*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *
Big division game this week. Detroit is a very good football team and very talented on both sides of the ball with a good punt returner and a good kicker. We are going to need our fans this week to help us out. This will be a big one. It will be a fun game.
Q: With Detroit having seven interceptions on defense, what makes them so effective getting turnovers?
A: They do a good job of getting pressure on the quarterback. They play tight in coverage. They are very well coached scheme-wise, fundamentally sound and they are around the football so they end up getting a lot of picks.
Q: Does Detroit do a lot of disguising?
A: Not too much disguising. A little bit, like everybody, but it's not crazy. Some are tipped balls, some are overthrows because the pressure, some of the DBs (defensive backs) do a nice job of stepping in front of things. Linebackers have had a couple.
Q: Will Sam Bradford practice today and do you have any clarity who will be the starting quarterback?
A: I'm giving him the day off today, but we are doing everything we can to get him ready to play Sunday. We are just giving him one more day to rest.
Q: Do the Lions look a little more balanced offensively than in the last couple years?
A: They are running the ball good. The two running backs they have are very explosive and quick. Matt Stafford scrambles around a lot. He is averaging eight yards-per-carry. They have weapons on the outside and their tight ends are good so it is a good football team.
Q: What would be an example of something that you particularly value from things Bill Parcells has told you?
A: I have a book upstairs of things he told me to remember as a head coach. He talked a lot about field position. He talked about doing your job the right away, preparation and making players accountable and things like that.
Q: Have you talked to Bill Parcells about the quarterback situation?
A: He called me a little over a week ago and he usually texts me after the game, but that was about it.
Q: When you came here in 2014, how have you seen Matt Stafford evolve year by year and how he has progressed?
A: Honestly, he is doing great. He has improved from the time I got here, much improved. He has an outstanding arm and throws the ball. He is very confident in what they do offensively and has a good feel for that. He is running a lot of no huddle stuff and making communications and checks. Maybe the biggest difference – he's always been able to throw the ball and he's probably more accurate now – but the biggest thing that I see is he takes off and extends plays with his legs.
*Q: How would characterize the rivalry between the Detroit Lions? *
A: Well it's a division game and they're a good football team. I think Coach Caldwell has done an outstanding job there. It's a good division game. It'll be a good test for us.
Q: How far does your relationship go back with Coach Caldwell?
A: We say 'Hi'.
Q: What has Andrew Sendejo done to shed the question marks about him being the starter?
A: He's always been a really physical player, quick, instinctive, active. He understands things. He kind of runs things in the back end pretty good. I think he's just gotten better every year.
Q: Can you talk about the progress Trae Waynes has made?
A: Trae seems to be getting better all the time. I think he's starting to develop more confidence. There's still things he needs to work on, but he's got such great athletic ability that he just needs to continue to use it and sometimes he overthinks a little bit, just go out and play.
Q: How much have you talked about Dalvin Cook and other young players about health and taking care of their bodies throughout the season?
A: I don't talk to them too much about that, once in a while. The veteran players are the ones. They have a much better idea about how their body feel than I do. I was just talking and it's been about 45 years since I had pads or a helmet on. I'm probably not the right guy to talk to about any of that stuff.
Q: What allowed Dalvin Cook to get so many yards after contact?
A: He's slippery. He can get into small creases. He wiggles just a little bit enough so a guy doesn't get a clean shot at him. They don't get many clean shots at this guy and then when he does and he gets the crowd and then he lowers his shoulders. I've been extremely happy with the way he's preformed and I hope it continues and continues to get better.
Q: What do you think of Nick Easton at left guard?
A: Good. I think the whole offensive line is playing well. Not just Nick, but Pat [Elflein], [Joe] Berger and really all those guys. I think they're playing well and we're going to need them to play well this week. This is a hard-charging defensive front. They come out of their hips and run off the ball. We're going to have to make sure that, most of them are aggressive power rushers, so we're going to have to do a good job with them.
Q: Are you tempted to put the helmet and shoulder pads back on?
A: I've talked to a couple of players about it. I said, 'Give me your helmet'. Didn't work.