Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Q: When will you know the offense is clicking and you'll have confidence that they will score enough points in the regular season?
A: Well, we'll we have to prove it obviously but I like where they're headed. I like where they're headed. The other day at practice the offensive line came off the ball low, physical. I thought they did a good job. It's seeing the things in practice. We had a red zone period the other day and they scored a bunch of times in the red zone on different plays. So, we do it on the field, it's just from what I see in practice.
Q: Does it make you sleep better if they score on Sunday three times?
A: Yeah. I don't know if I'll sleep better but it'll make me feel better.
Q: Sam was talking about Thielen getting more work in the slot this year. What is it about Adam Thielen's skill set?
A: I've talked to Sam about all of those things. I think he feels really comfortable about trusting where he's going to be in a lot of the option routes, a lot of the different combinations that they have between the slot and the tight end or the slot and the x-receiver. I think Adam has a good feel in there and Sam trusts him.
Q: How do you feel with Mackensie Alexander in the slot?
Q: With the plays with Doug Baldwin where he fell down there wasn't any concern?
Q: You mentioned in Mankato how important preseason games would be for Jayron Kearse, what have you seen from him?
A: I've had some conversations with Jayron a little bit. When he's playing close to the line of scrimmage he's been forceful, he's been making quick decisions when he's in the middle of the field or in the backfield, a little bit slow to pull the trigger sometimes. That's what he's working on.
Q: Just thinking less?
A: I don't think it's just thinking. I think it's maybe he's being a little more cautious when he's playing in the back. I guess that's what it is. So, that's what he's been working on now.
Q: With Elflein coming in and doing as well as he has done. What does that say about him as a player?
A: Pat is a very good athlere. He's physical at the line of scrimmage, for the most part he makes all the right calls with the line. I guess the thing I like the most about him is he's able to finish the blocks. Once he gets on a guy he can move him with his low center of gravity and wide base. I think he does a good job there.
Q: A lot of people put a lot of weight on the third preseason game. Your guys are talking about how they are approaching the third preseason game the same way. Is that something you're preaching?
A: No, that's what we do. I've never really felt the need to game a third game. We'll just go out there and do what we do. I think it's good to see how the team reacts to scenarios they're not prepared for. It's kind of how we've done it since I've been here. We still have work to do on us. So, for us to take a week and prepare for San Francisco like we would be in a regular season game I think is counterproductive to what we want to get done.
Q: Do you consider the secondary a team strength?
A: It's a little bit the same thing with the defense. I was talking to Mark Wilf today and these guys have been around the system now. So, the install, they've seen it four times, most of them. To get them excited about something new, we have to keep being innovative as coaches. I think the whole thing is just getting back down. Again, last week, we're still looking at things where we can become better defensively. Some of the things that happened in the game or in the first game, we're making things and if we don't like it, we'll throw them out. I'm not concerned about any of that stuff. I just want to make sure our guys understand the importance that the way we've played around here on defense is with a chip on our shoulder and we need to continue to do that, that will make us a good defensive football team.
Q: How do you assess the run defense so far?
A: It's been spotty, but again, a lot of those things we're working on. Some of the new things we're trying to be innovative with. Im really not concerned about it.
Q: How do you walk that fine line of sticking with what works and trying to be innovative?
A: Well, we do things that work too. But, we're looking at other scenarios. How can we change things up a little bit here and there, not all the time but enough to keep the offense off balance. We can do it in practice and things happen but when you do it in a game and not really know what's going on. We called some thigs last week that we probably wouldn't have called if it was a normal game if we didn't feel comfortable with it. I'm one of those guys, we're going to do what we do. As long as we do it good, we'll be okay. Now we're looking at some different things.
Q: Are you going to have some tough roster decisions with your defensive line depth?
A: I think so, there's several spots I think where we're going to have some tough issues. That's why it's good to have the fourth preseason get a chanve to see them in that game as well. This week will be a big week for a lot of these guys. Some of these young defensive lineman have looked good. Jaleel Johnson has had a couple good ballgames, Ifeadi [Odenigbo] has done a nice job in some areas, [Tashawn] Bowers, [Stephen] Weatherly. So they're showing some things that could be valuable for us down the road.
Q: Is Brian Robison a veteran that doesn't need much preseason work?
Vikings Quarterback Sam Bradford
Q: How did you feel about the Seattle game, and how do you feel going forward this week?
A: I thought we did some good things in Seattle. I thought those guys up front played really well, both in the pass game and in the run game. I thought they played really solid, so I think that was encouraging. I think we did some good things, and we're just trying to build on that moving forward.
Q: You always hear about the third preseason game being a pivotal game due to the starters seeing more playing time. Do you look at it that way?
A: Obviously traditionally it's the game where you get the most work, and usually whether or not you play in the fourth preseason game or not, typically you don't play a ton. So yeah, this is usually the last chance to go out there and get a lot accomplished. I think it is important for us to go out there and play well so that we can have something to build off of going forward into Week One.
