*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *
Okay, we're getting back to work here. Philadelphia, they're a good football team, defensively they're very solid. They do a great job of getting up and pressing guys. They're very good in special teams. Offensively, they've been running the ball extremely well and the quarterback has been taking good care of it. They're plus six in turnovers, so this will be a good test for us on the road.
Q: Do you try to talk to Sam Bradford about going up against Carson Wentz?
A: No, but I did tell the team that this game is not about Bradford and Wentz. It's about the Eagles and the Vikings. So, it's a team game and that's how we try to play every week.
Q: Why do you think Sam Bradford has had so much success here early on?
A: I think there's a number of factors. I think we have really good coaches. Guys who have helped him Pat Shurmur, Norv Turner and Scott Turner. He's done a great job of preparing himself, learning the playbook and learning the players. So, there's a number of factors, but he's done really well.
Q: How has Pat Shurmur helped Sam Bradford transition?
A: I think some of it is the terminology part of it really. Pat was also instrumental in bringing him here knowing him and knowing what kind of person he was and what his qualities are. Also, they're able to talk and communicate. One good thing about Sam is that when we start talking about gameplan and stuff he'll say that I'm not comfortable with that play and we won't run it. So, I think the combination of the coaches and him worked and the things he's done helped.
Q: Have you talked with Sam about the Eagles' personnel or schemes?
A: Very little. I just asked about the receivers some and what they're like. But, no not really. It's very minimal stuff.
Q: Can you talk about your decision to stand by George Edwards after his incident in May?
A: Well, the first thing is that every situation is different. I don't really care about being consistent. I care about being right. When this happened with George, he was given a lot things to do including a huge monetary commitment that he had to make and he fulfilled all of his obligations. This last situation I told the players in the meeting the day they left to make sure they stay out of trouble, do the right things, and I told again off the field after they left. I had the coaches text them to make sure to remind them to stay out of trouble. When this happened on the very same day, he was told to call me twice and did not call me. Every situation is different. And I like Isame. If he fulfills his obligations, I'm not opposed to bringing him back as well.
Q: With the significant fine was it just a money thing?
A: No, he had other things to do as well.
Q: Is George Edward's future with the Vikings in trouble after this year?
A: If he messes up again, his future will be. But, right now he's fulfilled all of his commitments.
Q: Where would you Sam Bradford is with the playbook and do you think he's fully assimilated?
A: Yeah, I think so. You know each week we put in new plays, so he has to learn new plays each week. But, the basic parts of it, I'm sure will get better as time goes on. I think he's comfortable enough in everything that we do with the games going forward.
Q: Beyond the verbiage and the challenge there what's the biggest challenge that Sam's had to overcome?
A: There's so many things. Number one, learning the people in the locker room. He's never met me before and I don't know if he ever met Norv (Turner). There's so many things people don't think about besides the terminology. You know, understanding the receivers, he basically didn't know any players here, so it's like when you go to a new job the first day you don't know anybody, you've got to learn everything. The protections are different, the terminology is different, the combinations, the players are different. It's like I said when I first came here I didn't know where the bathroom was, so he didn't know anything. For him to be able to do the things he's done, I think he's done a great job.
Q: How would you describe Sam Bradford?
A: He's quiet. I wouldn't say he's a real vocal leader. I think he's impressed all of the players in our locker room by the things that he does and the way that he works. I think he's a tough guy and he's committed to being a good player. * *
Q: What all goes into his accuracy?
A: I think Norv mentioned this the other day about how well he sees things, so that's part of it. Getting the ball out to the right guys, being able to see the coverage and getting the ball to the right guys. You know, typically your percentages on the deeper throws aren't as good, but he's made some great throws on the deep throws to (Adam) Thielen and Charles Johnson. I think anytime you get some of those that's helped. I think he's felt comfortable with (Kyle) Rudolph and getting the ball to him in a lot of those situations. Kyle has been doing a good job of getting open and being able to run afterwards. I think it's a combination of all those things.
Q: Do you see a difference in Sam Bradford when looking at film as opposed to last year and do you think health was a part of it?
A: I think that was the being thing, but he's played really good in the preseason. He's played really good so far. The stretch he had at the end of last year is kind of what we (expected), but we obviously looked at earlier in his career. We didn't feel like in some of those earlier games that he wasn't quite 100 percent healthy, so I think that was a factor in it.
