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Transcript: Zimmer and Teddy Addressed the Media Thursday

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

Good couple of days of work. I think both teams acted in a professional manner. We got a lot of work done. It was nice and hot out here both days, so that was good for us. I thought it was a very productive two days.

Q: Have you learned anything about your offensive line these two days?

A: Yeah a little bit. They've got a pretty good defensive line. We're continuing to progress. We did some good things and there's some things we have to work on.

Q: What's your plan on handling the center position in this preseason game?

A: You'll find out tomorrow. I respect that you have to ask. (laughter)

Q: Will Brandon Fusco be able to play tomorrow?

A: No. I respect that you have to ask. (laughter)

Q: Do you think the past couple of days in Cincinnati have been productive?

A: Yeah, I do. I thought they were good. Marvin (Lewis) is great friend of mine and we have the upmost respect for Cincinnati and the Bengals. I think we got a lot of good work done. We got some situations stuff in. We got to pass rush against other people. We got to pass protect against good defensive linemen. I thought Teddy played well in both days. He threw the ball good and it was a good two days.

Q: What are the benefits of having joint practices?

A: For instance, they ran a bunch of blitzes our offensive line hasn't seen so we had to work on the fly to get things corrected. The coverages are going to be a little bit different, so are the disguises that they'll do. Even though it's been two physical days, it's a lot of mental work as well. You know they run a couple of plays that we haven't seen offensively or defensively. All those things teaches the players how to react in game like situations because we didn't scout them or anything like that. We didn't watch any tape on them. We just came out here and played. 

Q: Do you think joint practices could be a good replacement if the NFL decides to shorten the preseason?

A: It's a possibility in a couple of years, but I'm focused on right now.

Q: What did you want to see out of Teddy Bridgewater while he was going against another team?

A: It's the little things he did. Yesterday he threw some nice deep balls and a couple nice deep crossing routes to (Stefon) Diggs. I think he's taking the things that we're working with him in practice and continuing to improve.

Q: Do you know how much Teddy will play tomorrow?

A: No. It depends on what kind of mood I'm in.

 Q: What have you seen from Trae Waynes these past two days?

A: He got sick during practice yesterday, so we had to pull him out. I thought he did some really good things before he got sick. But he's doing some really good things. I thought his press (coverage) was good. He was good in coverage most of the times that I saw him.

Q: What have you seen from Jabari Price?

A: He did good. Jabari is a guy that's a battler, so he's going to continue to battle. I thought he did some good things.

Q: On Trae Waynes, was it the heat? Was it anything else?

A: We did like 800 special teams sprints before practice, and then we went some one-on-one. So, he just, yeah, got some heat.

Q: How was he today? Was he back to 100 percent?

A: Yeah, he was out there.

Q: Speaking of your knowledge of defensive backs, you've had plenty of young first-round picks from your time here with the Bengals. What's the most important thing for them to grasp as they make the transition?

A: Obviously, they're going against better competition every day, every week, but a lot of guys from college are real grabby, especially at the top of the route, because they can do it in college. So, that generally takes a long time, and then the coverages become more complicated. It's adjusting on the fly and understanding the little things, the splits and all the stuff like that.

Q: What have you seen from Jake Ganus? He's a guy who I don't think we've asked you about, but what have you seen from him and what do you hope to see from him Friday night?

A: He's going to get a chance to play a lot. He has done a good job. He's a smart kid. Like all rookies, he still has some mistakes he makes, but hopefully he's physical when he gets in there and runs around. Really, what I'm looking for in young guys isn't so much if they make a mistake, (it's if they) make it fast; go fly around and hit somebody. Mistakes are going to happen, especially with the young guys, so if they make a mistake, make it as fast as you can, and if you're wrong, be wrong fast and physical.

Q: How tough will cuts be with all the linebackers you have? There's a lot of depth there, obviously.

A: I don't know. We've got a couple weeks before the cuts. So many things change by the time cuts get here – and obviously, Rick (Spielman) and I have talked about a lot of these things – but things change.

Q: Kentrell Brothers, I know he switched positions with a little more coverage responsibility. What have you seen from him to this point?

A: He's a down-hill plugger. He thumps in there pretty good in the running game. He has just got to continue to improve in the passing game. Some of the stuff we do is fairly complicated. It's hard on the linebackers, and they've got to be able to adjust and be able to pass guys off within zones a lot. It's not like just drop in a zone and sit there. So, those things I think, for all young linebackers, it's like that.

Q: Has John Sullivan looked like himself yet to you?

A: Yeah, pretty much. Yeah.

Q: At right guard, is Brandon Fusco pretty much locked in at this point, or do you think there's a chance that maybe Joe Berger gets the spot if things don't work out there?

A: We'll keep going. We'll keep looking. We're going to probably move a few guys around next week and look at some other combinations. I have to see all these different (combinations), because when we start getting in the season, we dress seven offensive linemen. I've got to see who can play guard and who can play tackle, who can play left, who can play right. So, we need to start moving some guys around a little bit.

Q: Do you feel just starting camp without Phil Loadholt and without Mike Harris took away maybe some of the competition you wanted to see?

A: I guess so. I'm happy with our guys. I like the way they work.

Q: Adrian Peterson got in pads. Do you think there's some benefit to at least getting some simulated contact out here?

A: Yeah, they were thumping him pretty good. They were swiping at the ball. So, yeah, I thought it was good.

