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Transcript: Zimmer Addressed the Media Sunday

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

Q: What have you thought about Trevor Siemian's preseason so far?

A: The other night he [Trevor Siemian] didn't play as well as he had in the past so he has to improve some.

Q: Is there any question that Trevor Siemian is your backup?

A: No.

*Q: What have you thought of Stefon Diggs' preseason and camp and do you see him set up for a big season? *A: Yes, I think he's [Stefon Diggs] had a really good camp. We had to get him the ball this last week. Did in the first week, we didn't get him the ball in the second week. We have to continue to look for ways to get him the ball but I think he has a chance to have a really good season. Hopefully he stays healthy but he is running good routes, catching the ball well. He is working really, really hard, so, hopefully.

*Q: What have you learned about Kyle Sloter this preseason that you might not have known before? *A: When he goes in he [Kyle Sloter] makes plays and that's pretty much it.

Q: After watching Friday's tape, what were your impressions of how the team played overall?

A: There are a lot of areas that we have to get better at. I don't think we ran the ball real good defensively. There were a couple times when our pad levels got a little bit high, defensively. We didn't play the trap very good. Offensively, I would have liked to get more four and five yard runs as opposed getting a bunch of twos and ones and things like that. There were some good things, too. For the most part I thought we covered pretty well, defensively. Offensively, we converted 7-of-10 first downs with the first group and then 3-for-3 in the red zone. Some things like that we've been working on that was good.

Q: How do you think Mike Boone took advantage of extended opportunity in the backfield?

A: I think he's [Mike Boone] doing well. He is a guy that is really versatile. Can catch the ball, has good feet and made some really good cuts. He continues to show pretty well.

Q: What stood out most about Eric Wilson's play this preseason?

A: He [Eric Wilson] is a lot more comfortable with his assignments and things like that. He is just starting to play like he's not thinking so much and just playing football fast. He's been a good asset for us.

Q: How long does it take to figure out a player's intelligence and if it will translate to the field?

A: Each guy is a little bit different. But typically you have to be around them for a little while. A lot of it is being able to process on the move. The formation changes or the defense changes and a guy has to go from blocking this guy or blocking that guy. That is what I mean a lot of times by being smart. It takes a little while. We do all the tests before we draft them and all that. Sometimes testing and the draft and going on the field is a different thing.

Q: How easily can you test how a player processes things on the fly?

A: It's hard. We have all the standard tests and we do a lot of things where we get them on the board and ask them questions and try to throw curveballs at them. You really don't know until you get a hold of them and have been with them. Even sometimes with the rookies, you are really not sure because he is trying to learn everything. But once he gets it down for the most part and things happen, you can probably have a better idea.

Q: Where does intelligence and processing rank with the decision of players on the fringe?

A: High. We want intelligent players. Obviously, good players, but I think if it comes down to it and one guy is not smart and one guy is, we'll probably go with the smart guy.

*Q: How was your overall assessment of the offensive line in the first series having Mike Remmers and Rashod Hill back? *A: Good. Mike [Remmers] and Rashod [Hill] were a little bit tentative but nothing bad. They did fine but it was just good to get them out there again.

Q: Did Dalvin Cook feel fine after getting hit a few times?

A: Yes, he [Dalvin Cook] didn't get hit that much. He's fine.

Q: What stood out about Chad Beebe that made you sign him after his tryout?

A: The things you see. He [Chad Beebe] came in on that three day weekend. Showed quickness, acceleration, caught the ball well. I just thought, "This guy has a chance."

*Q: Do you talk to veteran players when making roster decisions at the end of the preseason, or is it a decision made solely by you and Rick Spielman? *A: I talk to veterans about guys, but that's not going to really swing whether they make the team or not. Typically if you got a bunch of good guys in the locker room, these young guys will fall in. We try to do a really good job of bringing the right type of guy in so we don't have those type of issues. If we have those issues, we try to get rid of them.

*Q: How do you think George Iloka looked on Friday after only having a few practices to prepare last week? *A: He was okay. Obviously he made the play on the interception. There's some things that he's been learning, technique-wise, since I've been gone [from Cincinnati], now I want him to change back to kind of what we're doing. I noticed a few things like that, but nothing glaring. As far as understanding where he's supposed to be and what his assignment is, that was all fine. He sat down on a route one time where he didn't need to, a couple things like that.

*Q: Rick Spielman says you all try to draft players who love the game of football. Do you find that guys stay true to what your initial thoughts were? *A: We think we do. You don't really know honestly when you draft them. You think you do but that doesn't necessarily mean that they love football. They fool you sometimes too, but usually when they get out here it's grinding, it's hard and all that then maybe you find out that he doesn't like it as much as some other guy. Most the guys we got really like football.

Q: Do you get a sense of that from being around them?

A: Well they like coming out to practice. That's part of it. Not everybody likes to practice. They like to come out to practice. They like to compete when it's time to go man-on-man. Those are the guys. Some guys try and get out of practice – got this knick or got this knick or whatever it is. I think that's kind of how you judge it.

Q: Do you expect Pat Elflein to practice this week?

A: No.

Q: Does he need to practice this week to avoid starting the regular season on the PUP list?

A: Well, he's going to practice when he's ready to go. I don't know when that's going to be.

Q: Do you think it's likely he'll start the season on the PUP list?

A: No, I don't think so.

*Q: There's a lot of position battles with guys that are on the fringe. When making decisions about what guys you put on the practice squad, do you use their ceiling to decide or how they might fit? *A: Both really. Sometimes it's where do we see this guy in a year from now or we just need another tight end because we don't have enough to practice with. It's a little bit of both. What you prefer to do is to keep the guys with the high ceilings, as you call it, but sometimes you only kept four defensive ends. We need to have another one there, so that's part of it, too. Some of them get poached too.

Q: How do you weigh the game tape verses the game tape when making those decisions?

A: Well the game tape is probably a little more important. The practice tape you see every day, you're making corrections, you're talking the guys. But then the game tape is they go out there, their coach isn't telling them what to do, they're out there on their own and they're playing and trying to make plays. I don't get all caught up in "this guy had one good game and he's had 10 crummy practices", that doesn't really help. You just hope that he continues to get better. If everything is they're pretty much doing the same then you look at the games and see where that takes them.