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Transcript: Zimmer, Peterson Address The Media

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

I think we had a very, very productive offseason. I think our guys worked real hard, I think we paid attention. We did a good job in the weightroom. We did a good job off of the field. I think it was a good way to finish, we have a lot of alumni out here today, including our newest Viking Hall of Famer, Mick Tingelhoff, it was kind of nice for the guys to see. I asked them to get ready for a long, physical training camp. We are trying to build a smart, tough, aggressive football team that knows how to play in crucial situations and that was part of our offseason emphasis.

Q: What was the message that you sent them off with?

A: To make sure that they're doing football type of movements, because when they come back it's going to be doing that. Talked to them about being smart off of the field, talked to them about the way we've worked and the way the things that we've accomplished this offseason and where we want to start and where we want to end.

Q: Do you feel pretty good from seeing this group together and where you will be heading into training camp?

A: Yeah, I was telling one of the coaches the other day, we're starting to do some things really, really good and you hate to take five weeks off and then you come back and you're not as crisp, but that's the nature of the business. The thing that I like about this team, not only do they work, but they have fun out here. We come out here and work, I talk to them about, we could have a team building day and we could go play ping-pong and stuff like that, but we need to work and we need to get better, a team is built by winning.

Q: Do you feel like you and your team is further ahead than you were a year ago?

A: I think everybody's a lot more comfortable in their roles right now. We seem to be playing faster and not thinking quite as much. Defensively, we actually had a couple of things in this week that were difficult and they handled it very well. That was good to see.

Q: Do you expect some of you injured guys to be full go once training camp starts?

A: Yes.

Q: How about Josh Robinson?

A: I don't know yet.

Q: How will things change with Adrian Peterson in the backfield this season?

A: Well, with one of the greatest running backs in the history of the game, it probably should change a lot. I think that people will play us a little bit differently and I think that will help us in a lot of ways. We're going to continue to do a lot of the things we do offensively, but we're obviously going to use Adrian in ways that are productive for him, as well.

Q: When you have a workhouse like Adrian Peterson, how do you balance it out with the other running backs on roster?

A: Adrian will get most of it and Jerick will get some reps and (Matt) Asiata will get some reps, every week is different. We're going continue to play with the best players.

Q: Is it almost a week-to-week basis depending on your opponent?

A: Yeah, I mean everything changes, situations in the game changes things. The game plan going in that week and things like that. Adrian, he is the guy, so he's going to get the ball and those other two guys are going to have to fight for their reps.

Q: It seemed like Eric Kendricks was making a lot of plays this spring, what did you think of his offseason?

A: Yeah, he was, and we're in shorts. But he flys around, he's instinctive. He did a good job.

Q: Is it normal for the instincts to kick in that quickly out of college?

A: I don't know, everybody is different.

Q: What has he done for those instincts to kick in already?

A: He's made plays. He's around the ball a lot. He still has some things he messes up on, but he just seems to have a knack for getting around the ball. He's similar to a couple of linebackers that I've had in the past.

Q: Is Terence Newman looking like the same guy you have coached in the past and what can he do to help this team?

A: He looks good. He's very, very smart, he's helping the guys with a lot of the different concepts and talking about the intricate part of the game, and yes, he looks good.

Q: What do you like about what you've seen from Danielle Hunter, has he progressed and is he using his arms more?

A: Yeah, he really has. He's gotten better and continually with these guys, when we get in the pads, that will be a little bit more of it. He has outstanding skills and it's just how fast he can progress from there. I've seen him progress throughout these 13 days we've had and he still a very young guy, he was a junior coming out, but I like a lot of things he does and he's a great kid.

Q: From rookie camp until now how have you seen Trae Waynes develop?

A: Well, he's doing a lot more things right now. We're asking him to do a lot of different positions, play a lot of different coverages that he didn't have to do in the Rookie Mini Camp. But as far as technically, he's improved in his transition out of the breaks quite well. I think he's starting to understand things better. Because we are playing him in a few different places, he's still sometimes unsure of what he's supposed to do and where he's supposed to be at, but I like him.

