Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Okay, starting out getting preparations today for Dallas. Good football team, number one in the league in offense, in top five or six defensively. Very active defensive front. Couple long corners that can run. Linebackers are fast and physical and offensively, have terrific offensive line, good running back. Quarterback is playing outstanding, good receivers. We’ll have a good test for us.
Q: What are the challenges running against them and can you utilize anything?
A: Every game is different. Just go out and try and create some plays, figure out ways to win the game however we can.
Q: Can you use anything from that 2016 game you guys played against them?
A: What is that three, four years ago? We obviously watched it. I don’t know how much we use.
Q: How do you go about game planning for a guy like Ezekiel Elliott?
A: Makes it tough because it’s not just him. They have (Amari) Cooper on the outside, 13, (Michael) Gallup, he makes it hard. I think (Dak) Prescott is throwing the ball really well. They have weapons at tight end. I don’t think you can just hang your hat on saying ‘Hey, we’re going to stop Ezekiel Elliott.’
Q: What stands out about their offensive line?
A: Physical, playing together for a while. (Tyron) Smith obviously is outstanding. The left guard is terrific. I think the center is a good player. They’re very good. They’ve only given up, I think, 11 sacks. They’re good in really all assets, pass protection, good in the run game.
Q: How big a lift would it be to beat a winning team on the road at this point in the season?
A: It’s an important game for us for sure. Being able to go on the road and beat a good team is important for us. For us to do that, it’s not about that. It’s we have to control the clock. We have to not turn the ball over. We have to be efficient with all the different things. There’s a lot that goes into it, what we have to do, in order to beat a team like this.
Q: How much does having a rush plan for mobile quarterbacks comes into play this week with Dak Prescott?
A: Yeah, some. Yeah, he wants to throw the football but he will move out of pocket. He will scramble some. He’s been throwing the ball really well, accurately. He’s getting the ball out. They’re good in play actions and typically their pass game is six-man protections.
Q: Does going back to Dallas mean anything to you personally?
A: No, it’s been so long ago. Nothing really. I mean I have a lot of good people there that I used to work with and friends and Jason (Garrett), Jerry (Jones) and Stephen (Jones). As far as that, the only thing it means to me is the players I used to coach.
Q: What has Michael Bennett added to their pass rush?
A: He’s always been a really good pass rusher, really active. Adding another guy like him adds to it. They have good rushers anyway so it just makes it even better.
Q: What are the chances Adam Thielen could play?
A: I don’t know. We’ll have to see how the rest of the week goes.
Q: Was he rushed back too soon?
A: No, he was not rushed back too soon.
Q: Has the league’s study on hamstring injuries guided how you’re evaluating him?
A: The MRI does the most and what the player says does the most. Eric Sugarman does an outstanding job. It’s just one of those things that he got in a game and grabbed a little bit. I wouldn’t say it’s a long-term deal.
Q: How did Kirk Cousins and Josh Doctson work together in Washington?
A: Well we talked to him (Cousins) about how he (Doctson) was, and he liked him a lot. He understood the route combinations, and I think they had a good relationship as far as on the field and the things he could do in the passing game.
Q: What kind of qualities did he give Kirk Cousins when they were together?
A: I guess the biggest thing, he’s got good deep speed. He can get in and out of the break at the top of the route. He catches the ball well, good leaper. 50-50 guy.
Q: What have you seen with Ifeadi Odenigbo recently?
A: Well he kind of came on at the end of last year a little bit, on the practice squad, and we noticed it. He’s a very violent rusher, plays with a lot of strength and toughness. So initially we wanted to look at him inside at nickel a little bit, then we moved him to end, and we felt like it was just too much at that point in time to do really two jobs. So we backed him down a little bit, and now we’re starting to use him in a couple different things now.
Q: What’s the mindset of the football team this week? You have three out of four on the road, and you had a tough loss last week. Is it fair to say there is a sense of urgency?
A: No, I don’t think so. We don’t really look ahead to three out of four on the road, we just look at this one game and figure out how we can win this particular game. The important thing is that we don’t look back, other than the mistakes we made, and we move forward and we go from there. We could look at three out of four at home at the end, too, but that’s not for us.
Q: Have the offensive lineman been physical enough for you?
A: Yeah, they’re physical enough. Last week we just didn’t sustain the blocks long enough, that’s all. I mean, it happens all the time, and then sometimes you get away with it, sometimes you don’t. Each game is a little bit different, and the guy you’re going against.
Q: What does it say that Dalvin Cook has a chance to reach 1,000 yards in just 10 games?
A: It says he’s a good player, and that our offensive line, even though some people don’t think that they’re physical enough, has done a good job.
Q: How do you think Mike Hughes has handled the rotational role?
A: I think he’s done well. We need to continue to play him.
Q: Is it a challenge for him to do both inside and outside?
A: Yeah, a little bit.
Q: What have you seen from him that tells you he’s up for that challenge?
A: Well he’s a very diligent kid as far as knowing what to do and understanding his role. But yeah, it’s always hard for a young guy to play a couple different positions, kind of like Ifeadi (Odenigbo). But the more they do it, the better they get at it.
Q: How do you compare the strengths of Ezekiel Elliott and Dalvin Cook as dynamic rushers?
A: They’re different guys. I think they both run hard, they both got great speed, and they both got good vision. But I wouldn’t compare those two.