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Transcript: Zimmer Addresses The Media on Monday

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

After watching the tape, I thought we did some good things in a lot of different areas. We continued to do a good job in our return game, punt returns and kickoff returns, we're doing a good job blocking, not getting penalties, creating seams, things that Coach [Mike] Priefer is trying to teach those guys. Defensively, I thought we did well with a lot of things. We gave up that one 60 yard throw, which was poor. Then offensively we moved the ball pretty good. We had a few breakdowns in some of the areas, but overall it was an okay performance.

Q: Where does Cordarrelle Patterson stand overall during this camp?

A: I think he's continuing to work, continuing to get better. I think last week was a better game for him even though he didn't have any catches. It was a better game for him than the week before. He's just another guy that we can use.

Q: How concerned are you about the kicking situation at this point?

A: I'm not really concerned. I think if Blair [Walsh] would have had a poor night last Saturday night, then I'd be more concerned. He made every kick in practice last week. I have to go on the overall of what I see all the time, so I'm not concerned. He'll be fine.

Q: Did you go back and look at how Gerald Hodges and Eric Kendricks played? Where do things stand at the middle linebacker position?

A: I thought they both did well. Kendricks, he makes a bunch of plays, Hodges had four tackles in the number of plays that he was in. We'll take another look at it this week and see where it goes.

Q: So will Gerald Hodges start again this week?

A: I don't know. Is that important?

Q: How many potential starters are you looking at using on Thursday?

A: The guys that need to play will play, so whoever we deem needing to play are going to play.

Q: Do you want two three-down linebackers at the nickel spot or are you looking to rotate at that position all year?

A: We're trying to get the best players on the field the best time we can. We'll try and use them to their best ability. It really doesn't matter to me who is playing, if it's one guy plays all three downs or one guys plays one down, we're just trying to get the correct match-ups, the best situation for us defensively. We rotate defensive line, so I don't know why it's a big issue to rotate linebackers. If we have enough quality to do that, that's important. We're not going to rotate defensive linemen [if] we don't feel like the guys we put in there are ready to go and vice versa for the linebackers.

Q: Are you looking to make a decision on the final three cuts today to get to 75 players?

A: We're almost there. We released most of them.

Q: Will placing players on injured reserve factor into that at all?

A: Some of them it may, yeah.

Q: How did you feel Taylor Heinicke played the other night and what are the chances now of keeping three quarterbacks?

A: He did well, he did well. He's still a young quarterback trying to find his way in a lot of things, but he made plays the other night. He's done a good job this camp, so we'll just have to see where everything unfolds as we get going.

Q: Has Robert Blanton had a good camp overall?

A: There's some things that Robert [Blanton] does really well and some things that he needs to get better at, so we'll continue to look at that position and kind of see where that goes.

Q: Do you feel you need to have Chad Greenway out there every down for his intangibles or is there a scenario where he might not be one of the three linebackers out in certain sub-packages?

A: I'm going back to what I said a minute ago, I'm trying to get the best guys on the field at certain times and intangibles don't really mean too much to me. It's more about performance and about getting the guys who are out there the best at that time.

Q: Is Mike Wallace everything you thought he'd be so far?

A: I think he's doing well. I'm more impressed with what he does in practice every single day, the things that he does and the way that he works and really the leadership he brings to that position group, as well. He's doing good. We'll continue to find ways for him.

Q: Does Teddy Bridgewater need to play Thursday night or are you going to hold him out?

A: I haven't told them yet, so I will reserve judgement until then.

Q: What makes you confident about the cornerback position?

A: I think we have some talent at that position. I think other than the one throw that Amari Cooper caught on [Terence] Newman, he's been very solid. Xavier [Rhodes] has been solid. [Trae] Waynes had his best game this last week. These guys all have a lot of ability in what we're trying to do and what we're trying to teach – the acceleration out of the breaks, getting in the right position, being able to play man-to-man, those things are all things that we like.

Q: What was it about Trae Waynes that you liked?

A: Well, he was in position the entire night. I'm not sure his guy caught any balls on him. His technique was much better this last time. I thought he was in the right position much better and there were some things we had to talk about on the sideline, but for the most part, I thought this was by far his best performance.

