*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *
Q: Everson Griffen has had a really good training camp. Do you see him taking even another step this year?
A: I think he continues to get better. He's a great worker. He goes hard every minute. He wants to keep working on his craft. So, yeah, I think he has got a chance.
Q: How about Xavier Rhodes? What have you seen from him development-wise, and where is he at?
A: He's getting better. He has been really conscious about his hand placements, and we've been working real hard on his technique. I think he's starting to get the mentality of denying the ball from his guy, and this is the first time that I've really seen him go after the football since I've been here. There have been some plays where he really tries to intercept it, as opposed to just covering them.
Q: What about Zach Moore? He's in the third and critical year of his career.
A: He's a big, strong, physical guy, has a ton of ability. Sometimes Zach does a little bit by the numbers. He could just cut it loose a little bit more. So, that's really what maybe is holding him back, but he has ability and he's a good kid.
Q: What can a kid like C.J. Ham take away from, even though it's preseason, how he got the ball, got the touchdown? How can that make a difference for a guy like that?
A: I think for these young guys that come in, especially the undrafted guys, they say, 'Wow, I can play in this league,' and it give them a lot of confidence. He did a great job blocking the other night, and he ran physical and hard with the ball. So, I think the confidence factor is the biggest thing.
Q: How long did you look at film and cutups from the Seattle game in the offseason, or do you just bury that?
A: I watched it a couple times. I didn't grind over it. So, I watched it a couple times.
Q: Do you look at all games from a distance and objectively like that?
A: In the offseason? Yeah. We go through each game, and then we also go through the cutups; they put the cutups on there. But, I watched it a couple times, not really any more than some of the other ones, I guess.
Q: That game and this upcoming game is apples and oranges – preseason and playoffs. A lot of fans want to keep that going, but it's just different teams, different year, right? Does that get frustrating for your guys with the comparisons?
A: I don't think so. I think they know that this is a good football team, and just like last week, we had a playoff team. This is a playoff team, won the Super Bowl a couple years ago and the NFC Championship game a couple years ago. So, our guys know the competition that they're facing. I don't think the think of it as like this is the Wild Card round or anything like that, but I think it'll be good competition.
Q: Has anything jumped out to you about how Blair Walsh has gone about his offseason?
A: Yeah, he has done really good. He has been kicking the ball really good in practice, and obviously, he hit the 51-yarder the other night. He said, 'Hey, thanks for letting me kick it.' I would have let him kick it anyway.
Q: You had the situation last year where you had four quality tight ends, and it's hard to keep more than three on a 53-man roster. Depending on if Rhett Ellison comes back and David Morgan, the way he's doing, how do you size of the competition at tight end?
A: Who said it's hard to keep more than three?
Q: Do you think it's possible keeping four on the 53-man roster?
A: We're going to keep the best 53 (players) we can. So, if it's four of those or two somewhere else, it won't be hard.
Q: You had talked last week about Rhett Ellison; you think he'll be ready for the season. Do you see him getting in any preseason action, or how do you size up that situation?
A: I think he's getting close. I don't know. I think he's getting close.
Q: What does Antone Exum Jr. have to do to take the next step?
A: He's a really good athlete and he can make a lot of plays. But he has to be consistent in his communication with the checks, being in the right place and, really, being dependable when he's out on the field. Jimmy Johnson used to have a line, a saying: 'It's not how many good plays you make. It's how many bad plays you give up.' So, that's a little bit of his deal right now. He has got to be more consistent and be consistently good and then make the plays that are there for you.
Q: When you evaluate that second safety, you're looking at how they interact with Harrison Smith but not necessarily individual talent?
A: Not necessarily how they work with Harrison. Harrison can work with anybody, so that's an issue for me. It's just when they're on different sides of the field, a lot of times they make calls to their side, and you have to be on point. You have to make them right. Things change throughout the course of a ball game; you have to be able to adjust and be able to adjust on the fly. If you come on the sideline and we say, 'Hey, we're going to do it like this next time.' You've got to be able to do it.
Q: When you're at this stage of the preseason, still working on fundamentals, does a quarterback like Russell Wilson kind of help in that process?
A: It probably hurts a little bit. I don't know if this is the right answer, but we're always trying to maintain proper rush lanes. We're going to have some cards today. The first we've done anything with it. It's not a real big deal.
Q: When you have a guy like that, is it tempting to chase him around and not stay in your rush lane?
A: Yeah. Most of the time what happens is you start peeking and you quit rushing. So, instead of maintaining and trying to beat the guy you're on, you're looking around for the quarterback and then you don't rush. But we've been fairly disciplined with our rush lanes, so I'm sure there's a possibly that he'll get out a couple times.
Q: How much better do you think are at dealing with mobile quarterbacks?
A: I think we're more athletic, which that always helps, when you can add big, long guys with range like (Danielle) Hunter. (Everson) Griffen is a heck of an athlete, and (Anthony) Barr is a big, long athlete that can run.