*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *
Alright, good to get back, I know you all missed me, I missed you, too. It's a lovefest.
Q: Do you coach any differently out of the bye week and did you have any guys stay and put in extra work this past week?
A: We did have some guys that stuck around here, toward the end of the week, they had the weekend off. And yeah, we go back, that's what we did most all of this last week, is go back and work on things that we feel like we need to correct, things that we need to clarify, things like that, yes. Hopefully that helps.
Q: Is Xavier Rhodes wearing boxing gloves for individual drills a teaching tool that Coach Jerry Gray has implemented before?
A: I don't know, you'd have to ask Jerry. I saw him, yes.
Q: Is defensive holding still something you have to continually reinforce with young cornerbacks?
A: It's really just a point emphasis of keeping an open hand. We're trying to fix everything that we can. Just a point of emphasis.
Q: Could you talk about your thoughts on the Gerald Hodges trade and Eric Kendricks ability to step into a starting role?
A: I think Eric [Kendricks] has done a good job and basically he has been a starter.
Q: Can you talk about why Eric Kendricks has been able to come along so quickly?
A: He's a good player. I don't what else you want me to say, he's done a good job.
Q: What sets a team apart that can win the close games in the 4th quarter?
A: Really, what sets it apart is doing your job so other people can do their job, so you can win as a team. That's really what it's about. It's doing your job so you can help other people do their job and then in the 4th quarter you just go play. As far as us in the 4th quarter, we didn't play good in the 4th quarter, we played good, we just didn't finish the game against Denver. I don't know, I think the other games we did alright.
Q: How do you replace a guy like Gerald Hodges who could play all three linebacker positions?
A: Well, all of our linebackers have versatility, they can all play all those spots.
Q: How is Edmond Robinson progressing?
A: Good. Getting better. Working.
Q: Is there a possibility of Edmond Robinson being a member of the active 46 on game days?
A: It's possible.
Q: Are there any pitfalls of a bye week and getting your team focused after a week off?
A: Well, it's not just a bye week, it's when guys have three or four days off, trying to get back into it mentally. For a while, a year ago, we'd give them a long weekend or something like that, they'd come back and they weren't as crisp or sharp as when they left. That's the pitfalls of it, yes.
Q: Did your team handle the time off better today than they have in the past?
A: We started a little bit average, but we picked it up pretty good, I thought.
Q: Can you disclose why Mike Wallace wasn't practicing today?
A: No, I can't disclose.
Q: Do you expect to have Mike Wallace on Sunday?
A: We'll see. The injury report will come out on Wednesday.
Q: In terms of the self-scout, was there any particular areas that you were able to identify that you really wanted to focus on?
A: Yes there was several areas, and there always are. I don't want to get into it publicly why we did. I do think that when you get a chance to sit back, evaluate, kind of look at things, it's no different than any other year. There are certain areas that you feel like, maybe we're not teaching it the right way or maybe we need to look at, we do this a little bit better, this guy does that a little bit better or what the situation is and kind of go that way. Specifically, I don't really want to get into it.
Q: Is it minor or major adjustments?
A: Yeah, pretty minor things. Just the way you're playing a certain technique on a certain block, the way you're running a route a certain way, what can we do to help create more issues for the other team.
Q: What are your thoughts about the division race at this point?
A: Well, I think it's a great division, but I'm so focused on us to be honest with you. I know what the records are, I know who is leading the division, but we've got 12 more games to go, so there's a lot of things that can happen. I know all of the records, but really all I care about ever is us and how we play and let's add them up at the end of the year and see what happens.
Q: What are your thoughts on Nick Easton?
A: He's a guy that we liked in the offseason coming out in the draft. We liked him in the preseason. He's got quickness, he's smart, he has some toughness.
Q: Did you watch the Kansas City game yesterday?
A: I watched it on tape. No, I didn't watch the game, I watched it on tape.
Q: What do you see from them?
A: They play a lot of man-to-man in the backend. They've got a couple good [pass] rushers, they're physical. Offensively they're – wide open would be a good way to describe them. Quarterback scrambles, he can be very, very accurate. They've got a tight end that's very dangerous, wide receiver that's excellent. Obviously I don't know about [Jamaal] Charles – I know he's good.
Q: What has your experience been when a team loses a marquee player like Jamaal Charles?
A: I don't really know. We've all been through situations where good players have gotten hurt, but some respond differently. It's a hard one to answer for me.
Q: Anything surprise you about how Stefon Diggs played in his first action of the season?
A: That he put the ball on the ground twice. Other than that, no.
Q: What kind of learning curve does Nick Easton need to have to get up to speed?
A: He's been spending a lot of time, he spent a lot of extra time last week. He's a pretty sharp guy; I think he'll get up to speed quickly.
Q: Do you get any more concerned about your team's preparation and playing against a team that has only won one game?
A: No, not really. We've only won two games, so no, not at all. Our focus is on us and what we do and how we need to win and how we need to play and how we need to get better, how we need to perform in the crucial situations of the game. Really that's all I'm concerned about. Every day I come in here and try to figure out how we can be better. Obviously you game plan for people and things like that, but this league is so good. There are so many great players, there are so many teams that you don't expect to win that win each and every day and the teams that end up with good records usually find ways to win and that's all we're trying to do is continue to find ways to win.