Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
After watching the tape, a lot of the same things that I said last night. What time was it, midnight? Something like that? Made too many mistakes in critical areas, fumbled the ball on the 14 yard line on first-and-10 going in. We throw an interception right before the half, so we lose points there. I did a presentation to the team last week about when a defense has penalties how the scoring goes up. We gave up six points because we had penalties on defense, and we got beat by five. There’s a lot of things that we’re going to clean up and get back to work.
Q: What do you attribute some of those uncharacteristic penalties to, especially the unnecessary roughness?
A: I don’t know. I didn’t talk to each one of those guys individually. I think the one on Eric Wilson was off base, really. Really the one [Eric] Kendricks had, he touched the guy, he was still inbounds and then hit the white stripe and the guy kind of took a dive. Harrison [Smith] has got to pull off of the quarterback.
Q: Now that you’ve gotten three and a half games of tape on Eric Wilson, how do you think he’s done in relief of Anthony Barr?
A: For the most part he’s done well. I don’t think last night was his best game, but the other games he’s played pretty well.
Q: Do opponents account for Wilson the same way as they account for Barr?
Q: When you’re evaluating players that have a history of turnovers, how do you consider that and figure out if that’s something you can coach out of them?
A: It’s all part of the process. If a guy is a fumbler, that’s part of it. But you know, guys can change. Tiki Barber had a huge fumbling problem that he ended up fixing. It’s just a process for some guys.
Q: Do you look at the struggles in the run game against Chicago as a tough matchup on the road against a good run defense coupled with playing from behind and needed to pass, or as something larger?
A: I think we need to be more efficient in running the football. I do think that there’s times that we need to stick with it a little bit more, but I understand. It gets frustrating, you’re trying to run the ball and you get a minus one, then you tend to go to something where you can get some yards. That leads to third downs usually, and you try it again and you get two yards. It’s like they used to say, could be one, one, one, then 15 [yards]. But you got to keep at it. I thought early in the ball game we ran the ball pretty well. I know that Latavius [Murray] had a nice run, and Dalvin [Cook] had about an eight yard run early. But the two outside linebackers that they have make it a tough test for some of those, so you got to have some runs in there that you feel good about.
Q: What did you like about Anthony Harris’ performance?
A: He made a couple of nice plays. Obviously the interception was a really nice play. The second one, he threw it to him, but he made a nice play on the sideline in breaking up a route. There’s things that he has to clean up as well.
Q: Where has Harris grown the most?
A: I just think confidence. He sees things and reacts. He’s a good visual player I think. He’s very smart, so he’s good visually in kind of understanding what the offense is trying to do.
Q: On Kirk Cousins’ two interceptions was he being over aggressive?
A: The first one was a miscommunication. The second one it was a misread. He thought he was getting something else and he didn’t get that.
Q: Last night you said you didn’t know if the team wasn’t listening or didn’t care. When you look at the tape what did you see today?
A: I think we had some lack of awareness on a few plays and I pointed them out today. I’ve asked several players if they’re listening to me or not or if they quit listening to me and there’s been and not just them, I didn’t ask them “did you” but “did these guys stop listening to me” and they said no.
Q: With an experienced team is it a surprise when some of your keys to victory do not happen?
A: Not really. I could say let’s rush for 1,500 yards today and I set the goals pretty high on most of the things. The turnovers, we talked about that all week, we had to win the turnover battle and we didn’t do that. We had to take care of the football and I’m not going to get into the rest of the things we talked about because we have to play them again.
Q: How hard has that been considering your teams have been pretty good at taking care of the ball the last four years?
A: It’s been frustrating at times. Like the Saints game we’re getting down there, we’re getting ready to score and Adam [Thielen] fumbles the ball and he’s pretty good with it. I guess stuff happens sometimes.
Q: Kirk Cousins was talking about a sign that is in the quarterback’s room about your record with turnovers. Can you elaborate? Are those signs all over as a reminder?
A: There’s a lot of signs in different places. I don’t know which one he’s referring to actually, but I wouldn’t know the statistic on that one.
Q: Is this a situation where you need to talk to Kirk Cousins?
A: I’ve talked to him, yes. I really don’t think he is panicking. I don’t think that is the case at all. I think there are times when he wants to get the ball down the field so he’ll wait for guys to get open and instead of taking a sure thing sometimes. Other than the turnovers, I have a hard time faulting him. This kid is tough, he plays outstanding. He works his rear end off. He is a great team guy. We just need to and quite honestly, not all of them are on him. Guys are in the wrong spot sometimes, too. That is not just our team, that is every team. I think all of those things combined make it a little bit more difficult.
Q: Do you think this offense is still learning how to play together?
A: I don’t know if learning to play together is quite the thing. We do have a lot of guys going in different spots. It might be, what is the best way to say this, it might be a little volume. A little too much volume.
Q: What do you mean by that?
A: Too much. Let’s just play football. You run a really good out route, you run the out route. He runs a good curl, you run the curl. You know what I mean? So, maybe we just need to focus a little bit on not trying to trick the other team quite so much.
Q: How much does that have to do with a new offense and trying to add so much in there?
A: Definitely. It always is part of it. You want to add new plays every week and new plays and new plays and new plays. If you’re not executing, it might be the best play in the world. Vince Lombardi might have designed it but if you can’t execute it, then it doesn’t do you any good. Can’t protect for it or whatever it is.
Q: How much do you think with all the pressure Kirk Cousins has been under has contributed to some of the interceptions?
A: I saw that watching the tape, there was a lot of clean pockets in there. A lot of clean pockets. Sometimes we hit things and sometimes we don’t. I’d have to think back on the two interceptions if they were pressured or not. I’m not sure I know what pressure is according to whoever is deciding it.