Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Good morning. We're getting ready for Oakland, they're a very good football team in my opinion. They're physical up front, they've got two really good rushers, they play a lot of man-to-man. Charles Woodson does a lot of good disguising in the back-end. They want to play man-to-man if they can. Offensively, I think [Derek] Carr is playing very well, he's playing with a lot of confidence, seeing things, getting the ball out. [Coach Bill] Musgrave is doing a good job with their scheme, they give you a lot of different things. It will be a good test for our defensive, as well. They're running the ball good with Latavius Murray, their offensive line is big and physical. It will be a good test for us.
Q: Can you give us an update on Teddy Bridgewater?
A: He's progressing nicely. He's going through the protocol still.
Q: Any chance Teddy Bridgewater practices today?
A: I don't know yet.
Q: What is your evaluation of Teddy Bridgewater halfway through this season and an area you've seen an improvement from last year?
A: I just think that the comfort level that he has is better. I think that he has to be able to make some plays that are there when we have them there. He's missed a few and it's a combination of things – we have to do better in our passing game, there's no question about it. Sometimes it's protection, sometimes it's the routes, sometimes it's guys covered, sometimes we're not making the correct reads or the correct throws, so we've got to do better there.
Q: Is today the deadline on a roster move for Josh Robinson being moved to the active roster?
A: We're going to activate him today.
Q: What will be the corresponding roster move?
A: It will show up soon.
Q: What stands out to you about Charles Woodson and being able to play at such a high level for so long?
A: He still can run. He's still a really good athlete. I think playing in the back-end, I think he disguises well. He'll line up in the middle of the field and then be playing a half-sided coverage or quarters coverage or something like that. He does a good job. Sometimes they line him up down close to the box like a robber, they do a lot of different things with him.
Q: With how much the Packers moved Charles Woodson around, do you think that prepared him for that type of role?
A: I don't know, but I know that when you play nickel, you see a lot of pattern combinations that you would see at a safety, the same as a safety, just a little closer. It's hard for me to speak on him, but at that position to safety, back when I first started coaching we had a safety that played nickel and that helped him with his progressions.
Q: Do you see an intimidation factor when you look at this team?
A: I think they're a very physical team. They're a tough-minded team, I think that's part of what Jack Del Rio is trying to preach to them. I wouldn't say we're intimidated, but they are a very aggressive football team, yes.* *
Q: Is trying to get a young quarterback to understand complementary football a tough thing to do?
A: I don't think it's real hard with Teddy [Bridgewater] because he understands. Sometimes he's cautious with the ball because he doesn't want to give the other team a chance. I think he sees us playing fairly good defense at times, but I do have belief, like when we get behind in games he doesn't play that way, he kind of lets it loose and just plays football. I want him to be more like that throughout the course of the ballgame. But he's taking good care of the ball, he's moving in the pocket, he's avoiding negative plays, but there's times when he just needs to say, "the heck with it, it's my ball, let's go."* *
Q: Do you think he's doing a good job of that when he needs to do it?
A: Yeah, there's a fine line there, you don't want to go crazy because you've got Adrian [Peterson] in the backfield, you want to hand him the football some. In my opinion, Teddy [Bridgewater] is a playmaker, and I think we want him to continue to try to make plays with some of these. Sometimes he's a little bit too much of complementary football, maybe.
Q: Do you think a young quarterback might rely on Adrian a little bit too much and not feel the need to make as many plays?
A: I don't think that's his mindset. I think if we were throwing the ball every down, you'd see it differently, but that's not who we are. Hopefully as the weather continues to get colder and we get into more bad weather games, our identity will continue to show up. But we have to do better in the passing game, there's no question.
Q: What was your evaluation of Derek Carr during the draft process?
A: I thought he was a great kid. I actually talked to his brother some, too. I thought he was a great kid; smart, competitor, very confident, good quick release, good arm strength.
Q: You seemed to choose your words diplomatically Sunday, were you surprised to see Jeff Fisher's comments on Monday?
A: I've moved on to the Raiders. I don't really get into all of that.
Q: Seemingly you have a good relationship with Jeff Fisher, has that been hampered at all?
A: I just worry about the Raiders, I'm not worried about it. I'm sure we'll see each other at some point.
Q: If Teddy Bridgewater had a setback in the concussion protocol, do you feel comfortable with Shaun Hill?
