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Transcript: Zimmer and Bradford Addressed the Media Wednesday

*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *

Q: What led to sticking with Blair Walsh?

A: We'll always evaluate it. There's a lot of factors, you decide a lot of things. Blair, we went back and looked at Mason Crosby, who I think is a really good kicker in this league, he had one year where he struggled and fought through it. I look at a lot of different things. The game-winner he had against Chicago last year, the game-winner he had at St. Louis, field goals that he has made. I still believe in him.

Q: Do you think it was psychological, having him think that security isn't guaranteed?

A: I don't necessarily think it was psychological. We just have to cover all of our bases. 

Q: How did the kickers that you had work out look?

A: I don't know, I didn't watch. I was busy doing something else.

Q: Did salary cap play a factor at all?

A: No.  

Q: Have you diagnosed the issue with third downs defensively in the last few games?

A: No, not really. Sometimes games go like that. Sometimes you get on rolls and sometimes they do. 

Q: Can the result of an election have an effect on a team?

A: I have no idea. I'm the least political guy you'll know. I don't know, I have no idea. I haven't talked to any of the players about politics or anything else. 

Q: What's your evaluation of the defense's performance last week?

A: We did some good things. They made some plays on that last drive. Like I said, we missed some tackles and had some penalties. We're alright. 

Q: Does the defense ever worry that they're not getting enough help?

A: I think it's human nature when you're playing really good and the other side is maybe not playing quite up to par. I've talked to them recently about, part of the problem is when you start pressing and trying to do more than you should be trying to do. That's when you end up hurting yourself. We just have to have belief and faith that we do our job, everybody else will do their job. I don't think it felt like that against Detroit. It might have in those other two ball games a little bit but I don't think so, really.

Q: How has Anthony Barr been performing?

A: Good. Like I said the other day, he's being accounted for on a lot of things. He maybe hasn't made the splash plays that he made a year ago, but he's playing really well. He's doing everything we ask him to do. Just like everything, when an opportunity presents itself, he'll make a play. Anthony Barr is a good player. We'll continue to try to use him as best we can. 

Q: What challenges does Jordan Reed present?

A: Well he's a really good player. He's big and fast, catches the ball well. He's like a wide receiver, runs good routes. With him and [Vernon] Davis they've got two really good tight ends. He's a matchup problem for some linebackers and safeties as well, even corners sometimes. They use him in a lot of different ways.

Q: Is Eric Kendricks good to go?

A: We're not talking about injuries.

Q: What do you know about Washington's new tackle Ty Nsekhe?

A: We went back and got some tape on him. He played a little bit in a couple games. Big guy, moves good. Everybody in this league is good. 

Q: Blair aside, how do you feel about your special teams?

A: Well, the punting game has been pretty good. I think we had a couple good returns in the last ball game too. So I think we're still good in those areas. We haven't broke any recently but I think we're still good in those areas. 

Q: How is your eye doing?

A: Well I had to have another thing done. But yeah, it's okay.   

Q: Was that yesterday?

A: That's why I was busy.

Q: How is your vision?

A: Good.

Q: Did you have some good matchups with Coach Gruden in Cincinnati?

A: Yeah, we never … I guess we were always trying to beat each other, but when you're on the same team, you're just trying go against [each other]. It was always good chess matches. It wasn't really – when you're on the same team, it's not a big deal if they get a play or you get a play. So, Jay's a good coach. I enjoyed the time with him there, a chance to get to know him and know his family and things like that.

Q: Is it tough to look at the roster and have to waive a guy like MyCole Pruitt yesterday?

A: Yeah, sometimes, but sometimes you've got to do those things to make sure that you … It's a numbers game.

Q: Did you have to make any adjustments to your schedule because of your eye?

A: No. (Reporter: *You don't seem like the type of guy who would relax and take a couple hours off.) *No. it's back to work, back to the grind.

Q: What have you seen from Mackensie Alexander? How has he come along?

A: In this last ball game, he didn't play that great, but I think the guy is going to be a good player. He has some of these things that young guys do, probably thinks he know a little bit more than he knows, a little handsy, as a lot of these college guys are, but he's a good competitor. He's very good in and out of his breaks. He has got some toughness. I think he's going to be a really, really good player.

Q: When you look at your running backs, do any of them seem like a 20-carry guy, or will it be by committee for a while?

A: I think probably that way, yeah.* *

Q: Anybody who could fill that role? Who's the best person to give you that production?

A: Probably [Jerick] McKinnon, but I think we'll probably be a committee for a while, until we get … Jerick was probably a tad gimpy last week, but there are other ways. I don't remember who asked me the question last week about, 'Can you sustain throwing the ball short?' or whatever. Well, if you look at Washington's stats, they're pretty good offensively, right? They're fourth in the league, averaging over 400 yards a game, and his [Kirk Cousins] completion percentage from zero to 10 yard is like 83 percent, and from 10 to 20, it's 49 percent. And from 21-plus, it's 44 percent, or something like that. So, there's a lot of different ways to do things, and getting McKinnon the ball some doesn't necessarily have to be handing it to him, as well, and the same with the other guys.

Q: What you said about Mackensie seems like what you said about Trae Waynes last season. Is there a parallel there?

A: Yeah, I don't think they're the same kind of guys, necessarily, in their coverage aspects, but I do think it's the transition to the NFL for corners, it's hard job, just like some other positions. But you get to do a lot things in college that you can't do in this league. So, sometimes you just have to keep understanding, and Xavier [Rhodes] had kind of had that issue, as well, when he came out. So, it's not unusual.

Q: You have to make a lot of decisions every day. How do you guard against not making an emotional decision?

A: Well, it's a good question, because I'm kind of an emotional person, and I try to believe in people. I try to see what they're like and who they are and what kind of competitors they are and things like that. So, I've always said this, and I still believe it, that if the guys are going to bust their rear end for me, I'm going to bust my rear end for them, and I'm going to back them all the way the best I can. Unfortunately, sometimes, you can't do that, but in the long term, I think it's the best way to go, because there are lot of things you have to do with your heart when you make decisions, as well.

Q: Is this a time when these guys need a pat on the back as much as a kick in the rear?

A: I think every week is different as you go forward, and you try to get the mood of the team and how things are going and try to figure out what buttons to push and things like that. We didn't win the game the other day, but I was proud of the team, the way they fought, the way they competed and the way they played. I just felt like during the game, they looked like my football team has looked. Now, we didn't win the game, and we messed up some things. But if we'll continue to look like the football team that we've kind of developed, we're going to win games. So, I'm not the most readily acceptable to losing, but there are so many things about the process of trying to get wins and the process of how you're doing things, and I just felt like with all the stuff that went on the last couple weeks, for them to go out and act like my football team again, finally, I felt it was a good thing. I told them if I can get six needles stuck in my eye in the last two weeks, then they can suck it up for me.

*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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