Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Q: What is the crowd noise like in Seattle compared to other outdoor stadiums in the NFL?
A: It’s loud. Right up there with most of them.
Q: How do you look at their home field advantage?
A: It is really about whoever plays the best football and they played the best football in December since [Russell] Wilson has been there.
Q: Russell Wilson has a lot of touchdowns but his receivers aren’t getting a lot of separation, how are they making that work?
A: He is moving around a little bit. The guys take off. They are second in the league in red zone touchdown percentage. A lot of that has been obviously they run the ball well. He moves in the pocket and guys get open. They’ve had some guys where they had been pretty open, too.
Q: How is Russell Wilson able to make those tight window throws?
A: I think he just has confidence in his ability to throw it. That is part of it. You got to have confidence down there that you are going to throw it away from the defender.
Q: Is it important to get pressure with the front four because of his mobility?
A: Sometimes. I think you have to mix it up on him. They have some movement passes where they get out of the pocket. Then they have some scrambles and they have some normal play action drop backs.
Q: In what ways has their offensive line gotten better?
A: I think they’re using to their advantage they are running the football a lot. They have a really good zone scheme that they do. They have a few traps, a little bit of crack toss. They’re tough, physical guys that come off the ball and get some double teams and try to remove you off the football.
Q: What’s the biggest difference between Brian Schottenheimer and Darrell Bevell, more of a run team now?
A: They’ve committed to the run game. I think at some point in the season earlier in the year they were throwing it a little bit more. Now they are more diligent about running with it and sticking with the run. They’ve gone for it on fourth down quite a few times. This [Chris] Carson is a good back. He maybe the best, one of the best backs in the league, the way he runs.
Q: On the defensive side what makes Bobby Wagner so good for them?
A: I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. He has great speed. I think he sees things really well. He is very instinctual. You know, with that position and their defense, it gives them a lot of flexibility to run and get to the football.
Q: They’ve lost a bunch of big names in the secondary. Do they still look similar in concept?
A: They look similar in concept but they have made a few changes what they are doing defensively in the secondary. Their players still look the same, even though they’re not the same guys. Their corners are long and can run. They’re bump and run guys that are physical. Their safeties are not as big as one guy was but they look similar, yes. It looks like they have a mold that they are looking for.
Q: Do they look the same in their run fronts?
Q: What kind of a challenge does that present?
A: You have to find the guy, typically you can’t block them all unless you bring extra guys in there and then they bring extra guys in. You have to do a good job of what is called booking a guy. Letting him be the unblock guy furthest away from the run.
Q: Your team has been going out two days early for games in the pacific time zone. Will that continue and what advantage does that bring?
A: Yes, we are going out on Saturday night.
Q: How do you feel how that has worked?
A: It’s just what we do so hopefully we will be successful this week.
Q: What stands out about how Carson runs the ball?
A: Just about everything. His physicality number one, but I’ve seen him hurdle guys, I’ve seen him flip and land on his feet, I’ve seen him run over guys. He’s got excellent feet and vision, but really all of it.
Q: Is it different what kind of value linebackers bring now?
A: Yeah, sure. I mean you know there’s much more of a throwing league so linebackers have to be able to cover in space a lot more than they used to. A lot of times back in the day they’d ask one guy to go to the middle now a lot of a guys have to run vertical with guys, so yeah I think that’s changed quite a bit.
Q: How do outside zone runs benefit someone’s skillset like Dalvin Cook?
A: Quite honestly it’s about stretching the defense and then hopefully get a cut back seam in there typically. It’s stretch, stretch, stretch, put your foot in the ground and get back downhill. The ball might start on this hash and it might press to outside the other hash but cut back inside the hash. It makes the defenders run and so that’s where if defenders start turning their shoulders then that’s when cut back seams occur.
Q: Where have you seen Ben Gedeon progress the most?
A: Ben’s a good football player. He’s kind of an old school linebacker. He’s very smart, very tough, good physicality, gets off of blocks, doesn’t say boo hardly ever. He’s a guy that is very reliable and tough and physical.
Q: In looking at the film over the past few games has Danielle Hunter come close to getting sacks he wasn’t able to?
A: Yeah, he’s always close at getting sacks. Last week they ran the ball three times on third down, threw two screens, they were being very conscious about not allowing us to do that much.
Q: When running zone-runs how much of an advantage is it having someone athletic like Brian O’Neill?
A: A lot because if you’re running away from him a lot times he’s not blocking the guy that’s over him, he’s blocking the guy the next guy inside and that’s guy’s going to be running with the back and in order to get there and get him blocked, or cut off, or pushed by the hole you have to be athletic. And if it’s going to him they maybe combination block off of two guys to one and up to the backer depending on where he goes. The athleticism is important, yeah.
Q: When Dalvin Cook runs out of the shotgun, is that a translation from what he was able to do at Florida State?
A: I think Dalvin can run out of the gun or from under center. For him, I don’ think it’s any big deal, he can do all those different runs. Some guys are better running out of the gun and some guys are better running from the home position, but the gun formation really has shown up a lot from college football as you said. I noticed it probably ten years ago, that started becoming a lot more of a factor. Now it’s all the time.
Q: Does this game have a little bit of a playoff feel?
A: I think going on the road with that crowd and the type of football team that they are, I think yeah, a little bit. These next four games will determine what we do and where we go and how we perform in the clutch. Yeah, I guess you could say that.
Q: What was the importance of getting Tom Johnson back?
A: I thought Tom played good for us the entire time he was here. I don’t know whether it was four or five, five years maybe. He knew the system, he understood a lot of the things, the way we do it and the way we do things, and so I just felt like having another inside guy would help Sheldon [Richardson] and the rotation as much as anything. Tom has always been a good player.
Q: Do you expect to limit Xavier Rhodes throughout this week?
Q: Is he a full go for Monday?
A: [Thumbs up].