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Transcript: Zimmer and Bradford Addressed the Media Wednesday

*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *

OK, first of all, I'd like to apologize for not being here yesterday. I had some trouble with my vision for a couple days, and during the game, I scratched on my eye. So, the doctors, after the game, they checked and had me get in for an appointment, and I found out that I had a torn retina. Dr. Scott Sanderson and Dr. David Williams performed a procedure on my eye, fortunately. They said if you don't take care of those things that you have a possibility of going blind. So, that's why I wasn't here. Secondly, as you know, Norv Turner resigned today. Norv is a very, very good friend of mine. He has helped me tremendously in the three years that I've been here. He has had an unbelievable career. He has been, really, my right hand man, really, since I've been here, and he decided it was in the best interest of him to do this, and I accept the reasons; and they are personal. I probably won't get into the reasons why he did, but I'll be glad to answer any questions.

Q: How shocked were you when Norv told you he was going to resign?

A: I was very, very surprised.

Q: Is this a personal decision? Is Norv OK? Is this something football related?

A: I believe he's OK. I don't know. You'd have to ask him. He didn't tell he's ill.

Q: There was no thought of making any kind of change at that position? It was all his decision?

A: Yes. There was no thought of that.

Q: Who will be the new offensive coordinator, and how do you guys shake it up?

A: Pat Shurmur is going to take over there, and he's going to call the plays. I think that whole group has had a lot of good conversation, a lot of good work together. So, we're going to continue to move forward and try to get better.

Q: How difficult is it do it in the middle of a season and now during a short week with Detroit to make the change?

A: Well, I didn't make a change. *(Reporter: A change made.) *Well, yeah, we've all got to [work together]. Things happen. We've all go to work together and continue to move forward.

Q: It has been reported that there was a difference of opinion regarding where the offense was going. Are those reports accurate?

A: No. I would not describe that [as accurate]. I would say that since Norv has been here, I've given him almost 100 percent, total free will in everything that they've done offensively. Obviously, I'll come in and make suggestions, but there really has never been a time I have demanded anything from there.

Q: Can you just take us through the timeline? You got back late Monday night, you had surgery yesterday morning. So, when did you talk to Norv? How much time did you have?

A: I was here all day yesterday after the surgery, but – I actually stayed here last night – but Norv came in this morning about 6:30, I guess. He came in my office.* *

Q: Why did he indicate that was in the best interest of the team for him to resign?

A: I don't know. You'll have to ask him. We sat and we had a long conversation. I wasn't going to make a change and had no indication that this was going on.

Q: Did the performance the last two week offensively have any impact at all on this?

A: It didn't for me, but I don't know. You'd have to ask Norv that, I guess. We're all trying to work together to get better, and obviously, we haven't performed well the last two weeks.

Q: Did he indicate that this came up pretty quickly, or had been thinking about it?

A: I don't know. I didn't really say that, no.                                                                                  

Q: Did you try to convince him to stay on?

A: We talked for a long time about a lot of things, and I told him my feelings for him and how much that I respect him and things that he has done and he has continued to do and how hard he's trying to get it going. He was pretty set in his ideas and his reasons, and I hope that we always continue to be friends.

Q: What is your assessment of how things are going offensively with Pat Shurmur and Tony Sparano on staff with Norv this year?

A: I think good. I think everybody had good input and dialogue.

Q: Do you think you'll trust Shurmur the same way you did Norv in terms of running the offense, or will you step in a little bit more?

A: I always had really good dialogue with Norv. So, I think I'll continue to have good dialogue with those guys. We'll just have to see how things go.

Q: Does this seem like a retirement to you?

A: He never said retirement to me. He said resign.

Q: You had said in an interview last week that you might take more of a role in the offense. Is that you're thinking in Norv had stayed, and maybe in hindsight, do you wish you had taken more of a role in the offense over the last few years?

A: No, I feel like that I've had to do has been in the best interest of this team and for us moving forward, and secondly, I can't go back and say, 'I wish I would have done this, or I wish I would have done that.' I just go and do what I think is best at the time.

Q: What do you think a fresh perspective could do right now for the scheme, the personnel and confidence with the offensive unit?

A: I don't know. I think we'll have to see on that. It's really hard to say. I know that the players really respect Norv. I know the coaches do. I know I certainly do. So, we'll just have to see how it goes. I do think that it's hard to do a lot of things different during the season, but we're all working collectively to try to get our players better. We're trying to get the scheme better, try to be more efficient offensively.

Q: Did you mean that Norv stepping down was in the best interest for him or the team?

A: He kind of told me both. He said it was in the best interest for him and in the best interest of the team.    

Q: Will the rest of the coaching staff be staying intact?

A: Yes.

Q: Will you try to find a replacement for that position?

A: No.

Q: Was there any disagreements with the offensive philosophy?

A: No. 

Q: After losing two games and having this change, do you feel that things need to be stabilized a bit to keep the guys going?

A: I do think that we hit a rough spot in the season and we need to get back on track. So, unfortunately this is just some of things that go on over the course of a season. Obviously, the season is a long time and not everything is going to go smooth, as I've found out over the three years. So, we'll just keep trying to do the things we have to do to continue to get better.

Q: What does you procedure have to do with you in terms of film review and what's your vision going to be like going forward?

A: No, I've been watching film with one eye all week or whatever it is. I've had to wear reading glasses too, so I can write down because the one eye I can't see out of when I write. Fortunately, it's probably a good thing I scratched my eye during the game otherwise I may not have caught it in time. But, hopefully everything will alright.

Q: What's your assessment on Jake Long?