Q: What did you think of your first-team defensive line against Dallas' first-team offensive line, specifically Sharrif Floyd?

A: I thought they did well. They ran some different runs against us than we had seen, that was when the second group was in there. I thought for the most part, we did a good job. We didn't maybe rush the passer as well as I'd have liked, but as far as in the running game, I thought Sharrif [Floyd] was active, got in the backfield a few times, which is kind of what I was talking about earlier about turning these guys loose a little bit. I thought Linval [Joseph] I think they said four tackles in 12 plays or something like that. BRob [Brian Robison] had three holding penalties on him and Everson [Griffen], he had one good rush on [Tyron] Smith, but didn't get to the quarterback.

Q: George Edwards said last week in response to a question about Trae Waynes possibly starting week one that that's what you were aiming for. Is that a realistic possibility and how would you assess that?

A: I read that and I didn't agree with what George [Edwards] said, to be honest with you. I think it was interpreted incorrectly, I think when he said, 'that's what we're all wanting him to do, is we all wanted them to start.' I don't think he specifically meant Trae [Waynes], so we'll see where that goes.

Q: Are the roster cuts more difficult this year because you're cutting better quality football players than a year ago?

A: Yes. There's no question. It's like yesterday was a hard day, really. Joe Banyard is a terrific kid, he's busted his rear end around here, he had some good runs last year. A guy like Josh Kaddu, who a lot of you don't know, he's a guy that was on the practice squad last year, I mean just a great, great kid. Some of these things, you end up cutting some of these guys, it's hard because they're part of us. We wish them the best and hope that things work out for them. To answer your question, yes. I think we have a deeper football team this year than we did a year ago. 

Q: Do you appreciate the five preseason games and opportunity to evaluate your roster with the extra game?

A: What it's helped us do too, the thing with the linebacker position, we've been able to look at that a little bit more. We've been able to look at the nickel position a little bit more. We've been able to maybe not play the guys as long in a bunch of games, more short-term, short-term. I think that's helped us in doing those things quite a bit. It's allowed us to, I don't know if tinker is the right word, but move guys around. Okay, this week we had BRob [Brian Robison] playing inside a little bit. Things like that it's helped us do.

Q: Xavier Rhodes looks noticeably more confident this year, what else would you like to see from him this season?

A: Just more consistency. He didn't help the situation the other night on that long pass. He has to be not just a cover-guy, he's got to be a complete player. The first 3rd down they checked to that little wide receiver screen and he came up there and knocked the guy pretty good, but the overall parts of the game. Learning and understanding the game more, understanding what offenses are trying to do by formations. Sometimes Xavier [Rhodes] wants to go out there and, 'okay, this is what I do.' Instead of understanding everything about it, where offenses are trying to attack. Those are the next progressions in his development.

Q: How does Xavier Rhodes progress through that next development?

A: By listening to me and paying attention. Focusing on those things that can make him a great as opposed to just a good player.

Q: Is that development typically a multi-year progression for the development of the younger players?

A: It's typically, yeah, multi-year. Some guys pick it up quicker than others. We stress it pretty hard, I think he's starting to learn it. A lot of times if you do a good job studying you can have an idea of what kind of concepts this offense is running, you might get this certain split in this play, those things will help him out a lot. It takes some extra work. [Terence] Newman has it now, some of the things I talk to him about, he said, 'well, I knew he was running a post here by his alignment, or I knew he was doing this or that.' The quicker guys can get to that, the better they can become.

Q: Does it help having Terence Newman in the room to help that progression?

A: I believe so, you'd have to ask those guys there. I think he's able to communicate with those guys on a lot of different levels.

Q: Have you split reps once you've got into the regular season with a nickel linebacker or a younger guy that you're trying to bring along?

A: Well, we've had different packages where we've tried to get guys in the game, as far as a-dime-package, a nickel-package. He had one we used to call 45-package, so yeah.

Q: Are you planning to make the last three roster moves today or wait until tomorrow?

A: They'll probably be announced fairly soon.

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