Q: Are starting the lead with Clemmings and Sirles at the tackle spots?
A: Nodded head yes.
Q: Have you had a second to reflect on your 5-0 start considering that you lost your starting quarterback and running back?
A: Honestly, we try not to look too much back or too much forward. We just go week-to-week. We've played pretty good team football. But, I'm sure we could've lost some games and we could've won some games. So, I'm not a real sentimental guy with that.
Q: What has Terence Newman done so well that makes him such a valuable player to your defense?
A: I mean he's played well. We're trying to take care of him a little bit because of his age obviously. I think it's good to have Trae (Waynes) and Xaiver (Rhodes), so we can move those guys around in there. But, he's very intelligent. He still understands things very well. Obviously, he knows the way I want the corners to play. He's done a great job of using both his body and mind.
Q: When he's in there do you help him a little bit?
A: I've helped everybody a little. It just depends on the game and situation, but I would say him no more than anybody else.* *
Q: What are your expectations for Jake Long and do you see him moving into a starting position?
A: I don't know. Like I said the other day, we've had two practices. Today will be the first day with pads, so I haven't seen him in pad yet. Expectations can change quickly in one way or the other. I'm trying to go by what I see and go from there.
Q: What are the biggest ways that George Edwards as a coach adds value to the defense?
A: Well everything really. He does a whole ton of things for me that I don't have to do. We talk about things all of the time as far as gameplans. He goes through a lot of the research tape that I really don't have time to do and we talk about of different things. But, George is a very smart guy. He's very diligent about his work. He cares about making sure his side of the ball performs very well. So, really about everything.
Q: Any update of the health of Stefon Diggs and will he be able to practice?
A: Yeah, there's a possibility.
*Vikings Quarterback Sam Bradford *
Q: Have you thought much about your return to Philadelphia?
A: Yeah, it's hard not to think about. Obviously, I've said it before but if you had asked me at the beginning of the year if I would have been here in Minnesota and we'd be going back to play the Eagles, I would've thought I'd be on the other side of it. Obviously I still keep in touch with a lot of those guys. With us going back there it's going to be a great chance to go see some of those guys, talk to them and just go back to Philly.
Q: Do you enjoy being the center of attention this week?
A: Honestly, I don't pay attention to it either way so it really doesn't affect me, to be honest.
Q: Are you going into the game looking to beat your old team?
A: My approach is just try to keep it as normal as possible this week. I think I owe it to all of the guys in our locker room to not try and do anything special. Not try to do anything extra. I think when you get caught up in everything that is going on outside the building. When you get caught up with things outside of football that's when things can go wrong. My approach is to just treat it like I would any other game.
Q: How much does your knowledge of the Eagles help?
A: Obviously it helps, just having some knowledge of their personnel, being able to go against them in training camp. But at the same time, it's training camp. I think they were still trying to figure out who they were as a defense. You see a bunch of different things, you don't see a game plan. So I'm sure they'll have some new wrinkles. I think just knowing how some of those guys play, it could be helpful.
Q: What kind of season did you think you were going to have in Philadelphia?
A: I was really excited about the year there. I felt like I had a really good spring. I thought I played well in the preseason. I felt like things were really coming together on offense for us. Like I said when I signed back there, even during training camp, I really developed some close bonds with some of those guys on that team. I looked forward to playing this year there and continuing the chemistry that we had built last year. I was really excited about the year in Philadelphia this year.
Q: Did you have a sense that Teddy Bridgewater's injury could lead to you being traded?
A: No. Obviously, when I found out Teddy got hurt I think I said some prayers for him, just because I've been in his shoes and I know how tough it is to work during the offseason to get prepared for the season and then to not have the opportunity to go out there and play with your guys. As far as thinking that I could end up here, I really didn't think about it. I didn't let it cross my mind.
Q: Was last year's success due to the chemistry that you developed or something that just clicked with your game?
A: I think a lot of it was just the chemistry last year developed with some of the guys getting comfortable in the system that we were running last year. I think a big part of it was just getting healthy. Obviously coming off of the two knee injuries, not really having an offseason to prepare. I think last year somewhere in the middle of the year is when my body finally felt great. I wasn't thinking about my knee when I was on the field. So I think that probably had a big part to do with it too.
Q: How long does that process take?
