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Transcript: Zimmer Addresses the Media on Monday

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

Watching the tape from yesterday, I thought we came out with a purpose. It was important for us to start fast this week. I thought we did that. We planned on taking the ball offensively but we lost the toss and they deferred, so we were kind of happy about that anyway. We went down and converted third downs, we went down and scored touchdowns. Defensively, I think the first series was a three or four and out, so that was good. I think our guys kind of played with a chip on their shoulder this week. The preparation was great, their demeanor was good all week in practice, and they practice good every week. I'm proud of how they came out and performed. There was a lot of things that we've got to clean up, we've got to do a lot better in a lot of different areas, but the physicality, the passion that we played with, the intensity that we played with, I think all of those things were very, very good.

Q: What stood out the most about the run defense?

A: They ran a couple of the same plays that we got the week before, we played them really, really good. We played with good technique, we got in the right place. I think we were intent on making sure that we did things correctly. I think the players did a good job this week and the coaches did a good job this week of getting back to some of the basics that we needed to do.

Q: How was your gang tackling?

A: It was much better. There were a couple situations late that it wasn't good. We got tired, it was late and the end of the first half it wasn't very good, that I was disappointed in. But overall, it was much better, yes.

Q: How do you keep your team playing with a chip on their shoulder coming off a win now instead of a loss?

A: That's a good point and hopefully when I talked to the team this morning, I mentioned to them about what good teams do and how we do it. I'll have a chip on my shoulder this week too.

Q: You mentioned yesterday your conversation with Bill Parcells and "taking the cheese." Is that the common expression and how do you talk to the players along those lines?

A: I talked to them about that last night, but Coach [Parcells] actually called me last night too. It's a good week to be demanding, it's a good week to be demanding.

Q: Was that the physicality you wanted to see in the running game from not only Adrian Peterson, but the offensive line as well?

A: I thought the offensive line did a very nice job. We got on their defensive linemen, we got up on the second level, we stayed on the double teams good, I thought the tight ends blocked well. Adrian adds a physicality too when he's running the football as well. I think the receivers did a nice job, Jarius Wright did a nice job going in there and cracking guys when they had the safeties down in the box. I think that overall mentality was important. We're trying to develop that mentality, that toughness, and the physicality. That's what we want to be like as a football team.

Q: Did you sense the offensive line was in for a good day after the opening drive?

A: Well, I thought they were coming off the ball well and I think that going back and thinking of the 18 games that I've been here now, I think they played pretty much with a chip on their shoulder too. That's maybe the first time I've really seen them say, "Hey, we've got you today, Coach." When I go around and I shake guys hands before the game. About four of those offensive linemen said, "I've got you today, Coach."

Q: What do you think of players drawing penalties after the whistle like what Matt Kalil did yesterday?

A: I don't want penalties obviously, but we are trying to build a physical, tough presence. I want our guys to finish blocks, we have to stop on the whistle, but I like the mentality of that part. Now, we've got to be smarter and stop on the whistle. He was trying to finish on that particular play. He was late and there was no question it was a penalty, but I like the mindset. I don't like the penalty, I like the mindset.

Q: How much do you weigh in on offensive strategy and how much do you totally turn over to Norv Turner?

A: There is some each week. We sit and talk every Tuesday and then we talk throughout the course of the week. I have ultimate confidence in everything that he does. We discuss all the different things and I sit down with Teddy [Bridgewater] and watch tape with him every week, so I'm involved, but I'm more involved with the defense.

Q: Is that what you want your defensive line to look like when you're firing on all cylinders like that?

A: Yeah, I do. I thought our linebackers played well, too, much better than the week before. I thought they played well, aggressive and downhill, but we can rush the quarterback better than what we did. I know we hit him [Matthew Stafford] a lot, but there were times when I felt like we can do better than what we did.

Q: Do you think those hits on Matthew Stafford added up and took a toll on him?

A: I don't know, you'd have to check with him. We always want to hit the quarterback as many times as we can. If they're going to throw the ball all day, we want to hit him.

Q: Chad Greenway played a career low in snaps. How is he handling that transition of playing less?

