Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Q: How important has Joe Berger been being able to fill in when needed on the offensive line?
A: He has been a real pro's pro, and he has played all those spots. He came in last year and did a great job at center. Right now with (Brandon) Fusco hurt, he's filling in for him. Guys like that are really valuable because obviously you get injuries, and you got to fill in and figure a way out.
Q: Do you expect Brandon Fusco to be out for a while?
A: No, I don't think so. He told me he feels better today.
Q: Will he participate in the night practice tonight?
A: We'll probably hold him out.
Q: Will anybody else sit out besides Fusco?
A: Yeah, there'll be a few guys.
Q: Do you know exactly who will be out?
A: No, you're just going to have to watch.
Q: You always say that the more you can do, the longer your career will be. Is Joe Berger an example of that?
A: Definitely. A lot of times, guys bounce around from team to team and end up getting in the right system, and it works out that way. He's definitely one of those guys. You get to dress 46 guys on game day, but that's one of the lines I use all the time: 'The more you can do.'
Q: Does Brandon Fusco's injury change what you're going to do at the center position?
A: I don't know. I don't think he's going to be out very long, so we'll figure it out. It may not be as soon as I hoped, but we'll figure it out.
Q: How did Fusco look before the injury after going back to the right side?
A: That's probably the best I've seen him look since I've been here. He has done a good job, been physical and better in pass protection. He has looked a lot better.
Q: With players shifting in and out alongside him, does that become difficult to get communication and rhythm down?
A: One of the big things we try to do is everybody says the same thing, so that the communication is all the same. That way, when guys go in and out, that doesn't happen. We try to talk the same language.
Q: Can you talk about what it's like for the players to get a chance to play under the lights for the first time?
A: I think the players get a little bit excited getting underneath the lights. It's different, you get a routine out here being here at 2:45. Now they get a little time to rest up this afternoon, and we should have a large crowd out there; and they have the day off tomorrow. I anticipate it'll be a pretty crisp practice.* *
Q: Any particular plans, or will tonight's night practice be similar to last night practice?
A: It'll be similar. We have 'move the ball,' we have a goal-line session. We've got a couple two-point plays. We've got a team period. I think we have a red zone 7-on-7. Off the top of my head, we've got about 20 of those things I'm trying to remember.
Q: How do you control the level of contact with Adrian Peterson when practicing with the Bengals?
A: We're thudding him pretty good right now. I think it'll be the same way. Marvin (Lewis) and I talked a little bit last night about some of those things and making sure we're all on the same page when we go do stuff. I know all those guys.
Q: With such familiarity, does that take away the concern that there may be a brawl or physical altercation?
A: I'm honestly not worried about it, because I know our guys and I know their guys. I think their guys respect me, their defensive guys, at least. I don't think there will be an issue, but we're going to address it beforehand with both teams anyway.
Q: Will this be the first joint practice the Bengals have done in a while?
A: No, they had the Giants in last year, and they had somebody the year before, I think. They've done it a couple times.
Q: Andre Smith really speaks well of you. How much did you get to know him in your time with the Bengals?
A: Most all those guys – they saw me in a different way, because I was coaching defensive guys, but I always talked to him.
Q: Was there more joking back and forth when you were on the opposite side of the ball than there is now that you're the head coach?
A: No, I still joke with him. My jokes are usually pointed, but it's the same, I just be myself.
Q: How do you think Laquon Treadwell has been progressing in camp?
A: Good. I think he's coming to camp in much better shape. He's an extremely hard worker. He continues to get better, and he wants to be really good. Good so far.
Q: Adam Thielen has been mixing in with the starting offense. Is that a guy who will get more opportunities this year?
A: I don't know. Adam is one of those guys, if somebody's out, he jumps in. He knows all the positions. It's not like it's anything saying, 'Hey, let's get Adam in here for these six plays.' It's just how it works out. I wouldn't read too much into it.
Q: You are doing a lot of 1-on-1 coaching with rookie Mackensie Alexander. What have you been working on with him?
A: Everything really. Sometimes he doesn't line up in the right place, sometimes it's reminding him specific technique on that play; it's really everything. With all the young guys, it's pretty much the same.
Q: How do you see the rapport developing with Teddy Bridgewater and the young receivers coming together?
A: I guess you'd have to ask Teddy. I don't worry too much about the rapport or any of that stuff. I think they all work hard. Teddy predominately has thrown to (Laquon) Treadwell and (Stefon) Diggs and (Adam) Thielen and Charles Johnson, Jarius (Wright). He usually takes most of those guys. They'll be alright.
Q: Will prohibition of the chop block change how you go into the game?
A: No, we've always tried to play pretty clean. It's a dangerous play for the defensive linemen, so I've always been kind of for it anyway. It doesn't eliminate all of the cut blocks, but some of the real bad ones, it can.