Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
After watching the tape from yesterday, we played really well throughout most of the ball game. Offensively, had good mixture of run and pass and play actions, drop backs. Defensively we played good, but we did give up a couple big plays, which we need to eliminate. On special teams we played pretty good. I thought our guys played fast and with a lot of emotion, and then we had some things that we have to clean up. There’s six minutes left in the ball game and we’re trying to put the game away and we get penalties and go backwards and have to punt, things like that. So we’re going to have to clean some things up and get back to work for Detroit.
Q: What can getting the intermediate and deep passing game going on first and second down do for your offense going forward, as that unpredictability actually starts to come to fruition?
A: I’ve been saying for a long time that play actions makes it harder on a defense, and we showed it yesterday. I think almost all of those big plays were play actions. If they’re going to take the free safety out of the middle, you have a chance to hit some real deep ones, and if they keep him back you have the chance to hit some intermediate ones.
Q: What has changed in your pass protection game these last two weeks?
A: It was really good yesterday, so we just got to keep continuing to get better at it. We’re working every day on trying to keep a firm pocket, and I think when we have a clean, firm pocket then the quarterback usually plays pretty good.
Q: How much harder is it for a defensive coordinator to game plan against an offense as varied as yours is right now?
A: Well it’s difficult. That part is difficult, but it’s also difficult when you’ve got playmakers at running back, at the tight ends and the wide receivers, too. The combination of that and then being able to run the ball some, being able to get it on the perimeter with the quarterback, I think all those things make it more difficult. When I’ve coached against this offense before, you’re always trying to catch the quarterback getting out of the pocket a couple times. You do that and you take away from something else. It makes you very disciplined defensively, understanding where you have to be and what you have to do.
Q: Have you noticed anything about how teams are playing Stefon Diggs in off coverage, and why he’s been so successful in those situations in these last three weeks?
A: I honestly don’t know. It might be the way their scheme is, that the corners are off, I don’t know. I know that the Giants typically had quite a bit of off coverage, and these guys (Philadelphia) changed a little bit from what they showed the week before with their coverages. They played a little bit more like what they usually play, so maybe it’s because the corners came back in.
Q: What were the areas of emphasis for your defense on third down in yesterday’s game?
A: Well we put a couple new things in, a couple new looks for them to try and make it a little bit cloudy for the quarterback and then get to some other areas in coverage. And really, the guys did a good job, but I think the disguise part and adding a couple of different wrinkles in there helped.
Q: What does moving Everson Griffen inside to the A gap do to an offense as they try to account for protections?
A: Well we probably know which way the center is going to turn, that helps. It’s just another look, just another look.
Q: Danielle Hunter set the NFL record for most sacks prior to turning 25 years old with 46.0. Is he the best young defensive end that you’ve seen or coached?
A: Somebody told me that the day before the game, that if he got a sack that he would do that, but I don’t know, DeMarcus Ware was pretty good, too. But Danielle is talented, and he’s still got a lot of room to grow. I think he can continue to get better and better and better, but he’s pretty darn good.
Q: Is Eric Kendricks taking on more responsibility in your scheme now that he’s in his fifth year, or is there anything more that he’s still capable of?
A: He thinks he’s got a lot more responsibilities. But early in the game, he wasn’t very good in coverage a couple of times. Like Adam (Zimmer) said, he was back to the rookie Eric Kendricks. Then he settled down and got back to playing really well. He just has to stay disciplined in his coverage. I mean, we’re asking him to do a lot of things, because he’s a talented guy. He can cover, he can run, get sideline to sideline, so we ask him to do a lot of things.
Q: I know you’re not a Pro Football Focus fan, but they have Kendricks ranked as the number two linebacker in the NFL. Is Kendricks having a Pro Bowl-type season?
A: I don’t know. It’s way too early to worry about that stuff.
Q: What are your thoughts on how Rashod Hill performed when he got in the game?
A: I thought Rashod (Hill) did well. He’s been working both right and left and so it was good to see him go in there and go on the other side. He’s a guy that’s played a lot of games for us, so it’s really good when he can do that.
Q: Do you anticipate David Morgan getting off the PUP this week?
A: I don’t know. It’s up to what the doctors say. I don’t know where he’s at in that area.
Q: Eric Kendricks on that tip pass he almost intercepted, was he freelancing on that a little bit?
A: The guy he was covering was behind him, so it was a good thing he tipped the ball, yes.
Q: Can you assess Everson Griffen’s play, especially given where he was last year?
A: He’s playing excellent, maybe as good as I’ve seen him play since he’s been here. What makes Everson (Griffen) really, really good is his effort that he plays with, the violence that he plays with and he’s going to make it a full-day affair for that offensive tackle he’s going against. We’re asking him to do some things that really defensive ends don’t want to do, and he goes in there and does them, like getting in the A-gap yesterday. He was probably excited about that, but some of the things he’s not excited about, but he does it because it’s what we ask him to do.
Q: Everson Griffen is one of four defensive linemen in the NFL right now to have spent 10 seasons with their original team. How unique is that and what does that mean?
A: He is a really unique individual in that he’s all about the team. I think since whenever I made him a captain a few years back, he’s really taken to that role. I think he feels like this is home. He loves the fans here. He loves the relationship with the rest of the guys and I think it shows, just the way he goes out there and plays. He is a unique guy and does a lot of great things for us.
Q: After the game, Kirk Cousins was saying how he views his position kind of like a CEO and he puts on his three-piece suit. He has emotion, but doesn’t show it. How much do you like that in a quarterback?
A: I saw something that he said, but I don’t know. Whatever makes him play good, I’m fine with.
Q: He talked about keeping his emotions in check. He’s the same guy whether you’re coming off the Chicago game or Philadelphia game.
A: I saw some pretty good emotion out of him yesterday. There was some good emotion after a couple of passes that he threw. He’ll get fired up during the games and practice. He’ll get fired up a little bit so each guy has to be their own personality and if that’s how he feels he plays the best, I’m good with that. We’ve got other guys that don’t wear three-piece suits, that’s for sure.
Q: How do you feel about the continued maturation of Alexander Mattison, especially with the way he became a workhorse back in the second half against Philadelphia?
A: Matty (Alexander Mattison) is a really good back. I didn’t like the fumble, but he runs with a purpose. I think he sees things really well. The one he hit and went down the right sideline over there was a really good run. He’s a good back. We’re glad we have him.
Q: What did you think of the coverage in contested ball situations against Philadelphia?
A: I thought it was pretty good. We wanted to make sure that (Zach) Ertz didn’t have a big day, so I thought we did a good job on him. (Alshon) Jeffery had a lot of catches, but he didn’t have a lot of yards. Those were two emphasizes we had going into the ballgame. I thought we did a nice job disrupting the receivers, not letting them get into the route and then I thought Trae Waynes played really well yesterday.
Q: Stefon Diggs talked about how the game yesterday can help his patience and his confidence. Can you see a game like this helping Diggs or not changing him?
A: I don’t think it’s going to change how he is. He always plays with a lot of energy, a lot of emotion. I think it’ll help his confidence in knowing that he’s going to get some balls and as long as he stays disciplined in his route running and all those things, he’ll continue to get a lot of balls.
Q: How important is this Detroit game?
A: This game is same as important as the last one was.