Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Okay, tough loss yesterday, losing at the buzzer like that. It was a game of big plays. They made more big plays than we did. When you look at the third downs, we had seven that were third-and-8-plus. They had six that were third-and-3 or less. We’ve got the ball up 23-20 with seven minutes left. We have a three and out and then it’s 23-all with two minutes and 30 seconds left and we go backwards. Then we get two sacks on defense where the ball comes out, and we don’t get either one of them. We’ll move forward. It’s not the end of the world. Getting ready to go play Dallas, good football team, and play a little bit better.
Q: Kirk Cousins mentioned yesterday that he liked the menu of short yardage plays on third down, but that the team was never able to use them. What do you attribute that to?
A: We weren’t good on first and second, it’s pretty simple. In the running game, we didn’t establish a running game enough. We didn’t get as much movement on them as we had hoped, and we didn’t finish blocks. That was part of it. Like he said yesterday, he missed some throws.
Q: Why do you think the running game wasn’t able to get going?
A: We had some miscommunication in there. We went to the wrong guy a couple times. We overthought it. Like I say, we didn’t finish well enough. There was a bunch of times we were on a guy and we didn’t finish and he came off and made tackles. We need to finish better. And the other thing, then we talk about we get a great punt down in there inside the 10-yard line and we give up a 90-yard touchdown. At the end of the game, we get a bad punt and they get great field position to kick the field goal, so that’s the other part of it.
Q: Is it more frustrating that it was little things in all phases that let you down against Kansas City?
A: There’s some parts of the game we played really well. The deep ball on (Trae) Waynes, he’s got the guy covered and he lets the guys catch the ball. The double move he got beat on wasn’t good. It’s things like that. When we’re in position, we have to make those plays.
Q: You mentioned that you got away from the run in the first half?
A: I thought we threw the ball a lot early. I didn’t mean we got away from the run. We went two-and-out the first three series. Talk about starting fast, we go first three incomplete passes.
Q: The first three incomplete passes were just not good passes. It looked like that may have worked?
A: Yeah, maybe. If we had thrown them better, caught them better.
Q: Kirk Cousins talked yesterday about not getting his hips flipped a few times. As you looked at his mechanics, did you see anything there?
A: It’s just footwork.
Q: What’s your sense of how long Adam Thielen could be out?
A: I’m not sure, honestly. Whenever the doctors say he’s ready, then he’s ready.
Q: Is there a fear it could be like Dalvin Cook’s lingering hamstring issue from last season?
A: Yeah, they’re all different. It really wasn’t a bad hamstring when he first hurt it. Obviously, we MRI him and do all those things. It really wasn’t a bad grade.
Q: You’ve been faced with a number of fourth-and-one decisions in the past few weeks. What goes into making that decision quickly?
A: Part of it is the team. There’s a lot things, really. The team that we’re playing, how we’re playing the game, field conditions, the wind. Do I feel like we need to score more points? There’s a lot of situations. Do we want to play field position?
Q: Is there an analytical element to it, or mostly instinct?
A: Well analytics says go for it. But I don’t go by that, though.
Q: Kirk Cousins was zero-for-nine under duress yesterday, one of the worst marks of his career. What was different, considering he’s been pressured before?
A: I don’t know. It’s hard for me to remember all those nine plays that you are talking about. He missed some throws. It’s not the end of the world, we’ll be alright.
Q: On the final two drives, was pressure a factor in not having success?
A: I happened to watch Kirk’s press conference after the game, and he gave up way too much information. But basically, one of the screens, they were in man coverage and they covered it, so we ended up losing like four yards. We had another play called that we could have checked out of. So there was a bunch of different things.
Q: On Kansas City’s 91-yard touchdown run, was it just a perfect storm?
A: They caught us a little bit. We were running a pressure, and one guy got down too far and one guy was too wide. Then we had a guy covering the guy that was running the flash man-to-man, and he overshot it so he missed the tackle, and then the safety missed the tackle. I don’t know that I’ve ever given up a run that long in my life.
Q: How did you assess the offensive line’s performance in the run game?
A: Some guys did good, and some guys should have done better. Every play, somebody is doing good and somebody is doing not as good, so I mean there’s lots of times were we might have had them blocked at the point of attack and we didn’t get to the backside, or vice versa.
Q: Especially early on, it looked like Kansas City was in good position on Kirk’s short throws to the flat. Did you see anything that they were doing specifically?
A: I don’t know what you’re talking about, but they did a good job in coverage.
Q: Do you think Josh Doctson could help you out this Sunday?
A: I don’t know, I’ll have to see this week.