A: I think everyone is different. I think every case is different. I think some guys are able to get back in there and feel normal quicker than others. I think other guys it takes a little bit longer. I don't know if there's really a set time where you can say, 'It's been X amount of weeks, he should feel normal now.
Q: What was the emotional side of this journey like?
A: It's been a whirlwind of emotions. I've probably felt a little bit of everything. I think the good news about the trade was it happened so fast and we were already into the regular season that I didn't really have a lot of time to think about things. As soon as I got here, I was in the playbook. I was trying to get ready for Tennessee. Trying to familiarize myself with this offense. I was obviously very excited for the opportunity that I was given here in Minnesota. I'm still excited about it. It's a great group of guys to be around in this locker room. At the same time, I think there's part of you that when you're around a certain group of guys for a year, a year and a half, and you're with them every day and you spend time with them and develop relationships there. I think it's tough to kind of leave some of those guys as it happened just like that without really getting a chance to say goodbye or play with them. It's been a whirlwind and I'm just trying to enjoy it day-by-day.
Q: How do you feel about Philly, looking back on that experience and everything you went through?
A: It was a great experience. I know some people probably find that hard to believe, but I think I learned a lot about myself as a person, as a player. Like I said, there were some guys in that locker room that I grew really close to. It was a fun group of guys to be around. I enjoyed it. It was something different. I never thought that I would live on the East Coast. So, I'm grateful for the time I spent in Philadelphia and the things I learned while I was there.
Q: How do you look back at the contract extension and the Eagles drafting Carson Wentz?
A: I think the biggest thing is I try not to look back at it. I had moved past it when I was there. I'm never one to really hang in the past. I'm concentrated on the future and what the next day holds. So, I really haven't spent a lot of time thinking about what had happened there.
Q: Regarding Carson, what was he like when he first came in?
A: He was great. He was a real pro, just the way he handled himself in the film room, on the practice field. I could tell early on that he wanted to be great, that he was committed to coming in every day and working really hard. I think the progress that he made from OTAs to training camp, it was phenomenal. You just watched him play, and I'm not surprised at all by the way that he has played this year, just because you could see it on the practice field. It seemed like he was always getting better each day he went out there. He was getting better, and I thought he was playing really well in training camp.
Q: What were his study habits like? Were they typical for a rookie, or what did you see?
A: I think he probably went above and beyond what the normal standards would be, just because like I said, you could tell early on that he wants to be great. He works at it. He cares about it. He put in a lot of extra time, and I think it showed up on the field for him.
Q: Were you confused by the way the Eagles handled your situation, from being the guy to not being the guy so quickly?
A: Like I said, I've kind of moved past that, and I realize that I can only control the things that are in my power to control. I couldn't control that, so once I realized that, there was really no reason spending any time thinking about it.
Q: What goes into your process of treating this like a regular game?
A: You just treat it like a regular game.
Q: As a team, how do you maintain the momentum you carried into the bye week?
A: I think that we realized, obviously, it's nice to start the way we have, but our goals are not to start 5-0. Our goals are much greater than that, and coming in every day, realizing that we have to get better, if we want to continue to win football games. We have to improve in the areas where we may have struggled in the past and just staying hungry.
Q: What have you seen from Jake Long?
A: It's good to have Jake back. Obviously, we were together in St. Louis. It's always good to have a familiar face in the huddle with you. Obviously, he has only been here a couple days, but I think he has looked really good so far. And I'm sure the more we're out there this week, we'll see a little more from him.
Q: How would you describe your defense, and if you had to play against them, how would you attack them?
A: Well, fortunately for me, I don't have to play against those guys, because they're playing great right now. I think they're probably playing some of the best defense in the NFL right now. It's a lot of fun to watch them on Sundays when they go out there and take the field, because they play hard, they play physical. Obviously, they're just playing really well right now, and it's good to know we have those guys on our side.
Q: What'd you think of that FOX graphic where they put your head on Teddy Bridgewater's body?
A: I really didn't know about it until, I think, Monday. Someone showed me in the locker room, but it can't be that hard to find a picture of me. So, I'm really not sure what to say about that.
Q: Who was more offended, you or Teddy?
A: Being around Teddy, I don't think we get offended easily. So, it wasn't that big of a deal.
Q: What did you do during your bye week?
A: Just went home. My wife's from Arkansas. We went there for a few days, and then we went back to Oklahoma City and just got around friends, family, just kind of got away for a little bit.