Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Starting preparation for the Chiefs. They’re very, very explosive offensively. They’ve got a good return game. They’ve got really fast receivers, athletes, runners. Defensively, they’re a team that takes the ball away. They’ve done a great job in the red zone as far as turnovers in the red zone, and they’ve amped their blitzing up the last few weeks, so we’re going to have to play really well on the road to win.
Q: What’s one Andy Reid trait that you admire that stands out to you, either offense or defense?
A: Andy’s always been a great coach. I’m on a committee with him. He’s very knowledgeable with everything, the way that he expresses his beliefs and thoughts. He’s always been a hard guy to defend. He’s actually changed a little bit. He used to be true West Coast, now it’s a lot more RPOs and four guys out on a side, things like that. I think he’s adjusted with the times.
Q: Does he still sprinkle in some of the old that you have to keep track of?
A: Yeah, there’s always some of that. Some of it, when he was in Philadelphia, but there’s always a little bit of it.
Q: What are your thoughts on the Jayron Kearse situation considering you warn the guys before time off to stay out of trouble?
A: Well, I’m very, very ticked off. Since I’ve been here the last six years, I’ve worked extremely hard to clean up the reputation of this organization, this team off the field. We’ve put in a lot of resources for them to not have these kind of issues and for them to do that is really idiotic.
Q: Is he going to be punished by the team?
A: It’s a CBA matter and a league matter.
Q: With Holton Hill due to come off suspension this week, what did you see in the offseason that made you want to keep him around despite missing eight games to start the season?
A: It didn’t really cost us anything to keep him. There was really no reason to not.
Q: What kind of strides did you see that you liked from his first year to second?
A: He’s a talented guy. He’s got the size and length and speed. There was times he played pretty well last year. Like I’ve said before, you can never have enough corners and we had one sitting there for a while. You never know. We’ve been fairly healthy, but you never know what’s going to happen after eight weeks.
Q: You talked about making more effort to take care of guys, what led to that shift and how has it benefited the team from an injury standpoint?
A: I don’t know. It could be just luck, but I’ve been trying. We did things a little bit different in training camp this year. We’ve done things a little bit different during the season, trying to, I guess, understand that, you know, Daryl Johnston when he was playing with the Cowboys, his quote reminded me of, he said, ‘We get in great shape to get ready to go into the season and then we go into training camp and beat the heck out of each other and then we feel worse at the beginning of the season than we do at the end.’ That’s kind of stuck with me. I think there’s times that you have to do the physicality part and that, usually it’s at the beginning of your term as the coach, and then you kind of figure out as you go.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge game planning for Kansas City when you don’t know if Patrick Mahomes or Matt Moore will play?
A: It’s a challenge, obviously. I think you’ll have calls based on their offense that you feel good about. Then you’re going to have other calls based on that quarterback, other calls based on this quarterback, so you kind of put together your base plan and then you have plans for if he plays and if he doesn’t play.
Q: How much more time does that take during the week? How many more hours does it take to prepare for two guys like that?
A: I don’t know number of hours, but it’s all part of it. Part of it is showing the players so they understand the difference in the two players. Part of it is them understanding the things each guy can do better. It’s a challenge, but it’s the NFL.
Q: With Matt Moore being a guy they just brought back, how has their offense changed with him?
A: It really didn’t change too much. The base offense is still pretty much the same. He played a little bit against Jacksonville, I believe, and he played a little bit the week before, who was that, Denver? So there’s some tape on him. It hasn’t changed too much. Some of the things that he does are obviously different than Mahomes.
Q: With the speed they have with Tyreek Hill and some of the wideouts, what kind of stress does it put on the defense?
A: They’re fast, really fast. (Mecole) Hardman, all of them, (Sammy) Watkins, they’re all fast. Every one of their guys. Their running backs are fast, (LeSean) McCoy and (Damien) Williams. They do a lot of unorthodox things offensively, because they’re trying to get big plays down the field. I think they’re number one in the league in RPO’s, number of RPO percentages. They’re averaging I think the first or second yards per play with 6.6, so it puts a lot of stress on you. They’re number on in the league in yards after catch. I think the next closest team is 250 yards away from them or something. So we’ll have to be on our toes, and we’re going to have to play good against them and try to eliminate some big plays.
Q: Is this one of those games where you try to extend drives instead of trying to outscore them in a track meet?
A: Yeah, I mean they’ve had some games where the time of possession has been overwhelmingly against them, but we’re always trying to do that. We’re always trying to win the time of possession, we’re always trying to be good on third downs, control the ball. They’ve blitzed the last three weeks a lot more, like I’ve said before. It’s a loud environment, so we’re going to have to be on our P’s and Q’s.
Q: When you see a team blitz that much more as opposed to the start of the season, do you see that as the team they’re becoming, or is it situational?
A: It may be. It might have been the team they’re playing, it might have been that they’ve had a couple guys out that I think will be back this week. Every week is a new week, but when you start getting 16, 17, 18 blitzes in a row, it could be their identity now.
Q: Do you think it’s more challenging to call defense as opposed to offense as a head coach? Do you have thoughts on that?
A: I have lots of thoughts on it. Well if it doesn’t work on offense, you can punt. If it doesn’t work on defense, they raise both hands (signaling a touchdown).
Q: What about a strip-sack fumble returned for a touchdown?
A: I hope we get a couple of them.
Q: Some of the players were talking about this game being a good measuring stick, would you concur with that?
A: I think we play a lot of contenders in these next eight weeks, and they obviously are a contender. This will be a good test for us, they’re a good football team. We’re going to have to play good to win.
Q: What are your expectations regarding Josh Doctson? If he looks good in practice this week and next week could he potentially be ready for that Dallas game?
A: Until I see him, it’s hard. I haven’t seen him in eight weeks or something, so it’s hard for me to say.
Q: Do you expect to get Adam Thielen back today at practice?
A: He’ll do some work today.
Q: Do you feel better equipped to win a high-scoring game with the offense you have right now?
A: I mean we’ve been fortunate, we’ve been able to move the ball pretty well. That does give me hope, and we’ve run it in a variety of ways. We can score in a variety of ways, whether it’s running or throwing. So I guess the answer would be yes.
Q: Where has Mackensie Alexander made the biggest strides in year four?
A: He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now, number one. Number two, like I said a year ago, he’s improved so much with wanting to do it the way we want it done. But I think he understands things so much better now. In the past you might have to take a while to explain it, to get it and coach it, but now he gets it pretty good right away.
Q: Do you see it that as a player who violated the rules, that he let you down or he let the team down? How do you separate it?
A: I don’t know that you separate it. I feel like he let me down, he let the team down, he let his teammates down, the organization down. So yeah, like I said before, I’ve worked really hard to clean this up when I came in here, and we’ve put in a lot of things and resources to help all these players so these kind of things don’t happen. If they happen, it’s really dumb on their part.
Q: You’re referring to Holton Hill with your answer just to confirm?
A: I’m referring to anybody who gets in trouble.