Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Okay, after watching the tape, I thought we played well in all three phases. I thought we played with a really good intensity throughout the ball game. Obviously, offensively, I thought Kirk (Cousins) played very well. Offensive line did a really nice job. Dalvin (Cook) ran hard. The receivers did some really good things making plays, blocking down field. Defensively, I thought we challenged the quarterback. I thought we did a good job in the running game. Special teams, we had one return that we’d like to get back, but other than that, it was nice to see (Dan) Bailey hit all his kicks. The one punt we had was a good punt, so we’ll keep them going.
Q: Defensively, what worked for you to shut Evan Engram down?
A: The guys just did a good job. We were aware of where he was and how he was going to play and I think the guys did a nice job of understanding the coverage of what we had to do with him. We knocked a couple balls out of his hands, which was big, but he’s a very, very good player.
Q: Coverage-wise, are there things you can carry over with a guy like Zach Ertz?
A: Maybe. I just started watching him. We’ll just have to see what we can do.
Q: Everson Griffen talked about having too many penalties this year. What would you say about that? You had 12 yesterday and are tied for third in the league this year.
A: I agree with him 100%, too many.
Q: What will you say to the team about them?
A: I’ve been talking to the team all year long about them. We just have to clean them up. We had four pre-snap penalties offensively. We had some holding calls. We had some DPIs. Last two weeks, first third down of the game, we’ve let them move on because we’ve had a penalty on the back end. We’ve got to get the players in better positions so that they don’t create penalties and that’s really the big thing.
Q: He talked about that being a concentration thing. Do you see it the same way?
A: I think the pre-snap penalties can be a concentration thing. Everson (Griffen) jumped offsides on third down. The other ones are you don’t have your body in the right position and that’s what leads you to grab and hold and the things that you’re not supposed to do.
Q: Yesterday you said you liked the aggressiveness that they showed in the pass rush and that you’d like to see more of it. Was there anything during your week of prep that led you to believe that was the approach you needed to see?
A: Every week when we’re watching the tape, we try to figure out what approach we need to take. I guess so. I don’t know. Each week is a different week. I guess we just try to figure out a way to stop the other team best we can.
Q: What’s made Ifeadi Odenigbo into a guy that has earned a spot in the defensive line rotation and and someone you can trust?
A: Number one, he worked really, extremely hard in the offseason and I remember toward the end of last season when he was on the scout team, he was making those guys on the other side of the ball work really, really hard. He worked real hard in the offseason, kept getting stronger and more athletic. He came in here with a purpose of he was going to make this team and try to help us win. He’s done a nice job.
Q: When did you see him making the transition from an edge rusher to someone who could bulk up and play inside?
A: It’s just skillset really. We looked at him a while back trying to do that a little bit, but I think now he feels more comfortable understanding exactly what we’re trying to do.
Q: With him, Jayron Kearse and Eric Wilson, what’s been the key to developing some of the younger defenders who have played key depth roles already?
A: I think it’s with any young player, the more they understand the system, the more they understand what you’re trying to ask them to do, then they end up making more plays. They’re athletic guys. (Jayron) Kearse has done a nice when he’s got in there. Eric’s (Wilson) done a nice job. Obviously, we’re going to need those guys.
Q: Does the result yesterday make you more cautious about throwing the challenge flag on pass inference calls?
A: I might have did that because I was mad. I’m not going to get into it because I’ll get fined. I’m only here so I don’t get fined. That’s true, too. Two less questions is what he’s going to say in a minute. Two less questions. I figured they wouldn’t overturn it, but I saw the guy grab Trae (Waynes) and Trae was looking back for the ball and it was a 50-yard penalty, so I said what the heck. That was kind of my thinking then.
Q: What did you see on the play where Darius Slayton got behind Xavier Rhodes on the touchdown?
A: He got in bad position early, and then he did not do a good job of catching up to him before he started looking back.
Q: Are you concerned about Xavier Rhodes’ play at all with the penalties?
A: No, I just think we have to clean up some technique with some of our defensive backs, not just him. We’ve got some other guys that we need to clean up our technique. At times throughout the game, they might be perfect 60-70% of the time and then the other 30% they get sloppy. We have to clean that up.
Q: Is there a particular reason he hasn’t been shadowing the last three weeks?
A: Yeah, because I told him not to. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be like that every week. That’s just how we decided to do it this particular week and that particular week.
Q: Did anything stand out to you when you re-watched Mike Hughes’ game and his ability to deflect passes?
A: Mike played really well. His technique was really good. He had a couple bad plays in there. The one where they caught the ball just outside the end zone, that should have been his play, and he had one other play that wasn’t very good. The rest of the time he played very, very good. He played good in the running game. There was a couple times he could have fit better in the running game, but overall, I thought he played very well. He competed. He used good technique. He got his hands on some balls, so that was good to see.
Q: Do you think the confidence in that knee is one of the biggest difference you’ve seen?
A: I don’t know. I don’t talk to him about his past injuries. He’s out there and he’s ready to go to me.
Q: Was there an emphasis on bringing blitzes earlier in the series on first and second downs?
A: It’s all based on tendencies, what the other team does, and we felt like we had some tendencies there that we could try to attack. That’s really what it was. Again, every week’s a different week.
Q: Do you want Dalvin Cook to become the workhorse-type back where he’s getting 20-plus carries?
A: I want us to do whatever we have to do to win. I don’t really care how many carries he gets or how many times we throw the ball. It’s all about trying to do the best that we can do to win. When he has the ball in his hand, he’s very dangerous as you can see on that tape. There’s so many ‘wow’ plays when he has the ball in his hands that he can do so much damage. When we get the passing game going like we did yesterday and him running, I think it’s a good mixture.
Q: I think Kirk Cousins was nine-of-11 on play action yesterday. Was that the best example you’ve seen of being able to marry the run and the pass?
A: I thought we did a really nice job scheme-wise with the offense. The play-actions, the misdirection, the run game, the outside runs, the inside the runs, the whatever you want to call it, trying to hurt the defenses eyes by some of the movements that we had. I think there was a lot of good stuff there yesterday.
Q: Do you have to just eat some of the penalties from Everson Griffen to get the advantage he gets off the snap?
A: No, we don’t have to do that. He loses concentration sometimes on those and that’s what happens. Most of the time, he’s really, really good with getting off on the ball and doing the things he’s supposed to do and then he’ll have that lapse that we have to keep working on.
Q: What did you see out of the offense by putting together the 98-yard drive and then conversely the defense not letting them get more points on the second field goal try?
A: That was big. Any time you can go 98 yards is big. We converted the first third and, I guess it was eight, maybe, with a nice conversion there. We hit a couple more balls. We had a long run and then we got down there and we were able to score. That was good. The first drive was good too, we just didn’t finish it off getting it in the end zone. We had the adversity with the penalty on the field goal, had to go out first-and-five and stop them. That was good to see. We played pretty good in the red zone yesterday which is important.
Q: Do you have any reaction to Jay Gruden being let go?
A: Jay’s a good man and a good football coach, and I never liked seeing anybody get fired. I’m sure he’ll land on his feet. It’s part of the business, unfortunately.