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Transcript: Zimmer Addressed the Media Monday

*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *

Well, you can tell it's the season. I don't have time to do anything but this, again, as we start. After looking at the game yesterday, pretty much what I said after the ball game. I thought we played better in the second half defensively, obviously. We have to run the ball better. We have to score touchdowns offensively. So, really, pretty much the same, what I said yesterday.

Q: What did you see from the run game?

A: There was a lot of – like it always is – there's a combination of things. There was a couple times we had them blocked really good on the front side, and the four-technique came all the way from the other side and made the tackle, which typically doesn't happen. There was a couple times we missed the hole. There was a couple time we got beat in one-on-one blocks – different guys, not always one guy. So, it was a combination of things, like it always is really.

Q: Do you attribute that to five guys playing together in a game for the first time, plus Adrian Peterson getting his first work since January?

A: I don't know. I don't think so, but I think their guys got off blocks a little bit better than guys anticipated or maybe that we showed them. Like I told the team, the scout teams probably didn't get off blocks quite as good as these guys did in practice, just giving them a realistic look, and that's my fault.

Q: Not to say that Shaun Hill didn't have a good game, but part of not being able to score an offensive touchdowns and settling for field goals, is that part of the adjustment to a new quarterback?

A: No, we want to score touchdowns. He was good with the football. He took care of the ball, like we try to do, and offensively, they did. But no, we want to score touchdowns. That's not going to change.

Q: Are you going to take your decision on the starting quarterback all the way through throughout the week again?

A: Nods yes.

Q: Does an opponent and the fact that you've got a home opener have anything to do with that, or is it all about preparation?

A: I've had a lot of thought going into that, even last week, going into that. I knew that we'd play Green Bay at U.S. Bank Stadium the next week. So, there was a lot of different things going into it, yes.

Q: Stefon Diggs said he played badly last night. Do you like the fact that a player is only concentrated on the fact that he did not get to the end zone?

A: I think, like I told the team today, it's important that we all see the things that we could have done better. That's the way we can improve. I like that he wants to be great, so I'm sure there are things that he could have done better, like I could have done better. Everybody could have done better, but I think that kind of shows the drive that he has and the way he works.* *

Q: Why is Stefon good at what you call the dirty work? He's not exactly the biggest guy to embrace that kind of role.

A: He lines up in a lot of different places. He's tough. He's tough after the catch. He's hard to get down. He'll get in there, and like – I believe it was the first catch he had – he caught the ball over the middle. The linebacker was on him, he shook him, and he's going to get hit pretty good there. He thinks he's a pretty tough guy, so he's going to try to run through a couple more guys if he can.

Q: Some of those shorter or negative runs came when Tennessee was really stacking it up there. Do you wish that you would have gotten out of some of those run calls?

A: You can't always do that. You can't let the defense dictate to you just because they're in overload. There was a couple we got out of, but there are times when we have to run the football against extra guys in there. We understand that. That's not going to go away. That's how it was a year ago, and when you've got Adrian (Peterson) in the backfield, you're going to get those things. So, you have to make sure that some of it is, you're going to have an unblocked guy, and you have to make the unblocked guy the guy that you want to be unblocked. That's not different than anywhere in football. If you're running the right, the farthest guy on the left is going to be unblocked, and there were some other times that … But I just don't feel like you can (let the defense dictate to you). If that's the case, you're going to throw it every down. So, I think there are times when you get out of things and times when you have to man up.

Q: Is Sam Bradford far enough in the offense where he could make checks and audibles if needed?

A: Oh, yeah.

Q: Is there any clarity on what's going on with Xavier Rhodes?

A: He doesn't need surgery. So, we'll take it day to day.

Q: Will he be out a while?

A: I don't know.

Q: You've been talking about Danielle Hunter for a while and how good he can be. Is yesterday a sneak peak of what you felt like he can become in this league?

A: Yeah, he can still do a lot better, but yeah, some of that … It's easy to see the touchdown play, but there were some other things that he did that were extremely well (done). He has got such long arms. He can long-arm these guys. He had great speed. They were very, very careful about our defensive ends in their protection yesterday. So, yeah, I believe that he's going to continue to progress, and the more success he has, I think, it'll be big for him.

Q: You said in the second half on defense, you kind of went back to the basics. What were you doing in the first half that was sort of out of the norm?

A: It wasn't necessarily out of the norm. I was extremely aggressive, and sometimes we were – what's the word I'm looking for? When they're giving you a lot of complicated shifts and motions and movements, a shift and a motion and then a play that's going back, two guys running this way and one guy running that way, the more you add, the more complicated it gets. So, it's no different. I was giving our guys a lot of calls the first half. How's that?

