Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Okay, got a couple more practices here before we finish up the preseason. Be a good opportunity for a lot of these young guys to make the team, show what they can do on special teams and looking forward to going out versus Buffalo and playing well.
Q: What’s left to learn about this team?
A: There’s still quite a bit. We had a lot of details that we didn’t get done the other night and so, find out if they can come back when we get out here and practice, detail the work that we have to get done. It’s by every position. They’ve all got to be more detailed in carrying out their assignment and knowing where the other people are going to be.
Q: What has Olabisi Johnson done to separate himself from the other young receivers?
A: He knows all the spots number one, but every time he goes in, he makes plays whether it’s practice or games. He catches the ball well, runs good routes, seems to have a good feel with leverage on the DB’s.
Q: How has Rashod Hill looked?
A: I would say that Rashod (Hill) has improved. He has to continue to work on his hand placements. There’s been times typically when at the beginning of the drive or the series or beginning of the game that he does pretty well and then he seems to lose a little bit of concentration as he gets a little bit more tired. Conditioning for him is going to be big.
Q: Can you describe the drop off between Brian O’Neill and Rashod Hill or are you satisfied with how he plays?
A: Rashod is good enough to play. I don’t want to get into drop-offs and things like that. No, he’ll be alright.
Q: Are you giving the starters any rest from practice this week?
A: No. No, they’ll practice. They’re actually going to get a lot of practice.
Q: How do you use the fourth preseason game as an evaluation tool? Does it serve as a tiebreaker?
A: I think you have to look at the whole preseason, training camp, all those different areas. I don’t think you can base it on just one particular game. If there’s two guys that you’re trying to decide between 50, 51, 52, 53, that could decide it—if one of them played good last week and then they play good this next week.
Q: What’s the thinking of the veterans working out in the morning this week?
A: My thinking is that I want to work them real hard with the things that we need to work on and then give them some time off to recuperate mentally before we start getting into the grind of the season.
Q: Has there been an overreaction to the first team offense’s struggles versus Arizona? How seriously are you taking it?
A: We didn’t have a good outing offensively the other night. There’s a lot of things that we need to correct which we talked about in the meeting today. It really wasn’t just one guy, or one thing, it was probably being a little bit more detailed on what we’re going to have to do in the ball games. I think some guys played really well and then some guys didn’t play well enough.
Q: As the defense is going into the regular season, what are you looking for that group to do?
A: Actually in that game, I probably wasn’t happy after the game, but they actually played pretty well. We had some situations, a couple third downs that we weren’t tight enough on receivers in there and then we misfit the screen one time. We had a miscommunication on one deep ball. We’ve got to play better on the backend but as far as guys knowing what to do and playing the right plays and playing the run, things like that, it was pretty darn good.
Q: You’ve had a lot of players begin their careers on the practice squad before going on to see success on the active roster. What is the thought process when selecting the practice squad?
A: A lot of the times, it’s if we see some future development in those guys. Obviously, have to be talented enough. Sometimes it takes a while for them to learn the systems, learn the techniques, all that. But it’s really a vital part of professional football. You see a lot of these guys that aren’t ready until year two and a half or three sometimes but they get better and better. If they’re dedicated and they work hard and they’re smart, then they have a chance. They start understanding the system, I think that’s part of it as well.
Q: Have you watched Hard Knocks at all this month?
A: I saw a little bit of I think the first one, but that was about it. I was on it three times and I never watched it, but I think I saw one, part of one maybe.
Q: When you were a part of the show, how did you manage to balance getting work done? Was it difficult when they left at all?
A: I will say this, the people at Hard Knocks are very, very professional. They do a great job and once you get the microphones on you and all the other stuff, you really forget about that you’re on it. Obviously, there are some guys that are going to be playing into it or whatever. They can portray you however they deem necessary to make their show, but they’re really professional people. They do a great job. I’m still friends with a lot of those people that work there. I think once they leave it’s not really that big of an adjustment.
Q: What were your impressions of Andrew Luck’s retirement and what were your thoughts on going against him as a quarterback?
A: He’s a great player. I wish he would have retired two years ago when we played them. Didn’t we play them two years ago? Whenever, three years ago. No, he’s a great player. I’ve always admired the way he throws the ball, his competitive nature, everything about him. He’s a terrific, terrific player.