Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Starting preparations for the Eagles, a very good football team. We’re going to have to have the fans and the crowd really cranked up for this one, they do a lot of checks at the line, no huddle, so it should be a really good game. Looking forward to it, they’re number one in the league in rush defense, they’re number two in the league in red zone touchdown percentage, number two in the league in third down conversions, so we’re going to have to play really good to win.
Q: What stands out about Philadelphia’s run defense?
A: Well they’re very aggressive up front. (Brandon) Graham and (Fletcher) Cox, they’re very physical guys on our right side. They do a nice job with (Malcolm) Jenkins, who gets in the box a lot and makes a lot of plays. They’re running a couple different coverages now, but they’re mixing up the fronts a little bit more than they have in the past. They’ve got a few more line stunts that they’ve been doing.
Q: What makes Philadelphia’s third down offense so effective? It feels like it’s been effective for a couple of years.
A: They really change a lot from week to week, so it’s hard to get a good nab on them. They got really good players. (Zach) Ertz is a great player, I think the quarterback feels really good about his opportunities with him. Then they got 17 (Alshon Jeffery) on the outside, who is a tough matchup all the time. DeSean Jackson, they got good backs that can catch the ball out of the backfield. Sometimes they’ll get in two tight end personnel and use (Dallas) Goedert in there. It’s a lot of weapons. 13 (Nelson Agholor), he’s a good player.
Q: How do you feel about Dan Bailey being named NFC Special Teams Player of the week, and the fact that he’s given you stability at kicker?
A: He’s doing well. He’s doing well. I hope every week he’s the same.
Q: Jordan Howard has had success against your team in the past. What makes him effective?
A: He’s very physical, he’s got really good feet. He runs with his pads forward, so you make contact with him on second and eight and it ends up being second and four. So we’re going to have to do a great job tackling him, being in the right place, and getting extra hats on the ball. He’s a physical, physical runner.
Q: Where do you think the biggest issue was this past week in red zone efficiency? What area are you going to focus in on?
A: To be honest with you, I haven’t thought too much about the red zone efficiency last week the last few days. I just watched the Eagles red zone today, so I probably couldn’t give you a good answer. Kevin (Stefanski), ask Kevin, he would know better. He probably thought about it more than I have.
Q: When you see Philadelphia twice in the past couple years, and you saw players like Alshon Jeffery and Jordan Howard when they played for Chicago, how much does that familiarity help you prepare for this week’s game?
A: I think it helps a little bit, because you know the players a little bit more. Those two guys you mentioned, they’ve always been a handful when they’ve been in Chicago. It helps to know I guess, it helps to know them a little bit. But Agholor is a good player, and like I said Ertz is a really good player. If Desean Jackson plays, he’s fast as all get out. Had a couple deep balls against Washington. So you can’t get all your focus on those two guys.
Q: How much can you take away from the Eagle’s ten sacks against the Jets?
A: They had three sacks going into that ball game in the first four games, so they ended up 10 Sunday. Maybe they’re getting their groove a little bit. We’re going to have to do a good job in protection on these guys. They’re good pass rushers and they’ve got good blitzes, so the backs are going to have to be involved, the tight ends, everybody.
Q: What has Olabisi Johnson done over the past couple weeks to entrench himself as the number three receiver?
A: I think the biggest thing he’s done is be very reliable. He gets to the right places, he can play all three positions. He gets himself in the game and then does a good job in really all those areas.
Q: What challenges does the Eagles offensive line present?
A: Well they’re big. They’re bigger and they’re all veterans. The one guard (Isaac Seumalo) is the young guy, but (Jason) Kelce is a very active player. (Jason) Peters is huge, Lane Johnson is an athletic guy. (Brandon) Brooks is a big, strong road grader guy. That’s a challenge in itself, and we can’t sit and catch these guys.
Q: How do you analyze the Eagles secondary?
A: Like I’ve said, they’ve changed a little bit coverage-wise in some of the things that they’re doing, and I’m guessing it’s to help protect those guys a little bit. I think they’re going to get some guys back, so we’ll just have to see if they stick with some of the same coverages or they go back to what they typically do. We’re going to have to be prepared for both.
Q: What has made Dalvin Cook so effective in the screen game? He seems to rarely be going down on first contact.
A: Dalvin (Cook) very rarely goes down on first contact anytime, but that’s good. You get him out in space. We’ve worked extremely hard on the screens, so I think when you can screen, it’s going to slow the pass rush down a little bit or it’s going to keep a linebacker out of coverage. The more that we can emphasize that and the more that we can make some big plays, one of our goals last week was to get a couple big plays on screens, and we did. I think the more that we can do that, it helps the overall part of the offense, because like I said it, it can possibly slow down some of the rushers or if they catch you in a zone blitz, that’s a good thing for us. And then maybe they put an extra guy on him, which takes him out of coverage.
Q: Did you notice a fire or edge in Kirk Cousins during the New York game? He said he felt like he did on his radio show.
A: I don’t know. If I knew that was, I’d tick him off myself. I don’t know and I don’t listen to his radio show. Whatever he says is fine with me. I’ll take him off.
Q: Kirk Cousins apparently gets calls from the president. Do you worry about that dividing the locker room?
A: I don’t know. I’m not in charge of all those political things. I’m staying out of that. I think they played golf together or something. I don’t know. I don’t really get into it. I’m a football coach. It’s what I do.
Q: How has Pat Elflein done in his transition to guard? Was Sunday his best game?
A: I think he played pretty well Sunday. I think he’s improving. He’s had some really good games and then he’s had some poor plays. He needs to just continue with the consistency.
Q: Garrett Bradbury has seemed to have up and down moments. How have you evaluated him?
A: Yeah, same thing. I think he kind of had some welcome to the NFL moments, but then last week, I think, was his best game. Hopefully, that trend continues.
Q: Has he matched what you expected he’d be able to do in the run game?
A: Yeah, I mean, he’s doing a nice job there, hasn’t had very many mental errors going to the wrong side or wrong guy, or anything like that. He’s done a nice job so hopefully, I think with all these guys, the more that they continue to work together and they continue to get their feet wet, I think they continue to improve. They’ll have some tough matchups this week.
Q: Have there been some center-quarterback exchange issues on the snap? Is that a chemistry issue?
A: There have.
Q: Is that a chemistry issue?
A: No, it’s not a chemistry thing. We work on it every single day. It shouldn’t be happening in the fifth game of the year for sure and we need to clean it up. We’re going to look at something a little bit different this week, so hopefully we can clean it up.
Q: With as good as Philadelphia’s run defense is, can you pull anything that you learned from the Chicago game in Week 4?
A: Yeah, they really are two different defenses. This is a more of a four-down base defense that is going to get up the field and go. Sometimes they’re in a wide nine with a three-technique and wide space and three linebackers in there or a nickel and then sometimes they crash down and try to get in there. It’s really about personnel more so than it is about scheme, I think.
Q: Do you expect Andrew Sendejo to “sing like a canary” about your defense?
A: Yeah, well (Andrew) Sendejo was always a smart player and some players they don’t much about the scheme. They kind of know a little about their area or what they do, but he knows a lot about everything, yeah.
Q: Is having a former player on an opposing team an overrated advantage for the opponent?
A: I mean, I’m sure he’s giving them little tips. We’ll make adjustments. This is the NFL. Guys go on different teams all the time.