A: Yeah, I do. Shaun's got a great grasp of things, he's extremely smart. It's really about just going out there and getting reps and executing it. I think we're fortunate to have Shaun, he does a great job when I watch practice, we get doing things, he gets the ball out, he knows where to go, he's accurate. I think you saw that a lot in the preseason games, as well. He will be ready to go. He's a great professional, great kid.
Q: Are individual player awards a sign that your system is working?
A: I think any time you have success those things happen. I talked to them today about, "We're at the halfway point of the season, here's what we have to do to get better." I'm trying to continue to push them to understand how you go to one of the elite teams, the things we have to do to improve and how each one of them can help us to become a better football team, individually. It's nice for the guys and all of that, but it just means guys are playing good, that's all.
Q: What is Bill Musgrave doing that's giving defenses trouble and how are they allowing so few sacks with how much they are throwing the football?
A: Well, they're protecting well. They're doing a good job protecting, but they're also getting the ball out. A lot of times they'll go with no backs in the backfield, throw the ball quickly. They'll take their shots down the field, they give you a lot of different things – motions, movements, the zone read plays. It's a heavy mixture of things that if defenses aren't careful, they can confuse you. [Michael] Crabtree is a good receiver and [Amari] Cooper I think is probably going to be exceptional. So I think he's doing a great job with them and I think he's doing a great job with [Derek] Carr.
Q: Is there any resemblance scheme-wise to what he was doing when he was in Minnesota?
A: No, not really. It's different. I think he's done a great job of working within his personnel there and the things that they're doing now.
Q: Did you think Linval Joseph would take this big of a jump this season?
A: Well, he has the ability to continue to jump to be honest with you. The thing I like most about him is the way he works and has fun every single day. He's just trying to get better. He's obviously talented athletically with his size and speed and strength, but he's a good worker and he cares about his teammates. He cares about doing things right and even when he's doing the scout team or sometimes we have him when the other guys go down, he runs routes, he runs them full speed. He's a good kid to have around.
Q: What have you seen from Josh Robinson in practice the last three weeks and how can he help moving forward?
A: Well, we'll see. I don't know. He's getting out there and working on technique and stuff like that, so we'll see going forward.
Q: What makes Amari Cooper so difficult to defend?
A: He does a great job running routes. For a rookie receiver, he is very, very polished with his routes. He gives you different speeds, he gives different stems, different leans, different double moves, he's an exceptional double-move guy. And they move him around to a lot of different places, so he does a good job.
Q: Have you ever been on a team that won the coin toss in overtime and deferred?
Q: Did you ever think you'd be in a position like that?
A: Maybe before they changed the overtime rules, that might have been something big, but now with the overtime rules, if they don't score a touchdown, you're going to get the ball back. I didn't think it was a big gamble at all considering the wind and I thought we had been playing pretty good defense in the second half, so I don't think it was really [a big deal].
Q: Or the fact that it wasn't a big deal is probably due to your defense?
A: Well, I'm glad it wasn't a big deal.
Q: But the Raiders probably wouldn't have done that in their game [at Pittsburgh], so the fact that is wasn't a big deal might make it a big deal, right?
A: Yeah, I guess, I don't know. It wasn't a big deal to me. I just kind of went on my gut. I asked Norv [Turner] and he said, "It's your decision." And then afterwards he said, "The last guy that did that got fired." But other than that it was good [laughs].
Q: Do you handle Teddy Bridgewater differently in road games because he seems to perform in those situation pretty well?
A: Not really differently. Each week we try to figure out what's the best thing to go about it. I think we've handled the crowd noise better, we've used that quite a bit, a lot. We changed up how we did it a little bit, but other than that, no.
Q: How worried are you about their ability to generate big plays down the field to Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree?
A: They go out and get the ball and they run some good routes, they run some good combination routes. You've really go to work on it, you have to be on your toes. There's been a couple fade balls that he's thrown that guys have made great catches on. He's giving them an opportunity to do that and they've had a couple where guys busted a couple coverages on them which went for long touchdowns. But yeah, we're going to have to be on our toes.
Q: Are they a big wide receiver screen team?
A: Some, some. Maybe not as much as we've seen in the past, but some.
Q: Any comment on bringing in Jason Trusnik?
A: He was a guy that played for George Edwards in Miami, kind of knows the system, good special teams player, played a number of spots for them. We worked him out a while back and told him stay ready.