Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Really good team win yesterday on the road, prime time. I really thought that both sides of the ball, our offensive line and defensive line, played outstanding. Played with a lot of toughness, a lot of physicality, a lot of grit. One of the things we talked about in the offseason was 10 minutes left in the game, and going out and winning those football games. A week ago we were up by three with ten minutes left, and we lost the game. Last week we were up by four and won the game. I think we’re moving in the right direction, we just got to keep going.
Q: Is there a secret sauce as to why you won this week’s close game and not last week’s?
A: I think we managed the clock really well. I thought offensively we got the ball with ten minutes left, and gave it back to them with four, or something like that. We converted some first downs, and then obviously defensively we stopped them in the fourth down situation.
Q: You mentioned last week that you wanted the offensive line to finish their blocks a little bit better. Did you see that happen this week?
A: I did not say the offensive line, I said we didn’t finish our blocks well enough. See, that’s the kind of thing that kind of upsets me; every time I say something, you say I’m calling – not you, particularly, but the media – that I’m calling this guy out, or that I’m calling that guy out. I’m trying to be honest with you and tell you what I see during the games, so that’s all I’m trying to do, but I didn’t say it was just the offensive line.
Q: Was the blocking better in Sunday though?
A: Yeah, obviously it was better. We finished runs better, we finished blocks better, we tackled well.
Q: Kirk Cousins has zero turnovers in his last four games, the longest such stretch of his career. He credited his offensive line and pass protection; how much do you think the offensive line have to do with that?
A: Well it has a lot to do with it, but there was a lot of times that he (Cousins) did a great job of getting the ball out, too. He got hit quite a few times last night. I’m not calling out the offensive line. He got hit a bunch of times last night, and there was times that he had to get the ball out quick, and I thought he did that well. In each part of the passing game, you got some maximum protection things, you got some seven-man protections, some six-man and some five-man protections. It’s important that when you get these fives and six mans and you’re getting extra pressure, to get the ball out, like they did a lot last night.
Q: Have you seen Kirk’s decision making find its rhythm?
A: Yeah, he’s playing fast, and that’s probably the most important thing. Making good decisions and playing fast.
Q: There doesn’t seem to be much of a drop off between Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison.
A: No, he (Mattison) is a good player. He runs hard, he’s physical. I think he averaged six-something (yards per carry), maybe, last night. But yeah, he’s a good back, and we’re glad we have him. He can take some of the carries off of Dalvin. I liked the way he finishes runs. He seems like he’s always falling forward, and is an aggressive style of runner.
Q: Has Mattison been better at breaking big runs then you expected him to be?
A: Yeah, probably. He was a good player in college, but you don’t really know. But I think his ability to hit the hole, and then the violence that he runs with – there was six-yard run on our sideline that was a heck of a run the other night. He doesn’t go down easy and doesn’t go out of bounds.
Q: Mike Hughes was targeted a lot last night, but seemed to be in good position for many of those plays. How did you feel he played?
A: Yeah, honestly, there were times he wasn’t tight enough. There’s some times technique-wise that he could have been better. He opened up a little bit too much and let the receiver run, but he was in position most of the night. Honestly, the guy made a bunch of great catches and they made some really good throws. So, when I looked at the pass defense things, there was a couple things that weren’t very good, but for the most part, we were in the right place. They made the plays and we didn’t.
Q: Is that about as good as an opponent can do at working the sideline?
A: Yeah, I mean he caught some that may have been outside the white a couple times, good throws, being in position. Mike (Hughes) probably could have been a little bit more physical with the receiver and the one touchdown that he had thrown on him, so there’s some things he can do better. There’s some things he did good.
Q: What did you make of the missed interceptions?
A: We said we had three, could of, should of, would of had. I guess Mike (Hughes) had a good chance at one, Mackensie (Alexander) probably had two he had chances, too.
Q: Why were those not intercepted?
A: You’d like for him to get them.
Q: You’re not going to get mad at him for not making those?
A: No, you’re going to tell him to catch the ball, but the receivers make a living on it and DB’s, that’s probably why they’re playing over there.
Q: What did you think of the way Jaleel Johnson filled in for Linval Joseph?
A: Played really well. First play of the game he tried to maybe come off a block a little bit too soon on the first run, but then after that, he was really good. I thought he played hard, played good. He pushed the pocket a couple times. I thought he did well.
Q: What makes Jaleel Johnson a fit at nose tackle as opposed to the three technique?
A: He’s got strong hands. He’s got kind of a lower center of gravity which helps him to sit down on the double teams. He’s a guy that’s going to go fight every play.
Q: When you drafted Jaleel Johnson, his wrestling background was mentioned. How does that help?
A: I think a little of both with him. I think he does have a wrestler’s mentality, probably like to keep him in that little takedown circle that they have. He’s a really good competitor, and he’s going to fight you all day.
Q: How did you feel that Armon Watts played in his first career game?
A: He got a half sack and a tackle and he had like six or nine plays or something like that. He played pretty darn good, really. He played pretty good for his first time out. Played the scheme how we’re trying to get him to do it and did well.
Q: Do you have any indication that you’ll get Adam Thielen back next week?
A: Not yet, I don’t.
Q: How did you feel Xavier Rhodes played this week?
A: Actually, Xavier (Rhodes) played pretty good. Yeah, he played pretty good last night. Had one catch on the sideline he gave up and he missed a tackle on a tight end and he, trying to think if there was something else, but for the most part he covered his guys pretty good. One of his, I think, better games.
Q: Are you looking at Linval Joseph’s injury as long-term?
A: I don’t know yet. Could be back this week. We’ll see.
Q: Are you hoping to get Trae Waynes back?
A: Yeah, I think we will.