*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *
Good afternoon. I think it was a really good team win yesterday. One of the things that we're trying to do – I think like Fran Tarkenton said about Mick Tingelhoff, he always put the team first – that's the mindset that I'm trying to get this football team to develop. We can win as a team if we do the right things, we play together as a team, we understand special teams is extremely important and the other two phases as well. Questions?
Q: Do you feel like your team is starting to establish a physical identity of what you want for this football team?
A: I do like the physical nature of our team the last couple of weeks. Football has been around so long and it always comes down to a physical game at the end. I want us to continue that way. I hope that that is our identity going forward, but we'll see. We've still got a long way to go.
Q: How much of that mentality is just based on the players you have collected?
A: You have to have the right players, but I think you keep talking about things like that. I think the more you talk about what you want to be and who you are and how you do it, I think it's important as well.
Q: How much of an effect does it have on the quarterback to consistently hit him the way your defense has?
A: You'd have to ask quarterbacks I guess. I think they speed up a little bit, I think they start throwing off their back foot a little bit. I think they feel getting hit, so I don't know. It's just kind of my mentality.
Q: What is your assessment so far of the run defense after struggling in Week 1? Who do you give credit to the turnaround?
A: On the players. The players, they're doing a great job and being in the right place, playing with good techniques, Sharrif [Floyd] played very well, Linval [Joseph] played very well, the two ends played good, linebackers are doing a good job. I try to preach every week team defense.
Q: How important is it for you guys to pressure Peyton Manning the way you've been pressuring quarterbacks lately?
A: He gets the ball out really quick. I played him in Dallas when they were 10-0 and we beat them, so there's a lot of different ways, he gets the ball out quickly. It may be a different plan this week, we'll just have to see.
Q: Do you think the Monday night loss against the 49ers changed the whole tone of this team?
A: I hate going back that far, but this team – and I said it that night – I didn't recognize that team. But this team that I see every day at practice, the OTAs, training camp, the things that we did, that's the team that I see. We have to go out and prove it on Sundays and that's what I tell these guys. We work really, really hard, we study, we prepare, but we only get 16 of these opportunities, and we have to prove it on Sundays. Everything that we do in this organization and this building with our players, it's for one day, and that's Sunday, that's why we do all of the stuff that we do. I hope that we continue on this path, but again, it's a long season and we'll just see where we go.
Q: How do you feel Trae Waynes held up?
A: I thought he did well. I've been saying all along that he continues to get better every week. I felt like there was going to be an opportunity in the game this week, that he may end up playing some anyway. I didn't expect it under those circumstances, but he did good for his first real test under fire, I thought he did well.
Q: Did Xavier Rhodes suffer a concussion?
Q: Was there any additional injury to his neck or something else?
A: No, and actually he's feeling great today. He's already passed one test. I think we should be good to go.
Q: How much concern was there? He was laying on the ground for a long time?
A: I'm always concerned about my players any time that they get hurt, but Xav is pretty tough, he's pretty tough, so I knew he'd be alright.
Q: Are you comfortable with the amount of snaps Terence Newman is taking?
A: Yeah, he's good. He's always in tremendous shape, takes really good care of his body, so he'll be fine.
Q: Where is Jabari Price and do you think he could get integrated later this week?
A: Maybe. I don't know. He's working his way back in kind of like Waynes was for a while, so we'll see. Again, it still comes down to how we can get 46 ready on game day.
*Q: How common are the pick plays that San Diego was running with their tight ends and how do you best defend that? *
A: Well, they do a great job with their underneath crossing routes. Usually the best way [to defend it] is to play some kind of zones in there, but they were doing a good job with their underneath crossing routes.
Q: Is the pretty common with most teams?
A: They did it a little bit differently than most teams do. Most teams are not as deliberate with their crossing routes.
Q: Do you think Charles Johnson will be able to play this week?
A: I'm assuming so, but I don't know. We'll see where it goes during the week.
Q: Your team had fewer penalties this week. Was discipline something you were preaching going into last week?
A: Not more than any other week. We've been pretty good with the penalties for the most part usually. We try to do a good job with our hands and our hand placement and where we contact receivers and our targets on the quarterbacks, I think those have been pretty good. I know Everson [Griffen] had one the other day, a little late hit, but we're hitting the quarterback. We put a target on him, so we've been hitting them in the right place, so that helps. And then offensively, we're not having a lot of motion and movement penalties and things like that, which typically add to your numbers.
