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Transcript: Zimmer Addressed the Media Thursday

*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *

*Okay, we're getting ready to play a good Chicago football team. They've got a very good defense, very stout up front, good rushers on the outside. Offensively, they've run the ball against us the last couple years, well the last couple games and it should be a good game on Monday night. Good division game on the road and we need to go out and play well. *

Q: How much more difficult does it make it with Mitchell Trubisky starting?

A: Yes, it does a little bit. You don't have a whole lot of tape on him, but it is what it is, we just go out and play.

Q: Do you know who your starting quarterback is?

A: No.

Q: Will Bradford practice?

A: I anticipate he will, yes.

Q: Will that be pain management throughout the season?

A: I mean that's pretty much what it is, but I'm hoping it's not throughout the season.

Q: Is it a distraction not knowing your starting quarterback each week?

A: No. If he's ready to play he'll play.

Q: Is this team better equipped to handle key injuries because you have key veteran players?

A: I don't know. You just go out and try to figure the best way you can each and every week. I like this team and how they work, the way they play, the toughness they play with. We just have to win games.

Q: What's impressed you with how the offensive line has played over the first quarter of the year?

A: Well, they're all on the same page. They have very few mental errors. They're gritty and tough. I think they've done a good job in the run game and I think they've done a good job in pass protection.

Q: How are the Bears using Cohen and Howard in different roles?

A: Well, Howard is the lead back in the running game. He's the physical down-hill kind of runner, very good at point of contact, gets his shoulders low, but he's in the passing game some too. And Cohen, he's a scat back guy. They run the normal plays with him but he could bounce the ball pretty much anywhere. Catches the ball well out of the backfield, good returner, they line him up as receiver sometimes, they line him up in the backfield, there's a lot of different things that they do with him.

Q: Does a guy like Cohen put pressure on linebackers?

A: Yes, it could. It puts pressure on everybody.

Q: What'd you like about Stevan Ridley?

A: He's a veteran back. He's had good success in the league and he had a good workout yesterday. He had 1,200 yards I think the last time he played.

Q: In terms of the offensive line, how much can you contribute that to the decision making of Pat Elflein and are you impressed at this stage of his rookie career that his teammates are saying that about him?

A: I think he has a great mindset. He is a tough, competitive kid. He takes this stuff very seriously. And really, all of those guys up front they do. From Mike Remmers to Riley Reiff, all of these guys take it very seriously. They have a lot of pride in their job. Pat is no different from any of those guys. He's a guy that really likes to compete and sticks on blocks for the most part. When he makes a mistake, he corrects it. He's a good kid.

Q: What is different when you game plan for a rookie quarterback as to a veteran who's been around the block a few times?

A: They're all different, really. Each quarterback that you play is different. [Mitch Trubisky] is probably more inexperienced. But you try to fool the experienced guys, too. I don't know if it's one more than the other. At the end of the day, it's about what can you execute. How much can you execute. It's not how much you can figure out on the blackboard, it's how much can your players execute.

Q: Do you anticipate they're going to want to use their tight ends more? They haven't targeted them that much so far in these four weeks, but having a rookie quarterback will that provide a security blanket for them?

A: They've got good tight ends. [Zach] Miller is a very good tight end. [Dion] Sims does a good job. I don't know.      

Q: What are some of keys or challenges to keeping an even keel in a league where it's normal for the ups and downs to win one week and lose next week?

A: I think the biggest thing is, and I've said this before, I admire the teams that whether they win 50-0 or lose 50-0 they go about their business the next week. That is kind of what we're trying to do is go about our business. It's a long season. Really, you don't get too high or too low. You just stay as even keel as you possibly can.

Q: Does that come from your approach and does it filter down, especially with injuries?

A: Some of it is my approach, but some of it is the guys in the locker room. I have a good group of captains that kind of help relay my message quite a bit. I'm probably as moody as anybody, but they help me sometimes, too. The big thing is when you lose a game and everybody's upset for a while. Then you get out there, get around the guys, get around the players and go out to practice and see how hard they work and do things. It rejuvenates you and lifts your spirits and let's go on to the next game. 

Q: You've used Harrison Smith in a variety of ways over the years. Has that expanded more this year?

A: I mean a little bit, yes. We are always looking to use our good players in a lot of different ways.

Q: What makes Harrison Smith so effective near the line of scrimmage?

A: He's instinctive. He sees plays. He understands what the offense is trying to do. He is a smart guy, good athlete and good competitor

Q: Where is your confidence level at with Kai Forbath?

A: I think he's alright. We just keep going. Obviously, he missed a field goal and missed an extra point the week before but you have to go on what you see.

Q: The Bears ran for 220 yards against the Steelers. What jumped out at you when you saw that game?

A: [Tarik] Cohen had a huge run in that game. Their offensive line does a really good job of getting guys where they're supposed to be. The receivers do a good job on the perimeter blocking, holding, grabbing and the offensive line does the same thing. We can't allow them to hold us and grab us the way they've been doing in other ball games.

Q: Do you think it's way tougher to tackle smaller halfbacks like Cohen as opposed to some bruisers like Marshawn Lynch?

A: It's different tackling. In space, the little guys are hard to get to. They have the advantage because they're quicker than most guys and typically faster. The big guys are going to try and run you over. It's a different type of tackling. When you get in space with those guys, not too specifically, I'm just talking in general, they don't have the wiggle that the little guys do. Space is a little guy's friend typically.

Q: Is the tackling technique different when you're facing a guy like Cohen or Jordan Howard and how?

A: It's leverage there. You try to know where your help is and gain the leverage. 

Q: Their defense in the last two or three years don't get a lot of takeaways. What do they do so well defensively that makes them so good?

A: They're very varied in their schemes so they have a lot of different things they do in the secondary. They try to take away your best player. They're powerful up front. [Akiem] Hicks is a load. They all can be a little unorthodox. Their four outside linebackers, they go attack the tight ends. They'll jump on your block, they'll jump underneath. They're not always going to be where you think they're going to be. That makes it difficult. Their front guys are very, very good. They do a good job of changing things up in the back end.

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