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Transcript: Zimmer Addressed the Media Sunday

Head Coach Mike Zimmer

After looking at the tape I feel like we did some good things offensively, especially early. We had some creases in there for the [running] back [Dalvin Cook], and he made some nice acceleration through some small holes, picked his feet up well and ran with power. I thought we did a good job protecting, got the ball out good, and had a couple of explosive plays. We got to do better in the red zone, so we worked on that a lot today. Defensively, we're still rushing good. We got to do better in the coverage aspect. We had, I think, two or three twenty-yard or more plays, so that's going to be a big point of emphasis for us. We were working on some different coverages in that game. I think we need to continue to get that, and it will be good to get back home, get back to U.S. Bank Stadium in front of our fans for a little bit after being on the road for a couple of weeks.

Q: Is being back to full strength for the most part today a nice change for you?

A: Yeah, I mean all the guys came out for the most part and practiced good. It was hot out here, so it was a good steamy day. [Latavius] Murray got out here a little bit more, [Riley] Reiff did a little more work today.

Q: What do you think Latavius Murray can give you in the running game?

A: He's kind of a slasher, runs with power. We had a play down there in the goal line today when he saw the cut that he had to make he lowered his pads and accelerated into the tackler, which I thought was good. Things like that. He catches the ball good, protects.

Q: Outside of the penalties that you had in the red zone, what else do you think needs to improve in order to convert opportunities to touchdowns?

A: Well we worked on a lot today, and the offense had a good day in the red zone today. Everything gets more condensed, everything happens faster, so some of it is just being able to throw in a tight window. Some combination routes are going to happen a lot tighter and quicker. If you can run the ball in the red zone, which we kind of got out of that because of the field position because of penalties, but if you can run the ball in with tighter safeties and things like that, it's always an advantage.

Q: Would you be more likely to play Murray a little more on Sunday because you haven't gotten to see him much?

A: You know I haven't thought about Sunday yet, about play time or anything like that. We're still trying to get these guys organized with the right people and personnel, things like that. We still continue to look at things, like what does Michael Floyd do best, what does [Stefon] Diggs do best, all these different things. Defensively it's the same way. We're still looking at things that guys do best and trying to use them in those ways.

Q: What showed up when watching Pat Elflein on tape?

A: I thought he had a good day. He moves his feet, he's a little bit of a grinder-wrestler kind of guy in there, so he'll stick with the extra block, kind of get a guy turned a little bit. I think on the one, it might have been [Joe] Berger and him, but on the one that [Dalvin] Cook busted through on the middle there, I think it was him who kind of squeezed the seam, if it's the one I'm thinking of.

Q: Does how well two offensive linemen play next to each other factor much into the decision, or is it more of a one man, position-by-position evaluation?

A: I think as a group you always try to figure out who plays together, but at the end of the day we got to get the five best guys out there, however we do it. I'm not opposed to whoever it is.

Q: How far along are you in making a decision on the offensive line? Will you have a decision made by the third preseason game?

A: Well we're trying to get it done as fast as possible but [Riley] Reiff has been out and hasn't really done much and [Alex] Boone was out last week. That's why I'm hopeful that this week we can see how it goes, we might have some different combinations in there this week, too. But I don't know when I'll make the decision.

Q: How far are you on making a decision at center?

A: One of those guys might be a guard. I don't know. They did pretty good the other night, that factors in, too.

Q: Why Mitch Leidner? Why'd you like him?

A:  Well, we know him from being over at the "U" [University of Minnesota]. He did good at the combine; he did good at the workout over there.

Q: How is Joe Berger playing?

A: He's playing good. He's playing good. I haven't known him for the previous fifteen years but he's playing well.

Q: What do you expect to see from Leidner as he gets acclimated to the system?

A: Well, the big thing from his college tape is making sure he's getting the ball to the right people, getting the ball out on time, making accurate throws. I think those are probably things he probably struggles with the most, being his accuracy. So that's the big thing, getting out here and get timing with these receivers and be accurate.

Q: How did Ben Gedeon do in his start?

A: He did a lot of good things. He's a football player, he finds the football, gets off the block, he had a couple that weren't great and he had a couple misfits. The one ball down the middle, that was him, but he'll get better in those things. We spent a lot of time with the coverage part of it today with those guys.

Q: How do you handle some of those pre-snap penalties you got in the red zone? I know that was a problem last year.

A: I'm hoping it was an enigma because today we didn't have any, we haven't had them in training camp. I get the report everyday from practice and we get two or three penalties all day. It's just understanding that down there it's going to get a little louder, especially on the road.

Q: How do you handle that as a coach?

A: Well, you complain about it a lot and you talk to them about it a lot. Just keep trying to grind it into them that they're hurting the team. At some point, the guys that are committing the penalty, you've got to get their butt out.  

Q: How do you think young defensive lineman handled the poor field position to open the second half?

A: It was good. I don't remember all the sequence and things that happened there. These young defensive lineman are doing a good job. I thought Jaleel Johnson played well, [Tashawn] Bower had another good day. Ifeadi [Odenigbo], Big O – that's what we call him, I thought he did some good things too. So, those three guys, they've kind of stepped up.  

Q: What do you think is clicking with Jaleel Johnson?

A: Well, he's playing a different spot. A spot where he can be more reckless. The other spot was almost a reading kind of technique. This one he can use his bulldog mentality a little bit more, I think.  

Q: Anything of concern with Taylor Heinicke or Brian Robison?

A: No.  

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