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Transcript: Zimmer Addresses the Media on Wednesday

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

This will be a great test for us this week. San Diego is an extremely talented offensive football team. They do a lot of thing defensively to create problems for you. We're going to need our fans this week especially with the no-huddle offense that they run, the muddle huddle and the communication, I think they can really help us being loud this Sunday. Questions?

Q: Do you think it was loud this last Sunday?

A: I think we want it louder this week.

Q: What's the biggest challenge of facing the muddle huddle for a defense?

A: Communication, tempo because they change the tempo in it kind of like we do. We get on the ball and go fast sometimes. Sometimes they take the whole 25 seconds, so it's the rhythm of the game really.

Q: Do you have to pick and choose when to substitute?

A: A little bit, yeah, when the ball goes out of bounds and different things. The more third downs you can stop, the better that is too.

Q: Does it help that they played your former team, the Cincinnati Bengals last week?

A: The good part is that I know what Cincinnati is doing defensively. The bad part is they get to practice against it two weeks in a row. I guess there's a little give and take on both sides there. It doesn't hurt.

Q: Do you get irritated or does it concern you when people accuse your team of being chippy or dirty?

A: That doesn't bother me. I know what kind of team we are, we're not dirty. I probably owe Anthony Barr an apology because I talked to the officials last night. These quarterbacks now, they're starting to slow down as they go out of bounds and kind of egging these things on, and so that was one of the things we talked about. He said yeah, it probably should not have been called.

Q: You talked to the league office about that?

A: I had to call them about something else and we just started talking about [it] because I saw in a couple other games where these guys are going out and they step out late. He was running parallel and kind of slowed down. What he told me was they do not get protection if they slow down. They need to try to get out of bounds.

Q: So what do you tell Teddy Bridgewater when he runs? Do you prefer him running head first or sliding or just getting out of bounds?

A: Depends on situation. If he's got to get the first down, he's got to get the first down. And then there's other situations where he's got to protect himself and if he's going out of bounds, get out of bounds. That's the thing and I talked to him, not specifically about this, but I was talking to him about other situations that occur. We try to coach within the rules, we try to do things the right way, we want to be a football team that's known to teach proper technique. We're not trying to teach the rules. I don't want our football team to be put at a disadvantage because other people are trying to teach the rules. I want our guys to know the rules, play by the rules and play fair.

Q: What did Adrian Peterson's day do for the offense in terms of teams having to prepare for him now?

A: I think they really have a focus now on where they want to try to defend, how they want to defend us. Obviously with the way he ran the ball last week, I'm sure that will be a main focus and now they'll probably have to pick their spots on when they're getting extra guys in the box, when they're going to blitz different things. We'll just have to see as it keeps going, but that's what I would assume.

Q: How have you stayed demanding this week? Is it more in the meeting room or on the field?

A: I think it's all the same, making sure we're on point, making sure that we understand it's one game. We haven't done anything. We cannot think that "Whoa, everything is great now that we've won one game." We have to have the same intensity and part of it is me talking to the team, talking about the things that I expect, the way we go about our business and the way we prepare for the ballgame, whether it's on game day or on Saturday or Wednesday. 

Q: Did you learn anything in terms of their response last week?

A: Last week they seemed to have a little bit of an attitude. We've got to have that attitude every week if we're going to do what we're going to do. Hopefully they'll continue to get the message. Some of it's making sure we as coaches are precise at what we're telling them, making sure they're doing things right, making sure that they understand the game plan and we can't allow mistakes.

Q: How does the defensive line get good at batting down passes?

A: We work on it every week. It's a lot of timing, it's recognizing the block that you get in front of you a lot of times and being able to get your hands up. Sometimes it's because of where the quarterback is, under the center, in the gun, is it a quick-throw team, different things like that. But we work on it every week as far as with the defensive line.

Q: Do you feel you have a good group on the defensive line in terms of that skillset?

A: I think we have good athletes there. I know we had two last week basically. Any time you can disrupt the football, that's a good thing. We're going to keep working on it, yes.

Q: Where do you think Xavier Rhodes is at in his development coverage-wise?

A: He still has things to clean up, but he's getting better all the time. He's still got things to clean up. I think a lot of times with Xavier, he had a very good week of practice last week and I think part of that carries over in the games, it's just the concentration during the week, the focus during the week. If you just said, "hey, go cover this guy", he's usually pretty good at those things, but the understanding of what the offense is trying to do based off of formation and things like that I think that's where his development will continue to grow.

