*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *
Good afternoon. After watching the tape I think that we played really well together as a team. Offensively obviously they played outstanding. The offensive line was very good. Defensively we played the run really well, got some turnovers, and on special teams except really for the one kickoff return I thought we did a nice job there. It was great to back in our stadium with our fans, they were great again. We'll continue to need them to be as loud as they have been, continue on this week against Detroit, and continue forward. Questions?
Q: Overall how do you feel your offense has evolved?
A: We don't really look at the statistics yet. I know everybody else does, but it's a long season. We're just trying to get better each and every week.
Q: Do things feel differently this week?
A: No, not really. It's pretty much the same. We just try to go one week at a time and see what happens. It's a week-to-week proposition in the NFL. Media and everybody, 'This week we're great, next week if we lose we're terrible' it's just the way it is. We just try to do the best we can to prepare and get better each week and that's really all we're trying to do now is prepare for Detroit.
Q: What's the biggest difference between Case Keenum's first start versus second?
A: I think a lot of it had to do with the timing of when he knew he was going to play, changing the plan. I think he was confident going in, felt good about the plays, and then you have to give all the guys some credit, they executed. The offensive line, we ran the ball well, [Dalvin] Cook had some really good runs, the offensive line blocked, protected well. We made some really good catches [Adam] Thielen had a great catch [Stefon] Diggs had a great catch. Sometimes it's just how it goes. It's like I say, it's week-to-week. We just try and as best we can each week.
Q: Did Case Keenum get the ball out quicker or get the ball out of the pocket more?
A: I've got the sheet on how many seconds he is throwing the ball but I didn't look at it yet today. We had two-man routes, we had some where we had everyone out, and we had a good combination of things. There wasn't any emphasis to get the ball out quick.
Q: How much has the improved running game and the threat of the run open up the passing game?
A: It has definitely helped a lot. When you can run the football the way we've been running it, it helps. It helps get more people down in the box and it gives more single coverage on the outside. Case made a couple zero blitzes and one of them was for a touchdown.
Q: For a team that the defense usually carries, would you consider this a turning point yet that the offense is where you'd like it to be?
A: I think they're doing a really nice job. They're executing and the plans that they have each week is good, but it is three weeks. We usually don't look at stats until Thanksgiving so we still have a long way to go. I am happy they are executing and putting points on the board. The team has been doing a lot of things we worked on in the offseason. It is all about the team as we continue to go forward.
Q: How much does it come down to your offensive line giving the quarterback time to throw the ball?
A: I don't think it's a simple fact. I think they are doing a good job in protection. We are doing a lot of different things with protection now. That is part of it. Being able to run the football, with Dalvin Cook running 97 yards on 27 carries and catching the ball out of the backfield are all important for the overall part of the offense.
Q: How more have the other offensive assistants influenced Pat's offense?
A: I think they have a good communication. I'm listening to them during the game. We've got guys upstairs communicating coverages and tendencies, things that we're doing and ways to attack it. Pat, he asks, 'hey, you guys like this? You guys like that?' It's a collective effort, I think the offensive staff has done a nice job. When I say plans, I'm saying they're executing the things. You can have a great plan and not execute. I think the team's been executing. Obviously, we're throwing the ball good, we're protecting good and we're running the ball good. That all goes hand-in-hand.
Q: Is Dalvin Cook ahead of where you expected him to be?
A: I have high expectations for him, I think he's going to be a great player. Some of the things he does, and it's not just that part, but some of the things he does, the hole might be this big and he can get skinny and pick his feet up and accelerate through there. You don't get a lot of clean shots on this guy. He's got a lot of wiggle to him, acceleration. There was one play he kind of got through the line and the safety came up and he missed him. When he gets close to the goal line, he smells that and he's trying to pump it in there. That's what I like him the most.
Q: Have you noticed the benefits of his versatility?
A: I'd have to think back to all three games. I think they're respecting him a lot. I don't know how much they're changing their coverages or pressure packages and things like that based on that. But, I have a pretty good idea they're respecting the run with him.
Q: What has been the secret to the strong run defense?
A: The guys up front have done a nice job, really all of them. The secondary has tackled pretty well as well in those things. Shamar, I thought he's played well these last three weeks. Linval, the two ends have done a nice job. Barr and Kendricks, Gedeon when he's been in there has done a nice job. That's part of it. Just good players.
Q: With Case Keenum playing as well as he did, does it allow you to take a more conservative approach with Kyle Rudolph?
A: No, once Sam is ready he's the quarterback.
Q: Do you know if Sam will be able to practice this week?
A: I really don't, it's really day-to-day. We'll just see how the week goes and go from there.
Q: Is he back in Minnesota?
A: Yes, had a nice talk with him today. Just a nice, easy talk.
Q: Did you rotate the cornerbacks because of injuries?
A: It was just trying to keep them fresh. Trying to get a little rotation going. We have different packages too. Part of it's packages, some of it's just, I think Xavier got tired a couple times. I don't remember exactly.
Q: How do you think Tramaine Brock Sr. played?
A: He had some good things and some bad things. I thought he competed well. He's still working on some of the technique things that we're trying to get done.