*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *
Good team win yesterday, I thought we played well in all three phases. We ran the ball effectively, hit some nice play actions. We flipped the field position in the return game, and defensively other than the one play I thought we played really well.
Q: How much did it help having David Morgan back considering his blocking ability?
A: He played about 20 plays. He was a little rusty still, but it’s always nice to get another guy in there and help some of that.
Q: Did Todd Downing play a big role in helping Kevin Stefanski this week?
A: I think all of the guys kind of communicated well all week, all the offensive coaches. No, I mean I don’t think it was any more than anybody else.
Q: Was there anything different about how you approached play action yesterday, or was it effective because you were running the ball so well?
A: Yeah, I mean it helps when you run the football. They were crowding the line of scrimmage, so that helped a little bit. The touchdown to Diggs, the corner had bad eyes, he was looking inside at the runner and the quarterback. When you catch guys doing that you can take advantage of it.
Q: Before the change at offensive coordinator, you mentioned the need to pare the offense down and just go out and play. Was that the biggest key yesterday?
A: I think they were confident going into the ball game. I don’t think it was really anything different. We pared some things down, but we ran like one play ten times but with ten different variations, so sometimes that’s what it is too. You format it differently and you get them in different looks so they can’t key on one thing, but you’re basically running the same play.
Q: Marcus Sherels has a history of long returns, but how much of his success is due to knowing he will secure the ball and get it to the offense?
A: Yeah, that’s important all of the time. He’s done a really good job with that, I think since I’ve been here there’s been one fumble or something [like that]. We kind of challenged him a little bit this last week with being more aggressive. In Seattle the ball bounced one time, there was another time when I thought he could have returned it that he fair caught. This time he was much better, and I thought we blocked better on the edges too.
Q: What are the important factors to make sure the offense keeps rolling?
A: I thought it was important that they come in and see the tape to see what they’re capable of doing. Again, they had a good feeling of where they’re at and hopefully where we’ll go, but we’re going to have to go out and do it again, Detroit will be harder to run against than Miami was.
Q: With a back like Dalvin Cook, how much of an emphasis on running is there on those second and longs?
A: He was getting about 10 on them. They gave us some good looks running the ball on some of those down and distances. When you [have those] you have an opportunity to hit some of those things. When Dalvin gets it with open space, sometimes without even open space, he makes a lot of players miss. He’s got great feet, great acceleration, catches the ball well and really his vision is outstanding, so it’s all of those things. There was a couple of other runs there where I thought he was going to bust, he was really close. So, want to try to get him the ball a lot.
Q: When Kirk Cousins is under center, does Dalvin Cook have any benefit from that?
A: I really think that Dalvin can run from the gun or from under center. I think some plays are just a little bit better under center than they are from the gun, but he can really do both really well.
Q: Is it more important for the offensive line to have that attitude and character in that particular position group?
A: It’s a little bit of a mindset. If you go back and look at last year, we ran the ball a lot and we had the mindset that we’re going to be a physical football team. A team that doesn’t beat themselves, smart and play good defense and good on special teams and I thought we did that yesterday. It was pretty good.
Q: What did you see with the offensive line that was maybe different?
A: I mean a lot of the runs were similar runs that we’ve had in the past. It’s just that they had a wide defensive end, so that was part of it. Their linebackers were fast downhill sometimes out of their gaps so that gave us some opportunities on some of those things. We were able to cut them off and knock guys off to the back side and I thought we did a good job of getting to the second level. The double teams were good. I’m not trying to discredit how they play defense or anything like that, but they play a little different style upfront that if you can you can get some creases in there.
Q: How much has Mackensie Alexander’s maturity on and off the field helped his progression?
A: A lot. He was pretty immature when he first got here. That didn’t take long, but he’s grown up a lot. He spends a lot of time studying now, a lot of time with Terence [Newman] and George [Edwards] and Jerry [Gray] and really he’s been playing really well.
Q: How does Mackensie Alexander take advantage of his opportunities to blitz?
A: Well he should, he doesn’t get blocked. Somebody told me he set a record or something. If you don’t get blocked he should have an asterisk by that name.
Q: How have those opportunities gelled together?
A: Well we pay attention to the defensive line pretty good. We have smart players on defense so typically when we can show one blitz and run another or vice versa or different things. There’s certain things we’re trying to do in the blitz package that we’re trying to effect the offense.
Q: How much do you change up the blitz packages throughout the season?
A: A little bit. As the season’s gone on we’ve changed a few up. There were a couple, maybe four or five yesterday that we haven’t really shown much of. It’s part of the game plan thing, just seeing what we feel like what we can do and how we can attack certain players. Sometimes its just we’re going to do this blitz so that we can throw some of these chips off the defensive ends.
Q: When you were looking for another receiver, was someone like Aldrick Robinson, a vertical threat, what you were looking for?
A: Well, Kirk [Cousins] knew Aldrick [Robinson] so that was part of it. We did feel like we did needed a little bit more vertical threat, so that was part of it. If it would have been somebody a little slower we probably would of liked them too. I mean it just worked out the right way.
Q: Is there any benefit for having a new coordinator and his call playing being unscouted?
A: Yeah, it’s really hard to change everything you do in four days. I’m sure they had a decent idea on a lot of the things. Now we ran some plays that they probably hadn’t seen before, but I don’t think we went 100 degrees the other way.
Q: Does Aldrick Robinson catch defenders off guard?
A: I don’t think they lose track of him. I think somebody is assigned to him most of the time. We quick counted him there on that one and they were having a little bit of a hard time getting lined up on some of those things. I’m trying to think of what the coverage was exactly, but they’re going to pay extra attention to the other two guys.
Q: Have you ever had a guy that has a touchdown ratio as high as Aldrick Robinson’s?
A: Yeah, not that I can think of. I hope he keeps getting them.
Q: What do you think of Dalvin Cook’s spin move and runs yesterday?
A: Yeah, I mean that was a great run. Not even so much the spin, but the three other guys he made miss after was pretty good too. He’s an unbelievably talented guy and the more he can continue to have games like this the better we’ll be as a football team.
Q: What does it mean to get so many guys involved and did it make a difference yesterday?
A: We’ve been trying to do that a little bit. Some of it we’ve been doing it defensively as well, some of the defensive linemen snaps are down. I’m trying to get them fresh in the fourth quarter. The more pieces you can put in there and maybe run similar things I think it’s good because they’re scouting when Rudolph’s in or whatever, when Treadwell’s in opposed to Robinson. Having guys that are versatile that can do a lot of things is important.