Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
We started preparations for Atlanta today, had a good practice. Ready to get back to work.
Q: Is it easier when you get into the regular season, knowing what you have to prepare for?
A: Yeah, you start to become a little bit more tunnel-visioned as far as what you have to do in that game. A lot less installation, it’s more about game preparation, studying the opponent, trying to get ideas on how to stop them or how to gain yards.
Q: What was the thinking on keeping just four wide receivers on the 53-man roster? Do you think you’ll add one before Sunday?
A: We possibly might add one, but the reason was we felt like those were four guys who were worthy of the spot, and there were other spots that we felt like we needed other players. It always works that way, you try to keep the best 53 however it is, and you might be short at one spot and heavy in another.
Q: The move with Britton Colquitt, how much was it about him being a veteran?
A: He’s just a good punter, and we had an opportunity to get him. He’s been to the Pro Bowl. I think that was really the major factor.
Q: How much does his experience as a holder play into it?
A: It does, but his primary job is to punt. But he’s been a good holder, too, for quite a while.
Q: Do you think that will help create some of the consistency Dan Bailey may not have had in the preseason?
A: I don’t know, I think Dan (Bailey) basically kicked really well this preseason. He earned the job. Whether it was who was holding for him, I think he earned the job.
Q: Overall, are you happy with your 53-man roster?
A: I think we have a good team. I think these guys have a chance, if we go out and we play hard and we play smart, we play together as a team. It’s going to be important that we do that. But I like this group of guys, I think they got a chance to be really good. But we got to go out on the field and do it.
Q: You have an experienced guy at kicker and punter, do you feel you can turn it over to them and not worry about it?
A: I hope so. It’s like everything else, you got to go out and do it. They both had a good day out there today, so we’ll see.
Q: Did you spend a lot of time evaluating Mark Fields before the draft?
A: Yeah, we knew about him when he came out. He was a guy that we actually tried to sign him after the draft. His dad played for me in college, and his dad was a great player and a good guy. That didn’t have anything to do with it, but I did know him. It means I’m getting old.
Q: What did Kris Boyd show you to separate himself from some of the other young corners?
A: He hadn’t really played much because he was hurt, and his first game was not very good. But after that, he played pretty well. He got better, actually in that game after he got some game experience he did better. I feel like he’s got the ability to be a good corner sometime down the road, maybe. But he’s a guy that’s asking a lot of questions. He needs to develop a little bit more confidence I think, but that comes in time with most of these guys. They come in here and they’re playing really good receivers all the time, so it takes a little bit of time for them to get that experience. But he gets in and out of cuts, he can run, he’s big and strong. I thought he played well in Buffalo.
Q: What are your thought on facing the Falcons in the opener?
A: They’re really good. They’ve been good for a long time. I think Dan Quinn does a great job, they’re very good defensively. (Grady) Jarrett is a really good player, (Deion) Jones, Keanu Neal, all those guys on defense. They’re really fast on defense. Offensively, they’ve got Julio Jones and obviously Matt Ryan, and they run the ball really well. They’ve got five first-rounders on the offensive line, so it’ll be a good test for us. We’ll need our crowd nice and loud for them, and hopefully we can slow them down a little bit.
Q: What did it come down to for the decision to let Kyle Sloter go and have just two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster?
A: Well, it was basically we felt like Sean Mannion did a nice job in the preseason. Part of it’s about the quarterback room, about being able to do the things that the backup quarterback needs to do, so that was it.
Q: What did Brandon Dillon do to earn a spot on the roster?
A: He’s a little bit like Kris Boyd. He’s a guy that I think has a good future. He’s got the size, He can run, catches the ball well, improved coming out of NAIA school. He improved quite a bit over the time of training camp. Matter of fact, I’ve got to pay Coach $1,000 for getting him too, now that I think about it. He’s done a really nice job and I think he’s got a chance to be a good player down the road.
Q: Does it speak to the larger body of work of the offense that you’re able to let some of the offensive line go and it not hurt the depth?
A: Yeah, we kept a lot because in the past few years we’ve had some guys miss some games. We feel like we’re getting to the spot now where you’ve got (Dru) Samia and (Garrett) Bradbury and Oli (Udoh) that have a chance to be good players down the road. We see the potential in these guys and we feel like they’re depth, as fast as we can bring them along, is really going to help.
Q: What would a healthy Dalvin Cook for 16 games mean to this team?
A: It would mean a lot. I think you saw what he did when we played Arizona. The kid has got tremendous feet. He’s a great kid, works really hard, studies, takes coaching very, very well, catches the ball well. It’s another weapon. For us to have a guy like him and the weapons outside that we have, I think it just adds to what we can do offensively.
Q: On Saturday’s roster moves, why do you think it never worked out for Laquon Treadwell?
A: I don’t know, just didn’t develop into what we thought he was going to be. Laquon’s a great kid. I have a lot of respect for him. He’s worked hard. He’s had a lot of people doubting him, but he’s a good kid. I hope that he does well.
Q: Adding Chase McLaughlin to the practice squad, is it a developmental move for down the road?
A: I told him today, I said, ‘You should have missed that field goal against us the other day.’ Yeah, I think he is a kid that has a chance to be a really good kicker in the league and so we’re just trying to cover all our bases.
Q: What did you see from referees this preseason as far as offensive holding goes and is that a welcomed emphasis as you plan your pass rush?
A: Well, I think they’re enforcing the rules. Lately, guys, offensive linemen, are going around the back shoulders of guys, especially on the backside of runs so the run is going this way and they just come out there and they bear-hug the backside. It’s against the rules and so I really think that they’re emphasizing it a lot more. I know that’s a point of emphasis. It has been in the preseason and so I think Rashod (Hill) got called for it on pass protection a couple times because he got his hands outside the framework. I think they’re trying to clean that part up. Honestly, if you watch the tape that we watched as coaches, it was really ugly.
Q: How did Irv Smith Jr. do in the preseason and how ready is he to go for the regular season?
A: He’s ready and he did well.
Q: Can you talk about C.J. Ham’s development going from an undrafted guy to where he’s at now?
A: C.J.’s a great kid, hard worker, very diligent about his special teams and about the things he can do offensively, not just blocking. The fullback has to be a versatile guy. I think when guys, he was a running back in college, I think when guys get the opportunity, they get in, get in the right system, they have a chance to develop and that’s what he’s done. He’s become a good player.