Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Q: Can you talk about Josh Doctson and what he brings in?
A: Well, we hope that he brings some size and speed. He's a great jumper, athletic. So we hope that he comes in here and he's got to learn the system obviously, and do the things that he's capable of.
Q: How big of a factor was the chemistry he had with Kirk Cousins from 2017?
A: Yeah, I mean we talked to Kirk (Cousins) about him. I guess it's part of it. He has a good pedigree. We worked him out TCU a while back.
Q: What type of progress have you seen from Kirk Cousins in his leadership over the last year?
A: I think Kirk, he's been different coming in here this spring and preseason as opposed to when he came in here last year. I think he's more about trying to help guys out and do his job, get the guys around him in the huddle on the right page and go from there. I don't know that he's going out of his way to change how he is or who he is.
Q: How is Brian O'Neill looking for this week?
Q: Counting on him playing?
Q: What kind of feel do you have for this group as a whole and what do you expect to see coming out of the gates here in Week 1?
A: I mean, I think you have a good feel about the team, but you know you've got to go out and perform and do the things that help you to win games. There was a lot of things throughout the preseason that was good. We were the second lowest-penalized team in the league in the preseason. We led the league in running in the preseason. We gave up some plays defensively in the preseason that we'd like to get back, but I don't think you can really judge everything on the preseason. I tend to look at the beginning of the ballgames more than the entire game in the preseason. I think getting Dalvin (Cook) out there against Arizona showed what he's capable of doing. I think the offensive line was productive in what they did this preseason. Now, it's about going out there and playing together as a team.
Q: For this year to be a success, what needs to happen?
A: I would say the biggest thing is, I think, if we go out and we play really smart football, we don't beat ourselves, we control the explosive plays in the game, on both side of the ball, we have them and they don't, the time of possession and I think if we are effective in the last 10 minutes of the fourth quarter in ball games, I think we'll be good.
Q: What are the challenges opening the season defensively when you don't have a whole lot to look at in the preseason?
A: It's always hard. Like I told the team today, every team has new wrinkles. We have new wrinkles. They have new wrinkles. We have a new coordinator. They have a new coordinator. Those things always show up in the beginning of the game, so you have to be prepared for a lot of different things. Sometimes you might go in with a little bit too much game plan just in case, but everybody has tendencies. Each coordinator has tendencies and you can go back and look at the history of the coordinator and kind of see what he likes, and try and figure out with the different personnel, how that matches what he had before and how that could change.
Q: Is there one theme you can draw on that connects your success on defense points-wise?
A: I tell the defensive team all the time, it's very difficult to be good on defense. You have to play extremely hard, you have to play fast, you have to play smart. If you don't run to the ball, if you don't get going to the ball and swarm the ball then you're going to struggle. That's what makes it hard is the effort that you have to put in each and every week to be really good on defense.
Q: If something happens to Garrett Bradbury, would you then slide Pat Elflein over or will you look at bringing in another center?
A: That will be a fluid situation, but yeah, if something happened, (Pat) Elflein would go to center.
Q: What is the biggest challenge Matt Ryan presents?
A: Well he's got a great arm. He's really accurate, he's really smart, he's a really good competitor. I think the other part, he moves pretty well. I mean I wouldn't call him an elusive runner, but he moves in the pocket and he's got a lot of weapons. He's always been a tough matchup. He's a terrific quarterback.
Q: What can you take away from the preseason Xavier Rhodes had, and what does he need to do to bounce back to where he was two years ago?
A: I think part of it is that we've been working real hard on technique with him and the things that he has to do from there. I feel like he's had a good preseason. The one ball he got beat on against Arizona was a miscommunication, but I think he's got a chance to have a good year.
Q: Health-wise, is Rhodes where he needs to be?
A: Yeah, I think so. I mean he hasn't missed a day or a rep or anything like that.
Q: How do you feel about the cornerback depth?
A: I think it's pretty good. (Mike) Hughes is getting real close, so that will help.
Q: How do you see the mental health of your football team in lieu of what happened last year?
A: Every year is a new year. I think you go into it and approach it with everything the same. Hopefully we approach things with a chip on our shoulder and out to prove something. I don't think we're fragile, if that's kind of what you're asking.
Q: How do you see the division? Who do you see as the team you have to deal with?
A: I think I got to deal with three teams. I think Chicago is obviously really good. They got a lot of weapons, great defensively. I think Detroit is better (than last year). I think (Matt) Patricia has done a nice job of getting his kind of guys in there and what he's looking for. They were top-10 in the league defensively last year. I think Green Bay, as long as you got (Aaron) Rodgers, you got a chance, and they should be better on defense.
Q: Do you think this is your best team?
A: We have potential to be pretty good, yes. But it's potential, so you got to go out and do it. You got to perform each and every week and you got to play good. You can have all the potential in the world and not play good.