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Transcript: Zimmer Addressed the Media on Tuesday

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

We're trying to get ready for a very good Rams team. We practice today, we're leaving this evening. Try to get out there and practice there tomorrow. There really, really good football team. They've got the defensive player of the year, the offensive player of the year, coach of the year so we'll have to go out there and play really, really well to win this game.

Q: What can you tell us with where things stand with Everson Griffen?

A: Well, Rick made a statement on that and I don't really have anything further to add.

Q: Everson will not travel or play Thursday?

A: Correct.

Q: What would you say about Everson's well-being?

A: Yeah, the only thing we're really concerned about for Everson isn't really anything to do with football. It about him getting better. In the five years that I've been here I've always loved Everson. The effort that he puts out, the work that he does, the chants you count on him at game time, even at practice. He's always been a really good model for us and obviously he's going through some tough times now.

Q: When did you know things were out of sorts?

A: I'm not really going to talk about things that we talked about internally. Again, I just hope for the best for him. In the long run he's a really good kid.

Q: Do you hope to see Everson anytime soon?

A: I hope to see him every day, but the only thing is it's nothing to do with football.

Q: Have you had a chance to speak to Everson since last week?

A: Not since, I don't know when it was, the game maybe. Not last game. The week after Green Bay.

Q: Do you think his situation affected your team's football performance Sunday?

A: I don't think so. We didn't play good. I'm not one to sit up here and make excuses about things. A lot of things go on with a lot of teams and like we said all along, it's about how you handle it and how you go out and prepare and play. So, I'll never use that as an excuse.

Q: How much was Everson Griffen not playing last week due to his knee and how much was it due to the circumstances?

A: Well, he couldn't play with the knee.

Q: What are you looking for from guys looking to take on bigger roles?

A: Stephen Weatherly came in last week and I thought he played well. I anticipate that he going to continue to play well. We'll have to move some pieces around, obviously, but we've always tried to make this a team where we play, count on one another, and play together. Injuries happen, you lose guys. We can't be "woe is me" you got to go out and preform.

Q: What's the biggest challenge the Rams' offense presents?

A: They've got great receivers, [Brandin] Cooks is a dynamic receiver, [Cooper] Kupp is really good, [Robert] Woods, he looks fast and even better than a year ago. Obviously [Todd] Gurley is a hard running back with great speed to get to the perimeter. Their offensive line does a nice job, and like I said earlier on the conference call, I thought [Jared] Goff took a jump from his first year to his second year, but I think he's taken another big jump here in his third year. He's moving well in the pocket, he seems under control of their no-huddle offense and the things they do getting into the right plays and out of the right plays. It'll be a great test for us.

Q: They have one of the lowest three-and-out percentages in the NFL. How much of that due to what they're able to do with Todd Gurley in the short game?

A: They have quite a few third-and-ones, that's part of it. Secondly, Kupp is really good on third down, and they get a lot of chances where they can isolate Cooks or Woods on the backside, get them one-on-one, and they're accurate. But they do a really good job on third downs, I just watched all of their third downs again for the second time this morning. Third time, actually.

Q: Did you watch much of last year's tape against the Rams? Does that have much to do with what you'll do this year?

A: Obviously we watch it. We have cut-ups on teams, and obviously that's in our cut-ups, so you go back and look and see what they tried to do to us more so than what we tried to do to them. They took the ball right down the field and scored on the first drive against us last year, and then we were able to do some better things after that. But when you're playing a team that can run the football and throw the football like they can, have big plays, they got all these different receivers that are big play guys, it always makes it really, really challenging.

Q: How did Pat Elflein look on Sunday, and do you think he'll start this Thursday?

A: I thought he did pretty well, and yes, he'll start.

Q: What kind of dimension does Ndamukong Suh add to their defensive line?

A: Their front guys, obviously [Aaron] Donald and Suh and [Michael] Brockers, they're get-going, up the field guys. Suh is explosive, powerful to get to the spot on the quarterback, and then Donald is quick side-to-side and then uses power to get to it. But yeah, it makes it difficult. Their linebackers are fast, they've got two good safeties. Depending on the situation at corner, their corners are really good, but if they don't play, then [Sam] Shields is a good player, Nickell [Robey-Coleman] is another good player.

Q: What can Kirk Cousins do to cut down on the fumbles when he's under attack in the pocket?

A: We work on it all the time. It's securing the football with two hands. The first one last week, he was trying to come up in the pocket, and the guy caught him from behind and the ball was out here a little bit and the guy punched it, so it's tucking it in. We're working on it all the time, and not just with him. We try to work on it with all the quarterbacks, but obviously he's holding the ball the most, so we try to use that a lot with him.

Q: Do defenses go after a guy like that with his history of fumbles?

A: Anytime you're playing somebody that holds the ball loose, the defenses know it and they are going to try to get the ball. If you go out through running backs or quarterbacks throughout the league and they carry the ball in one hand or it's down here like this, and they see it, a lot of times they are going to avoid trying to sack the quarterback. A lot of times it's even not securing a tackle because the ball is out so they are going to try to strip it. If a guy carries the ball in his left hand, carries in his right hand, we look at all of those things.

Q: Do you hope to have Dalvin Cook back this week?

A: There is a possibility. I always hope to have him, but there is a possibility he can play, yes.

Q: What is the organizational process for making sure Everson Griffen gets the help he needs?

A: Quite honestly, we have a very, very good support program. Our owners do an unbelievable job of giving these players all of the resources that they need. If we have to bring in experts from some other place or he has to go see other people, our owners are outstanding with that. We are going to do everything possible that we can, not only for Everson, but to help everybody on our team. Quite honestly, with their families as well. This organization is really good with that.

Q: Would there have been a way to ensure Everson Griffen received a mental health evaluation on site or making sure he got one rather than telling him to get one on his own?

A: Quite honestly, I don't know. That is not really my area of expertise. I don't really know the answer to that to be honest with you.

Q: How is the focus of your team right now with dealing with Everson Griffen's situation and having a short week?

A: We have been really disappointed in how we played last week. That is the main thing. I know talking about Everson, our guys really care and love Everson. But our guys understand we all have a job to do. I haven't noticed, we've only had one day. It's hard but they seem to be, other than disappointed about the loss, they haven't seem to be down or anything like that.

Q: How do you think the pass rush and discipline in the pass was on Sunday and the ability of teams to extend plays stress the defense?

A: It really stresses it when a guy can run. You saw that a couple times. He [Josh Allen] scrambled for a touchdown last week and then he scrambled for a first down. There was another situation and I think he scrambled to throw one time. You have to be careful. The one time the quarterback went outside the pocket. The one time he came up and went through the pocket. We had to stress it even more this week than we probably should have done more. I have to take responsibility for that and hopefully we will get that done.

Q: Is there a problem with a team being sent two time zones away on the road on a Thursday night on your end?

A: Yes, it's a problem. We haven't had a home game on a short week since I've been here in five years. It is what it is. We go out and play the schedule however they do it. I know the statistics about going to the West Coast on a short week and all of that. Part of the reason we are going out, we did a study on preparing for a game on a short week, all of those things. That is why we are going out tonight after practice.

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