Q: What did you think of Captain Munnerlyn's performance on Sunday? It seemed that he played with leverage really well.

A: Yeah, he did that last week well. He was more disciplined in the things we were asking him to do, being in the right position and that's important. That position is a hard position because a lot of things happen in there. You've got to be involved in the running game, you've got be involved in covering guys one on one, you've got to be involved in zones. There's a lot of things that go on with calls that you make and alignments and formation tendencies and things like that and blitzes as well.

Q: Do you think the change in the extra point rule has made it psychologically harder on kickers or coaches more?

A: I guess probably both a little bit. I think the conversion rate is like 94% now on the extra point, the two-points 53%, so it's still a little bit iffy on that. I think you might have a little bit more tendency to try to even it up later in the ballgames. I think the kickers will get adjusted to it as we continue to go throughout the season. I think they'll continue to get better at it. Mentally the extra point they used to think was automatic, where now they have to put a little bit more concentration into it I would guess.

Q: Do you put Blair Walsh's struggles on him is there something wrong with the snap or hold?

A: No, I think the holds have been good, I think the snaps have been good. He's just got to continue to do it in the games. He's been good in practice.

Q: Is there anything about his technique that he changes in the game?

A: No, I don't think so. Sometimes they get a little sped up, that might be a little bit of it. But it's just the rhythmic thing of it, it's like the golfers. 

Q: When you emphasize ball security this week, do you encourage your defenders to poke the ball out more than you normally would in practice?

A: Yeah, we're going to make sure we do that.

Q: When you look at San Diego, do you see them as a more balanced offense compared to the other teams you have played so far?

A: I do and they make it difficult because they can run a lot of different runs out of their no-huddle, gun formation, which a lot of teams, they're more basic in their gun runs. This team runs quite a bit and the backs they have –all three of them really – are really explosive and I do think that Philip does a good job of checking in and out of plays, getting into the right things. Sometimes he'll take three cadences, change it the last second and so, he gets them in a lot of good plays.

Q: It seems like when he's got them going, they play a lot faster?

A: Sometimes. Sometimes he wants to see everything, sometimes he'll snap it very late, sometimes he'll get up there and go. The tempo of it changes and it's hard for everybody to get rhythm of the game including the play-caller, getting the communication done sometimes fast, sometimes it's not as fast, and so I think kind of like how we do sometimes, we get on the ball and go. I think that is a little unnerving at times for defenses.

Q: Last time San Diego visited Minnesota, Adrian Peterson had a game for the ages. Is there any value to looking at that game tape?

A: Probably not. I've dusted off some tapes, but it wasn't that one.

Q: Norv Turner has a lot of experience with Philip Rivers. Does he every help out with that in the defensive meeting rooms?

A: I go to him sometimes. He doesn't really come to me.

Q: What aspect of Philip Rivers' game do you want Teddy Bridgewater to emulate?

A: I want Teddy to be himself. There's a lot of things I respect about Philip Rivers, but I want Teddy to be Teddy. I don't want him to try and be Tom Brady or Peyton Manning or Philip Rivers. I want him to be him and really what Norv [Turner] is coaching him to do and Scott [Turner]. I think that's important for us and for our whole football team is be us.

Q: What was the biggest difference for Teddy Bridgewater last year in his first five or six starts versus his strong finish to the season?

A: I think his comfort level and really the understanding of the game. I think he continues to understand better about defenses. I think obviously the comfort level of our offense and the things that we're trying to do, you can see the maturation just continue to keep going forward. We're hopeful that's the way it continues and just each week just keeps getting better.

Q: Are there a lot of deep ball opportunities for Teddy Bridgewater that he might be missing because he is looking somewhere else?

A: There's always some. I don't think he looks at the rush much, I think he feels the rush. I think there is always some opportunities, but you can go through every quarterback tape in the league and you'll see those. Some of them get hit and some of them don't. But the good thing is we're not throwing interceptions. We're getting completions. I keep talking about runs and completions and we had, I don't know, how many runs last week? Adrian had what, 29? And we had 14 completions, that's 43. You get up there around 40 with those runs and completions, it's usually a good day.

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