Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer * *Ok, been a good week of practice. I think our guys have studied hard and prepared hard, so we're looking for a good NFC North game and we're excited about the opportunities. Questions?
Q: Why was it important for you guys to go out and get Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks and pair them together?
A: It didn't have anything to do with pairing them together. We were looking for good football players.
Q: What type of players do you see them as when you have two guys like that?
A: [Anthony] Barr is a special athlete, great size, speed, a lot of really good attributes, good kid, smart, hadn't played defense much. We felt like he was a guy that had a whole lot of ability and potential. With Kendricks, he was a guy that made a lot of plays and when we got to that position in the draft, we felt like we needed a linebacker and our estimation was he was the best one at that particular time. But he's also been a guy that's been smart and he's got a good bloodline, all those things.
Q: What was your assessment of Andrew Sendejo last week? Were you surprised he was able to play?
A: I was not surprised that he was able to play because I saw him in practice for the most part, but I didn't know until we got toward the end of the week. He's a smart guy, so he understands exactly what we're trying to get done. He's going to give you a full day's work. I think he plays with a lot of confidence.
Q: Is Sharrif Floyd out this Sunday?
A: I don't know, I'll turn the injury report in later.
Q: With Calvin Johnson getting involved in big plays last week, is he the kind of guy who if he doesn't have a big game, you know a big one is right around the corner?
A: Yeah. I've played him way too many times. He's just so good at everything – running the routes, catching the ball, getting open, using his size, his speed, outjumping. When I was in Cincinnati we had three guys around him and he threw up a 50-yard ball and he went up and got it for a touchdown. I've been well aware of him for a long, long time. And I know people use these terms loosely as one of the greatest receivers, but he really is with the things that he can do and the way he can go get the football. He's got tremendous hands. Even some of the catches that he makes that aren't inbounds are fantastic catches. He's someone you always have to pay attention to, yeah.
Q: Who else do you use the boxing gloves for? Have you used them in the past?
A: No, not really. It was Jerry [Gray] that did it.
Q: Have you seen coaches do that before?
A: No, I use the boxing gloves for other reasons.
Q: It seems like a good technique?
A: Yeah, different types of things, not necessarily boxing gloves, but if a guy has got a long backpedal, you might put something around his ankles like some of the bands, so they just get you used to doing it – and you can't go full speed because they'll fall, but things like that, so they kind of get used to what you're trying to get them to understand.
Q: Are you trying to get Trae Waynes more snaps as the year goes in?
A: We'll see how it goes. I like getting him involved and then some weeks it might be a little more than others, and I'm sure as we go down the road, it probably will be, but I don't have a specific plan saying, "Hey, this week is the week." But I think the more reps he gets and the more experience he gets will continue to help him.
Q: How much do you consider the quarterback and wide receivers you're facing when deciding on how many snaps Trae Waynes will get?
A: A little bit. It's more about us and what we do. Obviously, it's a lot about the quarterback and a lot about the guy he's going against. The quarterbacks are going to find young guys, that won't ever change I'm sure. It's good even if he goes out there and give up an out here and there, it's the experience. It's learning and getting out there in the heat of the battle and go.
Q: What was your instruction to him last week, just keep the guy in front of you?
A: No. I'd never say, I'll never say that, no. I say cover the guy. Never stay in front of him, it's cover him. They all understand if they don't, they're going to hear it. Q: Who is the toughest running back you've had to prepare for?
A: Well, Emmitt Smith was pretty good. I did have to prepare for him when he went to Arizona, but he was older then. Adrian [Peterson], you know, we got ready to prepare for him. He was pretty good. Those are the two that come to mind right away.
Q: Barry Sanders on that list?
A: Yeah, he was pretty darn good, too. Yeah, he'd take your breath away, as well. Yeah, he was really good. There's been so many of them. Even, think back when Baltimore had Jamal Lewis, he was pretty darn good. There's a lot of really good ones, like the guy, not [Merril] Hoge, you know, the guy that's on [NFL Network], Faulk, Marshall Faulk. Because he could do so many things. There's too many of them.
Q: So Merril Hoge isn't at the top of the list?
A: [Laughs] No, I like Merril, but we didn't really have to prepare too much for him. He's not in that crew, anyway.
Q: Mike Wallace's per catch average was higher earlier in his career, is he a different kind of receiver now?
A: No. Let's wait until after the season to see what kind of numbers he puts up. And again, I don't worry about those things at all, I worry about guys catches, do the things they're supposed to do, block when they're supposed to block and really about winning. Each week could be a different week, you never know. But I don't think he's a different receiver.* *
Q: You name a special teams captain each week, could you talk about why you do that?
A: I think it's good, our special teams has been playing very well. I think it's good for them to be involved with everything. For them to be able to, each week, have somebody be the leader that week I think is important. I try to make special teams an emphasis and Mike [Priefer] has done a great job with these guys. They've really helped us in a lot of ballgames, so I think it's important.