of the run at the end was something that I hadn't seen as much when we drafted him.

Q: What's your level of optimism in getting Linval Joseph, Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr back for Sunday's game?

A: I think there's a good possibility. I mean, they're getting really close, we'll just see.

Q: Did Adrian Peterson get his ankle checked out any more today?

A: Yeah, he will be alright. Sugs [Eric Sugarman] said he's like Rubber Man.

Q: With Linval Joseph was he a game-time decision or did you make that call on Saturday?

A: We knew Saturday - he was close. Sometimes there's a possibility that you go in there and you re-injure it when it's not quite totally there, but he was close.

Q: How did you think Anthony Harris did in his second start?

A: He did OK – missed a tackle, had a couple of misalignments. The thing about Anthony [Harris], if you tell him where he supposed to be, he's going to be there 99 percent of the time. During the game we made some adjustments and he didn't just adjust as quickly because all week he practiced a certain way. Those are things he's going to have to learn to be able to figure out.

Q: Do the defensive linemen read and call the line stunts on the field or is that a play call from the coach?

A: We give them a few things to call and then based off of formations and different things they have the option to call some other ones.

Q: Did you see much of the Josh Norman/Odell Beckham, Jr. battle in New York?

A: I watched the tape, I didn't see the close-up stuff of all of the what happened. I don't know.

Q: Did you say anything to Jerick McKinnon after he scored and got flagged for excessive celebration?

A: I thought it was [Stefon] Diggs, so I said something to him.

Q: Since it was Jerick McKinnon's first touchdown was that excusable?

A: Well, [Stefon] Diggs got the brunt of it. I didn't know it was [Jerick] McKinnon. I'll fix that tomorrow.

Q: How much have you emphasized winning the division with your team, is that something you talk about?

A: No, not really. I mean, you talk about those things at the beginning of the year. Really, all we've talked about is this week, winning each week. Focusing on the task at hand this week and here's what we have to do to win and stack them up at the end. I've said that many times, we'll count them up at the end and see where we're at and now we're close enough to, I think, have that realization that we have an opportunity to do that.

Q: Do you expect to have multiple Pro Bowlers and would you be disappointed if you didn't get a decent number?

A: I don't know, I'm a team guy. If they get voted in, that's great, I hope they do. And if they don't, we've got to play better.

Q: Do you think a winning record would help you get some Pro Bowlers?

A: I don't know. The Pro Bowl is the furthest thing from my mind.

Q: Did you invite your mother, your 'good luck charm' to Sunday's game?

A: She will be there. She'll be there. She reminds every time too, she's the good luck, I said, 'It has nothing to do with blocking and tackling, does it?' She doesn't like that.

Q: What other games has she been to?

A: I don't know a couple early in the year – Kansas City, San Diego, I don't remember. Mary [Redmond] handles all of that stuff, I don't know even who's coming to the games to be honest with you or where the tickets are or anything, I just – let me do football.

Q: Is your mother prepared for a run of cold weather games?

A: Yeah, we'll get a big coat. She's a coach's wife, she understands.

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