Q: When you say you hope to accomplish some things, is there anything specific you hope to get done in the third game?
A: Yeah, just to go out there and really execute. I think just be sharp, I don't think there's anything else that you can really say. If we get a chance to run a two-minute drill or run some no-huddle, I think that it would be nice to kind of rep that and work through some of that stuff. But other than that, I think it's just go out there and execute what we have in, execute what's called and look crisp.
Q: What is it about Dalvin Cook that's allowed him to step in so quickly and even stand out in last week's game?
A: He's just really sharp. Mentally, for him to be able to come in and grasp everything that we've asked him to do and asked him to learn, I think that's been one of the more impressive things about him. It's not easy to come in and learn an offense and to be able to go out there and do your job on every play. When you're young, you're thinking a lot, there's a lot going on, sometimes the speed gets to you. But for him, it's been really seamless. We put a play in, we put a protection in, we put a scheme in, and it's like he's got it. So I think just his ability to really grasp everything, not just in the run game, but he's really good in protection, which I think is key for him to be able to be out there first, second, and third down. Just all of that I think has been what's allowed him to step out there and be successful.
Q: Is it unusual for a rookie to pick the offense up that quickly?
A: I would say that it's probably more uncommon than it is common. For him to be able to come in, like I said, and just grasp the entire playbook, the entire offense, it's not like we've limited him in any ways and created certain packages for him. We've pretty much thrown everything at him, and he's shown that he's able to handle that, which I think is what's very impressive.
Q: With the one year mark of Teddy Bridgewater's injury and the following trade to bring you to Minnesota coming up, do you remember what your initial thoughts were upon hearing about Teddy's injury?
A: Obviously I was in Philadelphia when it happened. I think the first thing was that I felt for him. Having gone through two ACL injuries, one of them happening in the preseason, I know how frustrating it is to not even be able to make it to the regular season, and really how painful it is to have everything that you've worked for taken away from you. I think I called Pat [Shurmur] that night just to check on him and see how he was doing, because as a quarterback you just hate to see it happen to someone else.
Q: Having hurt your ACL as well, did you know right away that it would be a season ending injury? What is that like?
A: The first one I knew I was in a lot of pain. I didn't really know what it was until they told me, and then obviously when you hear the news you kind of know what it is.
Q: What has it been like to get to know Teddy?
A: It's been great. It's been fun, I think this year especially during training camp, just having him around in meetings and being able to learn from him, to hear his opinion on things that we're doing in the offense, things that maybe he's done in the past, things that he liked. To hear some of his ideas and to be able to talk to him about his experiences, what he likes for certain coverages, it's been really enjoyable just to have him in and involved.
Q: Throughout your career, have you noticed much of a carry over between how the offense performs in the preseason to how it starts the regular season?
A: Not really. I've been on some teams that went undefeated and looked really great in the preseason, and then the regular season came and it looked like a completely different team. With that being said I think that every time you step on the field you want to go out there and you want to be sharp, you want to play well, because I think when you do play well it just gives everyone in the room confidence. It gives us something to build on. If there's any momentum before the season starts, going out there and playing well and executing, I think it just makes everyone feel a little bit better about what we're doing as an offense.
Q: You obviously found great chemistry with Adam Thielen last season. How has that developed through training camp into the preseason?
A: It's been great with Adam. Obviously last year he was primarily used outside, and then this year he's playing a little bit more in the slot. So just trying to develop that chemistry with some of those routes on the inside, spending a little bit of extra time in OTA's just getting the feel for how he sees things from the slot. It's a little bit different in there, coverages are a little bit different, especially in zone coverage. It's kind of finding voids, finding openings and having a feel for how to get open. Just having those conversations with him and trying to get on the same page, but it's been great so far.
Q: The coaching staff has been rotating a lot of different guys into the first string offensive line during practice. Are you very cognizant of who's in and who's out on every play of practice?
A: No. Not at all. It would be way too hard to try to keep up with that.
Q: Jeremiah Sirles wound up being an unlikely receiver of a pass in last week's game. Did you guys take a look at that play?
A: We did. It was impressive of Sirles to go ahead and snag that one. I think we got five yards. Obviously it wasn't intended to work like that, but it was a great reaction by him.
Q: You've talked about being impressed by Dalvin Cook. Is Pat Elflein also a player you've been impressed with given the amount of playing time he's seen?
A: Pat's done a great job as well. To come in as a rookie and play center, I think that's even tougher given the fact that he's the one who's setting protections, he's setting the point in the run game. He's the one in charge of communicating to all those guys out there. He's come in and done a great job. He's worked really hard. I think if you just look at where he's come from OTAs until now, both in protection and in some of the run game stuff, the checks that we're asking him to do, I think it's been nice to see his development in that time.