A:He is handling it like a pro and we probably should have played him a little bit more last week, but I'm not going to worry about how guys think about how much they should play. My job is to get this football team to win. And some weeks, they get more plays and some weeks they get less plays. I'm not going to get into all that stuff with the players and I think they understand it and Chad is a professional. I love him and he's a great kid. He's a leader, he's a captain and I think he's enjoying his time. Would he like to play more? I'm sure he would but that's just the way it goes. 

Q: Teddy Bridgewater said he's feeling more instinctual, has that been what you have been waiting for?

A: Yeah, there was a play in the game that kind of, what you're addressing now that happened, the headset went out and he called a play and it ended up being a first down, the play that he called. He kind of looked over at me and smiled. When that kind of stuff is going on then you feel like this kid is really starting to come along.

Q: What is your take on the Anthony Barr and Mike Wallace penalties?

A: Those were dumb penalties. Anthony, [Barr] for some reason, he got upset about something during the game and the guy, he slowed down when he stepped out of bounds, but he was out of bounds. There's no need to do that. We want to play tough, clean, smart football and that was not tough, clean and smart. Mike [Wallace], I addressed it pretty quick when I talked with him and he said, 'Coach, that won't happen again.' Sometimes we all make mistakes, too, but sometimes I have to get my point across to them as well.

Q: Is 31 touches for Adrian Peterson an ideal workload for him?

A: He played about the number of plays that we wanted him to play, that we talk about, somewhere in there about the 50 range playing about that many plays. Each game is going to be different, we're not going in saying, we're going to hand him the ball 31 times or he's going to catch 10 passes. We're not going to go into the game that way. We're going to go into the game with a specific plan, it's just like we do things defensively, if things are working then we continue on, if not then we look for other avenues to exploit. He was running with a purpose yesterday, it was good to see. Each game is going to be different.

Q: Do you think yesterday's game was proof of what can happen when you get the running game going with a number of different players?

A: I think it's important because as you saw during the course of the ball game they started dropping the safety in a lot more so that they can get some extra guys in the box and then it starts opening up some other areas. Part of it is too, you've got be able to run against extra guys in the box at times, as well, which we did several times yesterday. The great backs they say, 'give me the extra guy' and he [Adrian Peterson] did that some as well yesterday.

Q: Do you feel like Gerald Hodges is settling in at middle linebacker?

A: I thought he played well yesterday. I think he had one bad play on my recollection right now, but I thought he played good, he was in the right spot, he lined up good, he did a good job in the running game. He knocked one ball down in the passing game. Probably should have got him in there a little bit more, as well.

Q: Is that why Gerald Hodges played in the nickel towards the end, because he hadn't played a lot?

A: No, no. Not really. It was more that the other guys had a lot of plays and I'm trying to keep some guys fresh toward the end of the game. I think at the end of the game we looked a little bit sloppy. We were just trying to even some of those things out. It's fortunate for us that we have some depth at that position, at the defensive line, in the secondary, the more we can use these players the better it is.

Q: How do you feel Eric Kendricks did?

A: I think he did well. There was a couple of plays, obviously, that we wish he had back. I think for the most part he was in the right position. I think he's going to continue to get better. I think all of this playing that he's starting to get and understanding his role is going to keep helping him. He needs to be better.

Q: On Detroit's last play did you ever get an explanation as to why there wasn't a measurement on the really close 4th down play?

A: What happened, it was right before the two-minute warning. It was on the far side of the field, I couldn't see where the ball was and I didn't have any challenges left. During the two-minute warning, the official came over and said they'd marked it as a 1st down, but I didn't ask him about a measurement or anything like that. 

Q: How did you feel Andrew Sendejo played yesterday?

A: I thought he did better. He tackled well. [Andrew] Sendejo always goes pretty fast, full-speed, but I thought he did a nice job in his open field tackles, I thought he was in the right place in coverage and I thought that he continues to keep working on his communication with the other players.

Q: Did you get any more insight on Adrian Peterson's fumbles?

A: Yes. We need to correct those quickly because we can't have those fumbles. But yeah, there's some things we have to do to take care of that, we'll be working on them this week.

Q: What do you anticipate with Jabari Price back on the active roster this week?

A: I don't know, we'll see. He hasn't practiced in two weeks so we will see how it goes with practice and where he is. He's been able to sit in the meetings and do that stuff. Until we see him out on the field, I don't know.

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