*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *
*It was good to get finished up today. We have a lot of the alumni out here. Got a chance to introduce some to the team. We also had all of our Vikings staff members here watching practice today. It was good for them. We finished up on a good note, excited about where this team has the opportunity to go. We’re looking forward to getting back in about five weeks. *
Q: How would you assess the offseason program now that it’s done?
A: Good. We pretty much stayed healthy which was good. I think the guys did a nice job of taking care of each other, understanding how we’re playing. We got a lot of situation work in. We got a lot of areas where we’re going to look at things both offensively and defensively and special teams. I think all those things were good and we’ll evaluate this summer and the ones we like we’ll keep going and the ones we don’t we’ll throw them out.
Q: What is your message to the team here?
A: Just pretty much the same thing I always tell them this time of year – keep working, make sure they come back in not just jogging shape, but in shape to plant, drive and break and get in and out of stances and things like that. Make sure the good citizens take care of each other. Typical goodbye speech.
Q: Is there any extra edge or sense of urgency with the pieces you’ve added to the team to getting to the Super Bowl?
A: I don’t know. It’s still early. Again, we can’t start at 13-3. We have to start at 0-0. Obviously, it’s a tough schedule. We’re playing both coasts. We’re playing Thursday night in L.A. There are a lot of things we are going to have to overcome. We are going to have to be a good football team in order to do what we want to do.
Q: Were you pleased with Mike Hughes at this point?
A: Yes, I was pleased with him. I thought he did a nice job. Still a learning experience for him. I thought the way he handled himself, the way he tried to learn and listen and all those things. I thought it was good.
Q: Is the open door policy with alumni and former players something you’ve done at other teams before or something you wanted to do here?
A: I just think it’s important. A lot of these guys have pretty big lives and pretty big careers because of those guys there. If those guys wouldn’t have done the things they did, then these guys wouldn’t have the opportunity that they have. All of these alumni, they had to have jobs in the summer. I think it’s important that we honor the guys that came before us. Not only with the Vikings, but with the entire NFL.
Q: What kind of special relationship do you have with Coach Jerry Burns?
A: I think Coach Burns and I have the same language most of the time. With all of the coaches that have come before me, when I see them I always tell them, “You are more than welcome to come out here and come to practice and come look at the new facility.” Same thing with the alumni, if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here either. But Coach Burns is really a special, special guy. I’ve gotten to know him and Coach [Bud] Grant really well. It’s good for me to sit down and talk a little bit about football and a little bit about life.
Q: Do you plan on using Anthony Barr more in different ways?
A: We are trying to get him where he is more comfortable rushing against linemen. That was part of our plan this spring.