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Transcript: Zimmer Addressed the Media Sunday

*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *

Okay, it's good to get back to work. We've got a lot of things to work on, trying to make a point of emphasis on a lot of different things we've got to get going. They came out and worked good today.

Q: Was there a lot of work on the run game today?

A: Yeah, we had a little bit more work, some of the things.

Q: How do you think the defense looked today?

A: They looked good, they flew around pretty good today.

Q: How do you think Mackensie Alexander looked?

A: Pretty good, he competed well, was tight in coverage for the most part. Kind of did what we were trying to ask him to do.

Q: How did Jayron Kearse look?

A: Kearse has been doing good. I think all along he's looked good and athletic to me. We'll just keep working him.

Q: It looked like Kearse was getting reps with the second team. Is that partially because of injury or just kind of a reward for how well he has been playing?

A: Just injuries.

Q: How do you assess the first team offensive line?

A: They were pretty good in protection. In the run game, it wasn't all offensive line, we had a few misses on some of their unorthodox stuff I guess, close.

Q: Specifically with Matt Kalil, it seemed like guys were getting around him on the outside?

A: No, I thought he played good. We gave up the one sack. Andre Smith got beat around the edge one time. Those guys are 12-yards deep and we're trying to run them by the damn quarterback. He stepped up and threw the ball at Charles Johnson. We can't block them for 12-yards up the field. So if they want to run that far, let them go, we're going to push them by.

Q: Were you happy with the way Trae Waynes played?

A: Yeah, for the most part. There was some situations that I showed him in film today, same thing happened to Xavier, we're off the guy and they catch a 4-yard hitch and it's a 9-yard gain and now it's 3rd-and-3. So we have to be smarter in some of the things that we're doing but he's doing good.

Q: Where is your level of confidence with him?

A: He'll be fine.

Q: What is your breakdown of the run defense?

A: For the most part there was a couple things in there that we misfitted. We saw a couple different plays that we hadn't seen. The perimeter run plays a couple times that the corner jumped inside, the linebacker didn't get to where he was going. It was all really correctable things. Actually I thought the defensive line did really good, they played the blocks good. Here's a perfect example; there was one play they ran, remember the 4th-and-1 that we stopped them on the goal line? They ran the same play in the same defense for that and it ends up no gain as they ran earlier on that drive that ended up being about a 6-yard gain.

Q: Was that on one of the 3rd-and-1's?

A: Yeah, it might have been one of the 3rd-and-1's.

Q: Is that hard to judge because of the defensive red zone success?

A: Yeah and really nothing different, we had the exact same call. Safeties were not involved where you think down on the goal line but we did that one right. Some corrections but I'm not discouraged with it yet. Obviously we still got a lot of work to do.

Q: When the defense wobbles a little, is it the run defense that's the first to go and then it snowballs?

A: I think our strength is rushing the quarterback. So in order for us to rush the quarterback we have to be in situations. You look at the plays the other night, because we were in an eight man front, the first play they threw the smoke out there on Xavier, so it's 2nd-and-4, so now the offense has the advantage. We get them to 2nd-and-12 and they throw a 4-yard hitch for 9 yards on Trae [Waynes] and it' 3rd-and-3. That happened several times in the game which didn't allow us to get ahead on the count. That was the biggest thing, even when it's 2nd-and-7, I'll live with that. We get them on the next play and we have a chance on third down. Most of the third downs the other night were 3rd-and-1. Well down there in the red zone, we had 3rd-and-7 and we played way off the guy and he catches an easy slant. They weren't hard things to cover. I think that's just understanding the game a little bit more. Sometimes we come out here in practice and say it's 3rd-and-7 and they catch a ball and it's no big deal, it's different in a ball game.

Q: How does Zach Line fit into the tough mentality you want to instill?

A: He's tough, physical, tough. Finds the right guys, he's good.

Q: Will CJ Ham continue to get a lot of work or will other guys get some looks?

A: We'll probably get Pressley in there a little bit this week. He missed those couple days when he had a death in the family, so we'll probably give him a little bit more work.

Q: Will Kevin Monangai get more work as well?

A: Yeah, we'll see, he's still learning.

Q: Having those joint practices with the Bengals, does that put you farther ahead compared to some years where you don't have that situation?

A: I don't know. I think it was good. We had good work those two days. We got a little extra work on the day before the game, so it's good to go up against other people and compete.

Q: The connection that Adam Thielen had with Teddy Bridgewater on the second drive, is that kind of an example of the timing between those two guys starting to develop now that they've had a couple years together to learn where they're going to be?

A: Yeah, and I don't know if Teddy makes that throw a year ago. He throws it into tight coverage, a tight window, and we pick up the third down [conversion], the first down. But yeah, Adam is a guy that goes in there and does a lot of good things. I don't know; you'd have to ask Teddy about his connection or whatever.

Q: On the running backs, again, your thoughts on C.J. Ham?

A: I thought he ran hard. I thought he blocked well.

Q: Some of the new rules kind of showed up the other night. With the touchback, for the hurry-up, two-minute situation, five extra yards is pretty beneficial for offenses, you think?

A: Yeah, you never want to … It can change the complexion of the drive, because the percentage of scores go up. Even though it's only five yards, it goes up.

Q: That second safety spot, were you able to take anything away from the younger guys? Antone Exum Jr. and Jayron Kearse were getting a lot of reps Friday.

A: We stuck [Michael] Griffin over there at the free [safety] a little bit the other day. So, we're just looking at combinations.

Q: Did anybody stand out to you from those younger guys?

A: From the younger guys? I guess [Jayron] Kearse did the best.

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