Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Big division game this week. Excited to get back out there and continue to improve, try to get better. I feel good about this team. We just have to do a little bit better job finishing.
Q: What’s it like game planning for an opponent and in the midst of the week they trade one of their best players?
A: It’s difficult but we just prepare. Really, if a guy gets hurt during the game, you kind of have your secondary plans and things like that going on.
Q: Was the hardest thing to game plan for with Golden Tate the yards after the catch?
A: He was terrific at that. That is kind of hard to game plan, when a guy breaks tackles. He was terrific at that, yes. He caught a lot of balls on third down. He is a good player.
Q: Were you surprised with the amount of trades in the division before the deadline?
A: I am so into what we are doing I am not worried about what else is going on around the league.
Q: What do you work on in practice during the week to become better at finishing?
A: Work on the situations throughout the course of the game.
Q: What are your impressions of Kerryon Johnson?
A: He is good. Very good. Runs hard, speed to the perimeter, catches the ball well, has been good in protection. He is a good back.
Q: How difficult is it to game plan for a back that can catch out of the backfield?
A: Much more difficult. You have to be prepared for everything. You have to be aware of different, certain coverages. Some coverages you don’t worry about a back too much. Depending on the back, you have to manipulate your coverages certain ways.
Q: How has Kerryon Johnson changed their run game compared to other years?
A: I think they’re more committed to running the football, number one. He has been running the ball extremely effective. I’m not sure it’s changed the run game all that much. There is a lot of similar runs they’ve had in the past but they’re much more effective at it.
Q: How have you seen Kenny Golladay play this year?
A: He is big. Good, real good player. He goes up and gets the football. Him and Marvin Jones [Jr.] both are excellent players. Big time deep threats. Goes up and gets the football, run good routes. He is a good blocker as well.
Q: Is Detroit’s offensive line better this year?
A: Yeah, they’ve added the tight end, who’s a good blocker. [Frank] Ragnow is a guy that’s physical. They moved the guard to center from Michigan. Yeah, they do a good job. [Taylor] Decker is a good player, they got a couple of first rounders in there. [T.J.] Lang, he looks healthy again. I think that’s part of it too, the tight end and runners, their commitment.
Q: How does that help balance the offense with Matthew Stafford? Is he more dangerous because of it?
A: He’s always dangerous. He’s been great at fourth-quarter comebacks, I think he’s taking care of the ball pretty well this year. He’s still got a big arm, can throw it anywhere on the field, and his movement in the pocket is still excellent. He scrambles around and ducks, Fran [Tarkenton] would be happy.
Q: Frank Ragnow is a local guy who was gone before you picked in the first round. How much did you look at him as a possible draft candidate?
A: Well we look at everybody. Guys get taken, that’s how it goes.
Q: Only one game currently separates first and last in the division, and you have five division games left. Is there an extra emphasis on these division games?
A: I think the division games are very important, obviously. But we try to take it one game a week, focus as hard as we can on this particular game, and obviously it’s a division game and it’s a big game, but it’s just how the schedule came out.
Q: Considering the momentum that your run game has been able to create the last few games, what can you do to establish the run on Sunday?
A: The one thing about it is that they’re stout and physical up front. They’re very stout and physical. They’ve given up some runs, but there’s a lot of no-gainers in there, too. They’re very physical in there, and we’re going to have to stick with it, going to have to keep pounding and keep fighting, stay on blocks because these guys are big, physical players, linebackers are getting downhill. I’ve seen some teams that have been gashed before, but I don’t see [that in] this.
Q: When you faced a guy like Matthew Stafford so many times do you notice any intricacies that he has improved on that you haven’t seen before?
A: I think one of the areas he’s gotten better at is the red zone. He had thrown a lot of turnovers in the red zone in the past. He’s taking good care of the football now. As far as arm strength and things like that where you notice with quarterbacks is typically their arm strength doesn’t change that much or athletic ability doesn’t change. There was a corner blitz the other day that he wasn’t looking at and he ended up throwing to sight to the X-receiver against Miami and so those kind of things they tend to see more and react to it quicker.
Q: Have you seen any patterns defenses have shown in the second half to try and slow Adam Thielen down?
A: Yeah and really not just second half, the entire game.
Q: What have you seen from the Lions secondary?
A: Played a lot of man. They’ve got good players back there – two safeties back there are very good. Obviously, [Darius] Slay is a really good player, but they play a lot of man and try to disrupt you at the line of scrimmage.
Q: Were there any deals that didn’t formulate or go through for you guys yesterday?
A: I’m not going to discuss it.