*Vikings Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater *

It feels good to be down here. It almost feel like I'm back home in Louisville. It's great to come down here and see a bunch of red jerseys, Louisville Cardinal jerseys. It makes me feel at home. We want to thank the Cincinnati Bengals and Coach Marvin Lewis for inviting us down here. We know that he and Coach (Mike) Zimmer have a great relationship. So, we wanted to make sure that we got the best out of these two days of practice. We're talking about practicing against a team that was 12-4 last year. It's great to come out here and compete against those guys, a team who is known in this league. So, we're excited. I'm excited about the preseason game tomorrow night and get to see some of the young guys go out there and compete. Also, I'm excited to see Jayron (Kearse), Mackensie (Alexander) and those guys just go out there and compete and have some fun.

*Q: What do you get out of this, the joint practices as a player?  *

A: You get a different feel for a different opponent. In training camp, you're only going against your defense, and to come out and go against an unfamiliar opponent, a team we won't face in the regular season – I haven't face in the regular season – it was good. You get some different looks. It makes it like a game. You have to adjust to things that you're not used to seeing. So, that's the biggest thing, being able to adjust on the fly. I think our guys did a great job of just handling what was thrown at us.

Q: Head Coach Mike Zimmer said one thing he wanted to see from you going against another team was the deep ball again. It's one thing to throw the deep ball in practice against your own guys, but it looked like you did a pretty good job of throwing the deep ball here. Your thoughts on that?

A: Definitely. I think we're doing a great job of just understanding what the coaching staff is asking of us. Like I said, we want to have an aggressive mentality but be physical and relaxed. So, when we're out here, our mindset is to be aggressive but be calm while doing it. It was great these past two days, like I said, competing against the Cincinnati Bengals, a great team, a great defense. It was just great to get what we got out of it these past two days.

Q: Do you get more out of 90-minute, fully-padded practice than you would out of playing two series in a preseason game?

A: Definitely, because you think about the preseason, no one's trying to show their hands. So, when we're out here practicing against these guys, you're getting different looks that you wouldn't get in the preseason. The Cincinnati Bengals, like I said, they're a 12-4 team last year, so to be able to go against these guys the past two days, it has just been some great work for us.

Q: How do you feel about doing more of these every year? Is it something you enjoy doing?

A: Definitely, definitely. This was a great environment, great atmosphere, for the guys. Like I said, we've been banging against our own guys for the past 10 days, so to come out here in a different environment – it's much hotter down here than it is up in Minnesota. I'll continue to say, they're a 12-4 team last year, it was just a great experience, and it's something I'd be interested in doing.* *

Q: I know it's only a preseason game, but is there extra eagerness maybe in getting out there tomorrow with the way the season ended last January?

A: Definitely. I can't wait to get out there, especially knowing the way that the season ended last year. So, we can't wait to get out there, and we're just going to continue to just improve and take strides to be a great team.

Q: It'll be a little warmer than the last time you played?

A: Definitely, but I'm from Miami, so this feels good to me.

Q: It seemed the offensive line was a little bit up-and-down yesterday. They had a really good day today, I think. What did you see from the guys up front?

A: I didn't feel like they were up-and-down. I think those guys are doing a great job of, like I said, adjusting to different looks that we haven't seen. You think about it, we're out here, we weren't able to watch any film on these guys. We're not game planning or anything like that. So, our guys did a great job of just adjusting on the fly. Those guys work extremely hard. Coach (Tony) Sparano, he challenges those guys; he pushes those guys. We're going to have a great room, a bunch of great leaders in that room. Those guys want to be the best at what they do.

Q: What have you seen from Adam Thielen?

A: Adam, he's a great guy. He's a very detailed player, well-assigned guy. He does all the things that you ask him to do and more. He'll run down on special teams, make a tackle, come back, run a route and catch the ball. He's a huge attribute to this team.

Q: What has Adam Thielen's transformation been these past couple of years?

A: The thing Adam does is he cherishes this opportunity. He works extremely hard, and he's eager to be great. Those are the kind of guys we want around here. Guys who the game of football means something to, and it definitely means something to Adam. 

Q: What's your sense of where Stefon Diggs is going to be this year after having a full camp of practice with you?

A: I think Stefon is doing a great job of just continuing to do what we're asking him to do. He's always in the right place at right time. That entire room (of wide receivers), though, has challenged each other. If one guy messes up on a route, then we'll be in the meeting room, and he'll get called out. I think the guys take pride in not being called out in those meetings. So, when we come out here on the football field, we try to be precise, and that's what I think Stefon is doing.

Q: Do you think Laquon Treadwell will have to wait like Stefon Diggs did before he started to contribute to the offense?

A: You know each guy's situation is different. Laquon is continuing to work hard. He's making strides out here. He staying after practice every day. He's working hard trying to be an elite receiver. Each guy's path is different and a team's needs may be different, but we know that he's going to have to make plays for us. This is a league where you can't afford to wait too long. We drafted him in the first round for a reason, but right now he's doing a great of taking what's being thrown at him and listening to guys in that room while being a true pro. 

Q: Any chances you'll force feed the ball to Kyle Rudolph so he can make some plays in front of his friends and family?

A: (Laughter) Being back home for Kyle is great, but we'll what the game plan turns out tomorrow and go from there.* *

Q: What do you think the country is going to learn about Harrison Smith as he continues to gain shine for his play?

A: I think people should know enough about him right now. I feel like he's one of the most underrated players in this league. I get to compete against him every day. He's out there doing some things that just make you say wow. He's been rewarded for his hard work and we're all happy for him. We're excited about this year just as team defensively, offensively and special teams. We just want to continue to work hard and get better each day.

Q: Why do you thinks he's been underrated these past couple of years?

A: I don't what it is. He's probably not on Instagram or Twitter enough. (Laughter) But Harry is a great guy and he's a true pro. He's always one of the last guys around the facility and it shows when he's out there on the football field. He's always at the right place at the right time making plays. I'm excited for Harry this year and I'm excited for this team.

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