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Transcript: Zimmer Addressed the Media on Monday

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

Obviously, we didn't play very well in the first half, but we played pretty well in the second half, 20 points in the fourth quarter. We only gave them three points after halftime. The biggest thing is I like the resiliency of this football team. They could have laid down at halftime. They fought and kept fighting, kept scratching. Kirk (Cousins) played fantastic, probably his best game he's played since he's been here. We had a lot of guys rise to the occasion. We had some injuries and we had to have other guys come in and suck it up and make plays, make plays at the end. I actually think in the spring I put in a situation where they get one play to win the game, so it showed up the other day.

Q: What stood out to you about Kirk Cousins' game yesterday?

A: The things he had to do. The ball he threw, the post to (Stefon) Diggs was an outstanding ball. Just seeing what he was getting, where he was going with the football. His accuracy I think was 83 percent or something like that, so yeah, it was really, really good.

Q:  We're past the half way point, but going into the bye week, do you think the narrative about Kirk Cousins has changed the past six weeks?

A: I don't know. I don't worry too much about the narrative. I think we're three quarters of the way through now, but I don't know. I don't really care what they think or say. I just want him to keep playing the way he is.

Q: What about the way Kirk Cousins is playing in the fourth quarter to win or seal victories in this stretch?

A: Yeah, it's been good. Again, it's another area that we talked about this spring and worked on. Maybe just being in those situations help. He's not doing it by himself. There's a lot of other guys helping him. The receivers are making good catches. The offensive line blocked well. There's a lot of good things that happened.

Q: Have you seen Kirk Cousins' confidence grow, or is he the same guy he was two months ago?

A: Yeah, I haven't seen much difference. I don't think he was not confident before. He's just playing fast. He's getting away from the center fast. He's getting set fast. He's getting the ball out quick. I like everything he's doing.

Q: What makes a backside post a rarity for most teams? What's made it a more common thing for you guys?

A: I think part of it is we get outside. You get a little bit more time when you get outside the pocket. We've been running some double moves on some of those. The one on (Stefon) Diggs wasn't a double move, it was just a straight post. But just longer time for DBs to cover.

Q: When you watched the film, did you see more opportunities for bootlegs and play action in the first half? I know that jumped considerably in the second half.

A: Yeah, I mean we just couldn't really find our way in the first half. Nothing was really going good. We were trying to get the ball out quick initially, and typically you get a good feel of them when you're watching the run game and you're watching the backside guys and see how they're converging on the runs. We weren't getting very many runs, so it was hard to get a peek at it. But it's one of the better things we do, so it helped.

Q: What do you think about the way Stefon Diggs has played during Adam Thielen's absence, despite the extra attention from defenders?

A: Yeah, he's gotten a lot of attention from the other teams, too. He's playing good. He ran by that guy the other night. No, he's playing really good. He's playing competitive, catching the ball well, running good routes.

Q: You've mixed up the practice schedule during past bye weeks. What's the approach to the practice schedule during the bye week?

A: This one's a little different just because of the fact that we've gone 11 ball games now. So, I think they need to get a little rest.

Q: Do you not plan to practice after today?

A: I don't know. They know. I don't know. You don't know. I know.

Q: What did that comeback yesterday tell you about your football team?

A: It tells you two things, really; if we wait to flip the switch, then we're not going to win many of these games. But if we play like we can play and we use the competitiveness and the fight and the toughness and the intelligence that we mostly played with in the second half, we can win a lot of games.

Q: Where are you at with the pass coverage in the secondary? Against Denver, they held firm in goal-to-go situations, but gave up a lot of big plays.

A: Yeah, we need to get better. We need to get better in pass defense, so that'll be a big emphasis for us as coaches and players as we start moving forward. We got to get better.

Q: Is the hurry up offense something that you can incorporate more as you go forward in normal situations?

A: Again, each game is different. Sometimes we get on the ball and go. Maybe not for that extended amount of time like we did yesterday, but it was probably what the situation called for yesterday.

Q: How much did the interior pass rush in the second half force Brandon Allen into making inaccurate throws?

A: Our ends rushed him pretty good a couple of times. I thought he (Brandon Allen) played well. He made some really good throws. They made three great catches, we were all over the guys and they made catches. We got to shore that area up though.

Q: Have you liked the interior pass rush since Linval Joseph has been gone?

A: Yeah, I think they're doing well. Ifeadi (Odenigbo) comes in there and gives you some push. I know Jaleel (Johnson) got a sack, but I think on the one the end kind of pushed him back to stepping up in the pocket. I thought (Stephen) Weatherly did a good job yesterday.

Q: What are you seeing from Irv Smith Jr. in his rookie season?

A: Well he's a guy that we can use sometimes as a receiver, sometimes as a tight end, so you're not sure if you're going to get nickel or you're going to get the base defense when he and Kyle (Rudolph) are in there together. But we can exploit those two areas by either running against little guys or throwing against big guys, so I think that having a weapon like him has been really good.

Q: Have you seen Smith make strides within the mental side of the game and in the playbook?

A: Yeah, he made a good read on the touchdown catch yesterday, and every day I see him getting better. Coming out and running better routes, not lining up. I think it's just part of the process of becoming more reliable.

Q: How have you seen Jayron Kearse respond in the few weeks since his off the field incident?

A: He did well yesterday. I thought he played well. Actually on the fourth and one play, (Andrew) Sendejo missed a tackle on the quarterback, and he (Jayron Kearse) made the tackle. And then the last play of the game, so yeah, we probably need to get him in there more.

Q: What does it do for you when a safety can cover a tight end on the perimeter like Kearse did?

A: It's good he has size, and I think that helped him. He had some length, so that helped him matching up with a tall guy.

Q: What's the plan for Adam Thielen going forward in terms of trying to get him back for the Seattle game?

A: We got 14 days from today, so we'll just have to see how he continues to get better.

Q: Have you taken any time to look at the standings and at how the NFC playoff race is shaping up?

A: I mean I know where we're at. There's still quite a few games to play, I guess, so it'll all sort itself out here in this next month and a half.

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