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Transcript: Zimmer Addressed the Media Wednesday

*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *

Q: Talk about being back in Cincinnati with the Vikings and going up against your former team.

A: It brings back a lot of good memories. We had a good run when I was here, and (there are) a lot of great people in the administration. Mike Brown was really good to me and, obviously, Marvin (Lewis) and a lot of the players that I coached. It'll be fun. It'll be fun to bring my team in here, trying to compete with them.

Q: How did your time in Cincinnati shape you as a head coach?

A: I think a lot of different ways. I got a chance to see how Marvin does things, how he treats people, the way he earns respect. I think a lot of that stuff, being able to – I don't know. When I left Atlanta – I was there for three-quarters of a year or whatever – but, coming here and being able to resurrect my career a little bit. I think that helped a lot, being able to get some good players in here.

Q: You left a bunch of players behind in Minnesota. What was the thought process of leaving them behind as opposed to bringing them along for the trip?

A: Basically, I just didn't want to bring them. They're hurt; they can't do anything, so they'll get better treatment up there, and I was in a bad mood when they asked me. 

Q: You brought Rhett Ellison, though. Why did you bring Rhett even though he's on the Physically Unable to Perform list? Is he close to maybe doing something here?

A: Because he's getting mostly field work, and we thought it would be better for him to get field work here, as opposed to up there.

Q: What's the upside to a joint workout? What are you trying to accomplish?

A: Obviously, they're a good football team, and I have a great relationship with Marvin and the Browns. So, I knew that the respect factor for both teams would be here, and I anticipate that we'll get a lot of good work. Usually the day before a preseason game, you don't get any work done. We're going to get some extra work that way. So, I thought that was good. If it was some other team, I probably wouldn't have done it.

Q: On the 90-man roster, was it 10 guys you left behind?

A: I don't know. *(Reporter: My eyes aren't very good. I was trying to count the ones in my head.) *We had two guys that had family emergencies that happened yesterday. They'll probably be here, but they're a little late.

Q: Which ones were those?

A: I'm not going to tell you.

Q: When you sat down with Marvin to figure this out, did you guys find that you pretty much have the same schedule?

A: Yeah, really, Marvin and I have been together for so long. I said, 'What do you want to do?' And he said, 'How about we do this?' And I said, 'Fine.' And he sent me the script, and we changed a couple things. But I said, 'Hey, we're doing this. Would you want to do some of this?' He said, 'Sure.' It was real easy-going.

Q: Do you practice like they do here? Is it a lot of the same schedule?

A: Pretty much. Yeah, a lot of the stuff.

Q: With Terence Newman not here, it's a big opportunity for Trae Waynes. What does he need to do to kind of take advance of the time he's going to get in Cincinnati?

A: Just continue to get better. Like I always say, not let his guy catch the ball. I think it'll be good. They've got some good receivers. A.J. Green is a terrific receiver. So, it'll be good for him. For 12 days and OTAs, you're going against the same guys. Now you get a chance to go against somebody that you don't know, you haven't studied. So, it'll be good.

Q: Based on what you've seen from Trae Waynes the past couple weeks, do you think he's ready to really take advantage of this and go out and seize?

A: He's had a good couple weeks. I don't want to predetermine anything. So, we'll see how it all goes, but he's getting better.

Q: Is there anything specifically that Trae Waynes is getting better at, and what does he need to still work on?

A: You guys ask the hard questions. He has gotten better at just about everything. So, he needs to continue to be closer to the receiver at the top of the route and things like that.

Q: What sort of feelings do you get just coming back to Cincinnati? What kind of emotions do you have just being back here again in this city?

A: The fans were always great to me here. I think it's a tremendous city. I'm building a house over there in Kentucky. There are a lot of memories and things like that, but I'm not really a nostalgic guy.

Q: Are you still doing the barbeque for the staff? What's on the menu?

A: Yeah, Montgomery Inn, ribs. I asked the Bengals coaches to come over. So, yeah, it'll be fun.

Q: What sort of things carried over from your time here in Cincinnati with Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis?

A: You know his foundation is big, the way he treats players, the way he treats people. Marvin has got a great heart, and he's great for the city, so a lot of those things really carried over with me. I started a foundation up in Minnesota. You know back in the old days, everything was. 'You had to do this, you have to do this,' but I think there's a fine line with all of that, and I think I learned a lot about that with Marvin.

Q: What do you remember about when you were coming up with a lot of your defensive schemes with your staff in Cincinnati? Because it's kind of everywhere now.

A: Yes, unfortunately it's everywhere. Paul (Guenther) does a great job of breaking down protections, and we started (with) some of the principles we had when I was in Dallas. We just kind of carried them over, and we tried to figure out ways that we could get great pressure up the middle. Then from there, it was just – once we started looking at things and looking at more, and it was like 'OK, how can we do this?  What can we do different?'

Q: How important was your relationship and friendship with Paul? He grew a lot as you grew here, as well.

A: When I first got here, he was a defensive assistant, and then he moved to linebackers. I relied on him heavily. He's a good football coach and a good person. He has a great family.

Q: How important was the personnel being versatile or smart when it came to running the double A-gap schemes?

A: I think smarter guys typically play better, but you'll see our guys. We have some length on our defensive team, just like Cincinnati does. So, we always wanted big guys with length. We wanted smart guys. We wanted great competitors, guys with passion.

Q: Isn't it always about the disguise?

A: I guess. I don't want to give too much away. You have to come to my clinic that I do for the media up there.

Q: Due to some starting linebackers being out, how much of an opportunity is this for some of your younger linebackers?

A: They're going to get a chance to play a lot. (Kentrell) Brothers, Audie Cole, all those guys will get a lot of reps. So, it'll be fun.

Q: What have you seen from Kentrell Brothers?

A: He's physical and instinctive. He's just got to keep getting better with the scheme.

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