*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *
Good afternoon. After watching the tape, I thought offensively we did some really good things. Ran the ball effectively. I thought the offensive line played well. No sacks again. [Case] Keenum played great most of the ball game. Like I said, after the ball game, we have to learn how to play with a lead. We haven't had big leads that early in the ball games before. It's a good learning experience for us, both sides of the ball. Defensively, actually we didn't play as bad as I felt like yesterday. They [Washington] were 3-for-5 on fourth downs. Usually, we are pretty good in those situations. They made some plays. Overall, it was a good road victory, NFC team. We'll just keep trying to get back together this week and get a little bit better.
Q: How much do you pay attention to the whole NFC and how many teams there are near you guys to use that as a message to your team?
A: Not really yet, too early. We just try to take it one game at a time and win that game. It will all take care of itself eventually anyway. There's nothing we can do about what some other team does or wins or loses or anything else.
Q: Case played great most of the ball game, but he also had a couple turnovers. How do you balance that when you're evaluating his overall performance?
A: The two turnovers were bad. Back to back and we had the game pretty much in hand. The rest of the game he played pretty darn good. He moved in the pocket well, threw the ball good. He started slow in the last couple ball games, and started really fast in this game in the first half, came back in the second half a little bit. He's a very excitable guy. Sometimes he gets off the reservation a little bit. I talked to him a little this morning about understanding the situation of the game and where we're at and sometimes a throw-away is a good thing.
Q: At the beginning of the year, regardless of who the quarterback was going to be, did you see this offense scoring 38 points in a game?
A: I don't know. It's hard to predict. I really like our offensive line. The way they're playing together. They're playing really tough and physical. I like our receiving corps, tight end is a good player, our backs are running good now. It's just a combination thing. The offensive coaches are doing a good job. I think it all goes hand in hand.
Q: Is there more diversity in the personnel you have with the number of personnel groups you have now than in the past?
A: Maybe a little bit. We have different packages when different guys go in. Sometimes a guy gets tired or a guy gets hurt and somebody else has to go in. I think it has been good to be able to use C.J. Ham in there some. All three tight ends are being used. [David] Morgan blocked really well yesterday. I thought that was his best blocking game he's had. That was an improvement to get the running game going. A year or so ago , I was on Kyle [Rudolph's] rear end a little bit about being more of a complete tight end and he's doing a nice job as well blocking. All that stuff goes hand-in-hand.
Q: It seemed like you had a number of plays where your linemen were blocking down field. Is that an emphasis or just athletic ability?
A: I think that they can get to the second level a lot better. It helps when they can get off the double team or get to the second level and get to the linebacker, that's how you can get some big runs.
Q: How has the communication been with the offensive line?
A: The good thing is the communication has been very good. When something happens whether it's in the game or it's in practice, they are able to communicate what went wrong pretty quickly so that's been a good thing.
Q: How is Pat Shurmur able to get the most out of Case Keenum, especially against the blitz?
A: The first thing about that is picking up the blitz. We've done a nice job protection-wise. Jerick [McKinnon] had a couple of nice blocks in there. Latavius did as well and we're changing up protections and I think that has helped Case quite a bit, as far as if we end up seeing some blitzes and being able to change protections to different things I think that's helped quite a bit. I think Pat does a good job of understanding the tendencies of the team that he's playing and working either man-beaters or zone-beaters or maximum protection things. It's been good.
Q: When you're talking about playing better with a lead, what kind of things are you talking about?
A: A little bit of it is the clock became our friend there. We're in field goal range and throw a bad interception. That one was probably worse than the second one. We're in field goal range, we got a chance to go up three scores or four or whatever it was. At that point in time the clock is kind of starting to become our friend now a little bit – using a little bit more time on the clock, understanding the situation – the game is basically over if we just take care of things and take care of the football, continue to keep the clock running, continue to get first downs – things like that.
Q: What'd you think of your pass rush without Everson Griffen?
A: We hit the guy a lot. We had some really good rushes against their good offensive linemen. Tom Johnson rushed well, B-Rob [Brian Robison] won some, Danielle [Hunter], Linval [Joseph]. We made some mistakes, the second third down of the game we get a roughing the quarterback, which allowed them to continue to drive. We had a couple of those things happen. We fell down and mis-aligned on the wheel-route to the back and we fell down on I guess it was fourth-and-three or something like that. So there were some errors that we can correct. We should of played better, but for the most part it was good.
*Q: Is Case Keenum going to start this week? *
A: I haven't sat down and talked with everyone yet. I'm going to wait until Wednesday.
Q: You've previously talked about how you forged a relationship in the offseason with Sam Bradford, have you been able to forge a relationship with Case Keenum?
A: Probably not to the extent as with Sam. I wont tell you what I said to him today. We didn't expect him to be the guy right away but we have a good relationship, we talk all the time.
Q: When you saw how Keenum handled the situation in Los Angeles last year, did you know you were bringing the right guy into the locker room, a guy that would be able to handle any and all adversity?
A: Well, there was no issue with the culture aspect or anything. Case just loves to play football. There was nothing there that changed it. Our guys upstairs do a great job of finding the right kind of guys to bring in here. I think we have a great locker room. I meet with the captains every week and talk to them about the locker room and different things. We've just got a great bunch of guys here that know how to be team guys, play together, work together. I think that's really important. Case is really no different. And really, you could say that about any of our guys.
Q: Have you noticed teams preparing or game planning for Adam Thielen?
A: Not really, they kind of do what they do most of the time. I don't see a lot of double coverage or things like that. It's pretty much whatever they do, they do.
Q: Is there anything about him that surprises you anymore?
A: The one ball he kind of dropped there at the end, that surprised me. He usually makes all those catches. The guy is a gamer. When he gets the opportunities, he makes the most of them. Adam does a lot of dirty work, he blocks defensive ends, he blocks linebackers in the run game. He's just a competitive guy. We threw him the screen on the one third down and somehow, someway, he's going to get the first down. Then he came back later and threw a boot, he makes a guy miss, he probably should've been stopped before that. That's just what he does, when he gets opportunities he makes plays.
Q: Does having Thielen and Stefon Diggs on the field at the same time add to your deep threat possibilities?
A: Yeah, I mean, they're two pretty good players so it helps. The good thing about not only those two guys but [Laquon] Treadwell and Jarius [Wright], Michael Floyd and even [Stacy] Coley, they can play a number of different positions whether they're outside, inside, on the slot. We can line them up in a lot of different places.
Q: Do you know who your starting quarterback is going to be?
Q: Will you tell us?
A: Why would I tell you when I haven't told anybody else?
Q: Do you have any issue with Greg Olsen being on this week's broadcast crew?
A: I don't know, I'm going to let higher ups than me handle that.
Q: When the receivers can play at so many different spots, as a defensive guy, how hard is that to prepare for?
A: Well, you've got to do an awful lot of studying because typically guys like to do certain things out of certain spots. Guys are out of position in one spot and out of position in another spot and then they do different things out of those areas. Then you've got to figure out all your man coverage rules and your zone coverage rules. Yeah, it makes it a lot more complicated and difficult.