*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *
Q: Will you do anything differently during the bye week this year?
Q: What will that be?
A: Just some stuff I want to work on. I'm not going to get involved in it. Every year is a new year. We just kind of see what we need to do and go from there.
Q: How do you feel about this team heading into the bye?
A: No different probably than anything I've said before. I think we're running the ball better. Offense has been scoring points. Defense, we've been fairly solid. There's a lot of areas we're trying to get better at. We had too many negative plays the other day on offense. I don't think we played our best game defensively the other day. Special teams we gave up a couple big plays. There's some things that we're working on. That's what we're trying to do this week, work on these things. I'm not going to get specific on it but I gave the team and the coaches some things I want them to really concentrate on this week.
Q: How do you feel about the defense?
A: I like the way they go about their stuff. They're playing with a confidence, I think, in the things that they're doing. There's some things that we need to shore up. But, I guess overall, I think we're heading in the right direction, yes.
Q: How much do you think this week will help the health of the team?
A: I think it'll help a lot. We got some of them back last week and we came out of the game pretty good.
Q: Are you prepared to activate Teddy Bridgewater next week?
A: I'm prepared. We'll take it one day at a time though and see. We've still got a few more days to figure it out.* *
Q: You said you hoped you had a decision to make, will that decision be based all on Teddy's health or will how the team is playing with Case Keenum play a factor?
A: Well, when I said that, it was more about the decision to activate Teddy. It wasn't about the decision of who to play.
Q: Will the decision ultimately be whether Teddy is healthy enough?
A: No, I haven't decided that yet. We'll continue to take it one day at a time. Just see where he is at, where the team is at, how Case [Keenum] is doing. The whole deal. Sam [Bradford], how is he doing.
Q: How is Sam Bradford doing?
A: Yeah, he's getting better. I thought this was going to be a one week injury. I never thought that it would linger on this long. But, he is getting better. We'll just go from there. So, when I told you guys that I thought he was close, I thought he was. It just hasn't worked that way.
Q: Have you been surprised how well Jerick McKinnon has stepped up?
A: I don't think I'm surprised. Jerick is a good athlete and I think Kennedy [Polamalu] has done a really good job with him, as far as talking to him about things he needed to improve on. I think that's helped quite a bit and I think he's taken it to heart. He's been running physically, he's been hitting the hole quick, catching the ball well out the backfield – which he always has, been good in protection.
Q: What has allowed the offensive line to play so well together despite the injuries?
A: Well, a lot of it is we've got new players. These guys are pretty good players, so that's part of it, but I do think we've adjusted some of the things we're doing – really in the pass game, in the run game, this offseason, the different types of protections, the footwork that we're using, things like that. I think all that has been a factor as well.* *
Q: When you were 2-2, Everson Griffen was really vocal about going 4-0. Was that a goal you thought about as well?
A: Obviously you want to go 4-0, right? I really don't look at four games deals. I look at this week and how we win this week and talk to the team about what we have to do this week to win this particular ball game. And then next week we worry about that. I mean as a long range thing, yes. I didn't really talk about it. Some of the players talked about we need to be 6-2 at the bye, but it's like you can't birdie them all until you birdie the first. That's my mentality and I think the players understand you can't go 4-0 if you lose the first one.
Q: Halfway through, is there anything going into the season that maybe you thought might be a question mark that you feel has been answered?
A: I think we're moving the ball well offensively. I think that's been big. For the most part, we're scoring points. It's too early to look at stats but offensively, we're 13th in the league or something, where we were 29th or something a year ago. So I think the way that we've improved offensively has helped the team. We had 85 plays last week on offense or something. It takes a lot of the wear-and-tear off the defense and keeps the clock going. There's a lot of good things that happen when you can control the clock like that.
Q: About a year ago you switched kickers. How long would you say it took you to put full trust in Kai Forbath?
A: Well, I'm probably not as jump off the wagon as you guys are. You guys wanted me to get rid of him after he missed the extra point in the second game or something. He's done a really good job of kicking field goals accurately. He's a good kid. He works hard. I think there's a good rapport between [Kevin] McDermott, the holder [Ryan Quigley] and him. So yes, I feel comfortable with him.
Q: Do you think this group built to handle adversity going down the stretch if a loss comes or if something goes one way, the way that they have in the first half of the season with some of the injuries you have had?
A: You never really know. They've handled their business pretty good all through training camp, all through the first part of the season. Like all teams, we've had some things we had to deal with. I like how they respond to things. But just because I like it doesn't mean that's what we're going to do.