A: I thought he did some good things. He obviously had a holding penalty and got beat on one. But, for the most part I thought he held his own. He still has a lot more things to do and get better (at). You know that's what we're trying to work on.       

Q: How much thought did you give to Scott Turner, Tony Sparano, or anybody else before deciding on Pat Shurmur?

A: I just felt it was best thing to do. To me, it's more about the collaboration of everybody. Tony (Sparano) is very involved in the running game and Scott (Turner) is really involved with the quarterback. I know that Pat (Shurmur) had a pretty good relationship with Sam, so I thought that would be easiest, smoothest way to go.

Q: Has Norv Turner been calling 100% of the plays?

A: Yeah. He got input from other people, but yeah.   

Q: What is your assessment of Norv's three years here when you consider all of the injuries the offense has dealt with?

A: First of all, I think Norv is a great coach, great teacher, great person. I think the thing that he's helped us with, one of the things including winning a division championship in the second year, more so than stats was understanding how we had to play as a team with the people that we had at the time. With the young quarterback, without a running back, the way things were going with injuries. Part of it isn't just about statistics, it's about doing what is the best thing for the team.    

Q: What did you tell the team?

A: I haven't talked to them yet.

Q: What did you think of Norv before you hired him?

A: I knew him a little bit personally. Obviously, I've played against him and I knew a lot of people that were with him. Norv always made it difficult when you were playing against him, even more so. Getting to know him as a person in these last three years has been….

Q: Is there any chance Jeremiah Sirles takes over for T.J. Clemmings at right tackle?

A: We'll just have to see as the week goes.

*Vikings Quarterback Sam Bradford *

Q: What was your reaction to Norv resigning?

A: Surprised. I obviously didn't see this coming. I was in here yesterday talking to him and didn't really think anything was different. Just very surprised when I found out this morning.  

Q: What are your thoughts on Pat Shurmur taking over?

A: Obviously I've worked with Pat in several places. What we did in St. Louis was a little different than what we did in Philly. But I've always enjoyed working with Pat, I think he's a great football mind. Really just looking forward to sitting down and talking to him and trying to figure out the direction in which we're going to go.

Q: What do you think the direction of the offense will be?

A: It's one of those things where I'd have to sit down with Pat and talk to him. Halfway through the season, I'm not really sure if you can completely change an offense and the terminology for everyone. I think we'll find out more today when we go to meetings and see the game plan for Detroit. I think that no matter what the scheme is, we have to go out there and we have to execute. We have to be better than what we have the last couple weeks.* *

Q: Do you have any suggestion for the offense?

A: I think the biggest thing, like I just said, I don't think it's the schemes right now. It's execution.

Q: How did you find out?

A: My wife actually called me. She had I guess got an alert on her phone from one of the media outlets. I was pulling into work and found out.* *

Q: Have you talked to Norv?

A: I haven't. I haven't really been around my phone this morning. But I plan to call him tonight and talk to him afterwards.

Q: Do you think with Pat the offense has been similar to the ones you ran in St. Louis and Philadelphia?

A: I think some of the tempo stuff where we get on the ball and try to go fast and pick up the pace … obviously that was some carryover from what we did last year in Philadelphia. And then some of the pass concepts from St. Louis kind of carried over. I think there was a fair amount of carryover from what I've done with Shurm in the past."* *

Q: Do players feel some responsibility for Norv stepping down?

A: Yeah.  

Q: Does where you are now surprise you after a 5-0 start?

A: Things can change in a minute in this league. It's a week-to-week business, it's a week-to-week league. We know that we have to go out there and prove ourselves. You can't take anything for granted. I think this week we have to get back to what we were doing well earlier in the year and get back on track.* *

Q: How do you think this will impact the team?

A: Hopefully it'll be a positive. Hopefully it'll be something that the guys will rally around. Obviously, I love Pat. I'm going to support him. I'm going to give him everything that I have. Hopefully the guys will feel the same way. But like I said, I really haven't talked to many of the guys yet, we're just getting in. I think today is going to be an important day for us.   

Q: Will the fact that you've been through a handful of offensive coordinators in your career help the transition?

A: Well I've gone through the process before. So I kind of understand what it will be like. I'm not sure if I've ever done it midway through a year. Like I said, I think I really need to sit down and talk with Pat to figure out exactly what the direction of this offense is going to be. How much change there will be and what that change entails.

Q: Where does this year rank in terms of most bizarre year you've had in your career?

A: Probably the most bizarre.   

Q: What did Norv do when you arrived to help you get comfortable in the system?

A: Norv was awesome with me, just helping me out trying to understand schematically what we were doing in the pass game. Where he thought the ball should go versus certain coverages. I really enjoyed working with Norv. Obviously, he's seen a lot of football. He's been around a long time. I think we all probably learned a lot from Norv. It was great every day just watching practice tape with him. Getting to hear his thoughts about what went on at practice. I'm very grateful for the seven weeks that I got to be with Norv. 

Q: Was Norv calling 100 percent of the plays?

A: Yes.  

Q: What is something that illustrates how close you are to Pat Shurmur?

A: It's a great relationship. I don't know what you want me to say about it.  

Q: Do you have the same football philosophy, are you always on the same page?

A: With Pat being the one who kind of brought me up in this league and coached me as a rookie, I think I learned a lot about the game from Pat. Obviously, I think he had a vision early on in my career. Obviously, to reunite with him last year. I've always enjoyed working with Pat. I look forward to this opportunity as well.  

Q: What is your level of concern with the amount of hits you've taken the last few weeks?

A: It's something that I would like to see go down. I don't think it's a positive thing. I don't think it's a good thing. I think we've got to figure out a way to bring that number down.

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