Q: How do you think this defensive line compares to previous groups that you've had?
A: I don't know that it's fair really to compare. I really like this group. This is a very, very pleasing group, they want to please you very much. They've got a lot of pride amongst themselves. As long as we keep doing what we're supposed to do, keep playing with good effort and getting in those situations where we can rush the quarterback, then I think this team will have a chance to continue to get sacks. Again, that's not the measure of what we want to do defensively. Obviously, we want to get sacks but it's not the entire thing that we want to do.
Q: Would you describe where your offensive line is currently at?
A: I think they're getting better every week. There was some plays that we could have done a lot better at, I thought, in the first half than what we did, but I think them continually working as a group, I think T.J. [Clemmings] is getting better every week, Mike [Harris] is getting better, he's a battler, he's a fighter and [Matt] Kalil has had a very good season thus far. I like their mentality and where they're going and how they're kind of maybe leading this team with the mindset that we're trying to have and I think Adrian [Peterson] helps that as well.
Q: You were in nickel most of the past two games how do you explain the pass rush and run stopping ability from that personnel grouping?
A: Well, in today's NFL you have to be able to stop the run with substituted defenses. Sometimes it's play calls, but most of the time it's really players doing what they're supposed to do and for the most part, we did that the other day. We don't look at it like because we have extra DBs in there, we can't play the run.
Q: Did Gerald Hodges purposefully get more snaps in the nickel?
A: I wanted to get all of our guys more reps this week, more rotation going with the linebackers and the defensive line. I think we did a good job of that.
Q: Do you think you will continue that same type of rotation?
A: It depends on the week, really. How much of that personnel group we get, how fast they're going and the weather conditions, all of those things. It all depends. There's some things that Eric [Kendricks] probably does better than Gerald [Hodges] and Gerald does better than Eric, there's things that Chad [Greenway] helps with a lot. We like Anthony [Barr] quite a bit. We'll just keep seeing each week.
Q: Do you think the altitude in Denver will impact your rotations?
A: First of all, as I told my team, scientifically when you're out there for 24 hours it really is no factor. We want to continue to use our football team in that way. Guys that earn the right to play, that deserve to play continue to play because we want to be a deep team.
Q: According to Pro Football Focus, Harrison Smith is the top-ranked safety, how do you asses his season?
A: I thought he played very well last week. He's another guy that does a lot of things that don't really get recognized. He made some really good plays the other day, yesterday I guess it was. He's not getting the interceptions, but he hasn't had many opportunities. He's doing a good job in pressure, good job in run force and being in the right place, helping other guys get lined up.
Q: What did you see from Denver in watching its game last night?
A: You know, I was watching our game and then I had it on the TV in the background, so I really didn't see much of that.
Q: It looked like the whole team was involved in Chad Greenway's interception, can you think of another player that would have gotten a response like that?
A: I think our team, they care about each other, all of them. I would hope that everybody would be excited when we get a 91-yard interception return. But to your point, Chad [Greenway] is the consummate pro. I had a talk with somebody yesterday and I said, 'this guy can be a great mentor to you, because of the things, the way he goes about his job, his profession, his leadership, his off the field, everything.' We have a ton of respect for Chad and really what he's done here and I love him. I talk to him all of the time about stuff. For instance, during practice this week, there was a thing, kind of one of their plays that they ran, he was doing it one way and I kept telling him, 'work on this, work on this.' And they did the same play and he went in there and played it perfectly. He's always trying to learn. He's eager to be a great football player all of the time. Those are the kind of things that I really respect about him.
Q: Does Chad Greenway's ability to talk to Adrian Peterson benefit you and does Adrian Peterson seem to have been the player you had perceived him to be?
A: That's the fourth game I've gotten to see Adrian. It's really hard for me to judge, I think he looks good. I know he's been working extra hard, he's been doing extra things. I'm sure he's worked today and tomorrow. He looks good to me and I like what he brings to this football team, the mindset, the intensity, the viciousness that we have. I think it carries over throughout the team.
Q: In the Lions game when did Brandon Fusco get the concussion, where you aware of it and did the NFL appointed spotter make you aware of it?
A: No, I was not aware of it and the spotter did not let us know and I don't know when it was. I have a hard enough time not getting run over on the sideline while things are going on, but I didn't know about it, no.
Q: Is Coach Jerry Gray going to be on the injury report?
A: No, but I might.