Q: What did you see from Trae Waynes yesterday?

A: I thought he was tight in coverage. I think they caught some balls on him, but every one of them was contested. We just got to get some of those out. I thought he made a nice play on the third-and-one and towards the end of the game he started to finish those plays better. He adjusted his play a little bit in the second half and I thought that helped. He's always going to have to continue to learn and I think some of those things showed up in the game.  

Q: Is Bradford ahead of where you thought?

A: I've never been around Sam Bradford, so I don't know what I expected.

Q: But you're, overall, pretty pleased with him?

A: Yeah. 

Q: What was your assessment of the tackles and pass protection?

A: I thought it was good. I know we had a hands to the face and a holding call, but for the most part I thought the pocket was good most of the day. We didn't give up any sacks, so that's a good spot. 

Q: How did you see Cordarelle Patterson's kickoff return unfold?

A: I thought he set it up good. I thought we had some good blocks from the inside as we went. Once he gets the ball in his hands and gets past the first wave, he's tough.  

Q: With the new kickoff rules do you think teams will be less likely to kick to him going forward?

A: I would assume so, but I think each week is going to be different (with) the team that you're playing and their mentality. That's a possibility.

Q: Are you still trying to figure that out and what's your strategy?

A: That was a little bit of wind yesterday, so that might've had a factor in it. Actually, on that return the wind was coming that way. They'll probably try to kick some out when we get indoors.

Q: Have you talked to Mike Priefer at all about Blair Walsh's struggles, is it mental or technique?

A: I don't know, I talked to him about it. It's more just about staying consistent with what we're doing.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Vikings-Packers rivalry?

A: I don't know, it's a great rivalry, close by with the fans and all that stuff. We can't get caught up in the rivalry, all we have to do is figure out who to block, when to block them, when to cover and all that stuff. I think it's great for the fans. We need to beat them a lot more often for it to be a rivalry.

Q: How important is keeping your rush controlled when facing an athletic quarterback?

A: Yeah, you have to be smart with the way you rush. You can't run by the quarterback and open up the lanes. The guy on the weak side has to be very conscious of collapsing the pocket. I thought we did, for the most part, a good job with that yesterday.

Q: Are there similarities between the Packers and Titans defenses?

A: They're really not that similar, I don't think. I'm sure some of their pressures are but it's different.

Q: Do you guys have a plan in place for Laquon Treadwell?

A: He still has work to do. We still have to keep getting him going. As you've seen, Diggs was inactive for three weeks last year. We're trying to do things right, get him ready to play and get him ready to go when the time is correct. I think all these young guys need to learn, not just him but all these guys, need to learn about professional football a little bit. It's not like you just come in and you're the best player on the field right now.  * *

Q: Is there a moment where you know they've turned a corner?

A: Well, you think you know but then sometimes they go back around the other corner. You just keep plugging away, keep trying to get them better. Keep staying on them, give them extra meeting time. Make sure they're doing the things right, just go from there.

Q: Do you like the challenge of preparing for Aaron Rodgers?

A: Well, it's a challenge, that's for sure. Whether or not I like it doesn't really matter, we have to do it. 

Q: Eric Kendricks, besides the interception, said he didn't play all that well. What is your early assessment of his performance?

A: I thought he did a lot of good things. There were some things that he was out of place. He was seeing ghosts a little bit a couples times, and really, all of our guys were at times, especially in the first half. I think we, like I said before, settled down. We got under control. We figured it out. It was good for us to … It's a good lesson for everybody. When you go into the first game, you never really know, and what we tried to tell them was just, 'You've been trained to do certain things. Just do those things, and don't worry about what they might do. This is your read. This is your key. Go on, and go about your business.'

Q: Trae Waynes, is he kind of where you expect him to be in his development now, entering that second year?

A: Yeah, I think he's doing good. He continues to get better. He'll continue to get more playing time. So, I feel good about where he's at.

Q: Waiting the whole week to name your starter, what is the logic behind that? Are you still trying to make the decision, or is that just information you don't want to get out there at this point?

A: I just figured it'd be good sports talk radio. I don't know. I just don't think it's good for … I think it's good for my team to know, if we continue to go forward, and I haven't decided yet. So, we'll figure all that stuff out, but Green Bay is an awfully good team. Everybody is picking them to go to the Super Bowl. We're just trying to be in the fight, and I'll try to keep my cards close to the vest.

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