Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Started preparation for the Bears, who are an excellent football team. Two Pro Bowl returners, they’ve got a terrific defensive football team, very physical, creates a lot of turnovers. Offensively, they give you a lot of fits with a lot of the things they do. Try to misguide your eyes, so we’re going to have to play really, really well on the road to beat them.
Q: Against Oakland the screen game had success. What is the key to keeping that going against a good defensive team such as Chicago?
A: Timing is a lot when you’re doing those kind of things. Timing is important, I think against the Bears it’ll be important to keep the middle of the pocket clean so we don’t get balls batted down and things like that.
Q: Can you talk about the decisions to bring back Laquon Treadwell and Marcus Sherels?
A: Well Marcus is a great kid, number one, but they both are. We needed a punt returner, so that was pretty simple. Then Treadwell has been working hard, I talked to him last week. I think he’s rededicated himself to the things that he needs to try to get done. He knows the system and we anticipate him doing well.
Q: Are you hopeful Chad Beebe will be able to come back after eight weeks?
A: Yeah, he should be.
Q: What is Akiem Hicks’ greatest strength? What kind of impact does he have on the pass rush?
A: He’s powerful. He’s a power player, gets under your pads and drives. He’s got great lower body strength and is able to do that. For him, he’s a terrific push-the-pocket guy that can get off the block at the top of the rush and then get to the quarterback.
Q: When Chicago has quality edge defenders such as Khalil Mack, what is the challenge to beating them with some of the outside runs?
A: Yeah, and they’re a little more aggressive this year then they have been in the past, a few more pressures on early downs. It’s really the same every week, you got to get the point of attack blocked and then you got to hope that you create some seams to cut the ball back. But if you don’t do a good job at the point of attack then you’re struggling the rest of the play.
Q: Is that how they win games? Chicago hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher since 2017.
A: That doesn’t surprise me. They may not this week, either, but it’s important that we try to run the football. Maybe we don’t get 100 (yards rushing), but we get 98, so who cares. As long as we win the football game I don’t really care.
Q: How important would it be to incorporate Dalvin Cook into the play-action game?
A: It will help, but not just in incorporating him. Being able to use him as part of the play-actions is important. We’ll get some chances to get the ball down the field, and we have to hit them.
Q: Do you feel lucky that a player like Marcus Sherels was still available when Beebe went down with injury?
A: Yeah, I mean he was injured, then he just happened to be back and he’s healthy and good to go now. He’s a guy that we know, he’s always been reliable, catches the ball well and has been a good returner.
Q: What makes Chicago such as tough place to play on the road?
A: I don’t know. That’s what everybody told me when I got here, then we won some games. I guess if you turn the ball over and you create penalties and you do dumb things it’s a pretty hard place to play. I think they’ve lost their last two at home.
Q: After a Khalil Mack strip sack the other night, Matt Nagy said Mack doesn’t sack the quarterback, he sacks the football. Does that accurately describe Mack’s approach to the pass rush?
A: Yeah. He’s obviously a great player. He plays with violence, he plays with explosion. He’s got long arms and is able to get to the spot on the quarterback where he can cause those things. He’s a violent player, so those things are all really good attributes if you’re a pass rusher.
Q: How did Laquon Treadwell take the news of not making the team initially?
A: I’m sure he was disappointed. I talked to him about really what he needs to do to prove that this is the thing that he really wants to do, how important this is to him. I think it’s always been important to him but I think maybe he might have went about it the wrong way. I just tried to give him some insight on what he has to do moving forward. I’m hopeful to see that.
Q: Kirk Cousins has spoken about the commitment to the run game, even on first and long. Is that due to a healthy Dalvin Cook and more confidence in the offensive line?
A: A lot of times, these are a lot of ‘check with me’s,’ too. So, first-and-20 you might get a little bit more deeper coverage where you have a chance to maybe hit an eight or 10-yard run and now it’s second-and-10. Typically, in those situations you’re playing coverage, so maybe it makes it a little bit easier.
Q: How has Dakota Dozier performed?
A: He’s done pretty well. I think he’s come in there and battled. Like I said I guess Monday or yesterday or whatever it was, those guys all battled really hard last week and I think that part of it, he’s fit right in. he’s got good athleticism. He understand the system. He’s been with Rico (Rick Dennison) for a little while.
Q: What was it about him that made him the guy that Rick Dennison brought with him?
A: I don’t know. You’ll have to ask Rico (Rick Dennison) that.
Q: Will Josh Kline be available this week?
A: I don’t know. We’ll see.
Q: Is Josh Kline still in the concussion protocol?
A: I don’t know.
Q: How have you thought about the offensive line’s ability to handle the pass rush?
A: They’ve been battling. There’s some things they’ve got to work on. We need to finish a little bit better in some things but for the most part, we’re getting on the right people. We’re getting good sets and hands and things like that. Now we’ve got to stick with it. We’re going to have to stick with it this week. If the ball happens to get pulled down, we have to be able to maintain and sustain our protection.
Q: What have you seen from Mitchell Trubisky this season? He’s seemed to struggle at times.
A: He played good Monday night. He’s very talented. He runs the football well. I think he sees things really well. You look at some of the thumbs up he’s doing where he gets the coverage he likes or the defense that he likes or gets out of it. I think he’s doing well.
Q: Is Mitchell Trubisky going to throw more? He seems like he’s running less this year.
A: Not usually against us.
Q: Are you happy with the run blocking of the offensive line and just how quickly they’ve adapted to the zone blocking schemes?
A: Yeah, they’ve done well. Again, the tight ends helped in those quite a bit. C.J. Ham’s helped a lot, so it’s not just the offensive line, but the offensive line is doing a nice job. That helps us to sustain those kind of things, the more that we can get a guy reached or get a guy cut off or get a guy on the ground. We had a lot of guys on the ground last week, so hopefully we can do the same.
Q: Is there anything you learned after using max protection against Chicago last year?
A: Yeah, it’s a little bit pick your spots because if you max protect and you’ve got (Khalil) Mack rushing on a tight end, that’s not a good matchup. You have to pick your spots. You have to understand the areas. We want to make sure we have good matchups, especially on him and Leonard (Floyd).