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Transcript: Zimmer Addressed the Media on Tuesday

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

Alright, good morning. After reviewing the tape, I thought offensively did a good job. It looks a lot like how I envision it with moving the quarterback around, getting the ball out. The running game, again, we had a couple where the guys came back door on us and got us so we'll have to continue to work on that. We stuck with it, made some plays. Penalties were much better this last week which was a big emphasis and then I thought tackling was better on defense for the most part. Probably gave up too many big plays with the first group which we'll get back to work on that today. On special teams, I think we still need to do better in our coverage and our return game, still got some work to do there. Trying to look at some of these young guys and see who can help us in those areas.

Q: Did you see a common theme on tape that contributed to the breakdowns in coverage?

A: Yeah, it was mostly miscommunication, but we'll get it fixed today.

Q: What are some overall keys to the offensive line not allowing any sacks through two preseason games?

A: I think it all works hand in hand. I think the quarterback is doing a good job with his drops and getting the ball out. I think we had one play where we got blitzed that he had to throw it away, but other than that, guys have been solid in their protection. I think the offensive line is doing a good job of changing up their sets, working together and then obviously the play actions helped them as well. 

Q: What can Stephen Weatherly provide to the interior pass rush on third downs?

A: He's got to get better at that area a little bit. We talked with him today about some of the things he has to do, but he's a really good athlete. Played on his feet in college so he can do all those things that we're asking him to do. We're going to put his hand in the dirt today and see how he does so we'll see.

Q: What has Ifeadi Odenigbo shown you this preseason?

A: I think he's really improved a lot as far as understanding the concepts that he has to do it at defensive end. He's a power player, really good physicality. He's a guy that worked really, really hard last year when he was on the practice squad and this spring and I think it's starting to show.

Q: What makes Odenigbo better suited for the outside pass rush role rather than an interior defensive line position?

A: Things happen really quick in there and he may end up being in there some. We are looking at him at both spots. I think he just feels a lot more comfortable on the outside going against the tackles.

Q: How does a guy like Stephen Weatherly avoid being overpowered on the interior of the defensive line?

A: He's got good size and strength but what he's not doing right now when he's standing up, he's looking around and peeking and not using any power or leverage and that's what I talked to him about today. 

Q: Do you want to solidify the specialist positions before the last preseason game? Do you have a set timeline?

A: I don't think we have a timeline right now. I think it's just let's see where it goes and make sure we're right.

Q: What did you see out of Mike Boone against Seattle?

A: Obviously, he ran the ball well. Guys blocked for him well up front, but he ran hard, made a nice catch. I think for guys like him, and I thought he did a good job on special teams, so for guys like him—these backup tight ends, backup wide receivers, backup running backs, backup DB's, backup linebackers—they need to play special teams if they want to make the team. I was impressed by what he did in special teams probably more so than running back.

Q: Can you envision Mike Boone getting work as a returner?

A: Yeah, there's a chance he might get some.

Q: Have you seen what you want to see out of the backup wide receivers?

A: They're hard to separate right now. When we talk about it in the personnel meetings and things like that, it's one guy has a good day, then he has a bad day. The consistency of what they're trying to do is really hard to get a handle on. That's why I say that special teams, they need to get their rear ends going on that.

Q: Is it important that you have backup receivers with NFL experience, or is it okay to have younger, less experienced reserves?

A: It doesn't matter.

Q: What have your impressions of the young defensive backs been?

A: Kind of like the young receivers, kind of up and down. They have a good play or a bad play. Speaking of the couple coverage busts, a couple of them were the young guys the other night too. They need to be more consistent like the receivers. I would probably put them in that category.

Q: What did you want to see out of Hercules Mata'afa's large sample size against Seattle?

A: We're putting him in there a lot. I just want to see him in this next week, he'll probably just be in on the nickel. I want to see if he can just pass rush. We'll just kind of go from there, because I think that's what his role will be this year, if that is his role. I got to find out if he can go in there and rush on third down.

Q: What have you seen from Bene' Benwickere as a slot cornerback?

A: He's still learning it, so he had a couple of mistakes in there the other night. But I think that's probably his spot if he's going to be here. I think that fits his physical attributes the best.

Q: Is that spot for depth at nickel corner behind Mackensie Alexander wide open?

A: I would say so, yeah.

Q: Obviously you don't want to see the penalties from Holton Hill against Seattle, but since the suspensions came down how has he responded and played on the field in practice?

A: He's been fine that way. The problem with the penalties is that they always lead to scores for the offensive team. The statistics when you get a defensive penalty, the other team statically scores at a very high rate, and he had two the other night. [Kentrell] Brothers had one, and they lead to scores. That's where we have to eliminate those things.

Q: What Kyle Sloter's strong preseason upped the competition for the backup quarterback spot?

A: I don't know. I don't know that you guys know all the little details about everything, you just see how he goes and does the game. He's got to get a lot better in a lot of the other parts of being a quarterback. Making the right checks, getting people in the right formation, making sure the motion is there, not missing the time clock when it's eight yards in front of you. There's a lot of things that he has to get better at if he wants to be the backup quarterback.

Q: Do you envision Linval Joseph returning to practice this week?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you think he will play against Arizona?

A: I don't know. I don't know why I should tell you guys who's playing and who's not playing.

Q: What are the challenges of judging the bubble players on your own roster versus the bubble players that may be picked up from other rosters following the preseason?

A: I would say what we're trying to do is figure out if the guys on our roster are good enough to play for us, first off. Then while we're evaluating the other guys from other teams, it's more about if we think this guy will get released, number one, and number two, is he better than the guys that we have on the roster that we think aren't good enough. That's kind of the process that we go through with it.

Q: Do you have a standard number of players at each position that you want to keep, or does that change based on talent?

A: You have a general idea of how many you want to keep. But let's say you want to keep ten defensive linemen, but you only got nine that can play, so you're going to take that extra spot and you're going to put it at maybe the receiver spot or the tight end spot, quarterback or whatever it is. So that's kind of how it all varies. You kind of going in thinking that we're going to have this many backs, this many tight ends, but if we don't think that they're good enough to be on the team then we don't worry about it. Or maybe we want to keep nine defensive linemen, but we think we have ten really good ones, then we're going to keep them.