Q: As a head coach what is your greatest fear of this break before training camp starts?

A: I just wrote on my phone today - try to think about the positive all of the time, because I'm kind of not typically that kind of a guy. I guess, hopefully, we don't get anybody injured in the offseason. I tried to be very careful this spring because, for the most part, our injuries have been nothing major and I wanted to get to camp healthy, that's a big thing. And then I want us to when we come back to kind of be where we left. I understand some of the technical things, but we progressed so much quicker this year than last year at this time because of knowing the system, knowing the terminology, knowing all of the different things. I want us to continue where we are right now. I would like that.

Q: What are you going to be doing personally with your time off?

A: I'll take time off. It will be every now and then I will start looking at the (cut-ups from the spring). We've basically got our training camp schedule done, most of the practices done at this point in time. I only went 10 practices as far as the practice schedule because there might be things we need to change and switch around because of where we are at. I'm going to take some time off, but I will have my iPad with me. I want to go through our cut-ups from the spring and keep evaluating things.

Q: Can you see differences from Linval Joseph and strides that he has made from year one to year two?

A: Yeah, he looks so much better to me right now than he did a year ago. Well, he missed a lot of this last year because of the surgery, and then in training camp he got injured. At this point in time, he looks really good to me. He's doing a lot of things right. He's a very conscientious kid, hard worker, he wants to be right all of the time and he's a good kid. I really like the personality of this football team, they understand when I mean business and they joke around with me quite a bit, but I like the personality of this football team. They're starting to get kind of what I want us to be like.

Q: What impressions do you have of Anthony Harris?

A: He has missed a lot of time, just starting to get back out here. He's doing a good job, he's a quick reactor, he's smart, he's making good decisions and then we will just have to see where it goes. I think he's done a good job in the time that he's been out here.

Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson

Q:  How do you feel in general after being back on the football field, heading into these five weeks leading up to training camp?

A: I feel pretty good. It's been good just to be out here with the fellas, get back in the swing of things, open my mind back to the playbook and what Coach Turner is asking us to do. It's been pleasant.

Q: How much has the playbook changed from last year?

A: Not much. There's a couple of curve balls that was thrown out there, but that's why you got good coaches, like Coach Kirby (Wilson), laying everything out, when we come out on the field we are able to be crisp.

Q: Do you prepare differently heading into this training camp than you have in the past?

A: Not really, it's all about muscle memory and they really pressed it last year in training camp, so after a couple of days, I was able to pick up and catch up on things and actually, started to come naturally. It's the same thing, just making sure I'm taking care of my body. Having my playbook in hand, so I'm able to really be sharp with everything once training camp comes around.

Q: Does your body feel back to where it has been in years past?

A: Just to be honest, I felt good from day one. I've had a long time to work out, there's nothing like coming out here and playing football. Maybe like a day or so, after that first day the legs were just a little sore, the calves really, but after that I could tell that I've really been working because I really didn't feel too much soreness after that.

Q: What have you seen from other running backs like Jerick McKinnon?

A: He's a young guy who's improving. I'm able to see that in the classroom and on the field, as well. He's been great at catching the ball and running the ball. To me, he seems more patient when it comes to pressing the holes and making the right reads. He's looking sharp and the other guys as well. Matt Asiata, he's looking good. Joe (Banyard), we have a good set of running backs here for the Vikings.

Q: Any favorite restaurant or anything non-football that was good to get back to in Minnesota?

A: The weather is normally good around this time that was something that I kind of missed. Red Stone, I normally go there and grab a good bite from time-to-time and Coldstone as well, I love my ice cream.

Q: Ice cream isn't as good in Texas?

A: Oh yeah, it is, but Blue Bell is no longer out there right now, so I've been craving Coldstone.

Q: How different is Teddy Bridgewater now than a year ago?

A: Just being even more so of a leader, you can tell he has control. Just his understanding of the offense, being that guy to facilitate the ball out to the guys around him, just being able to read defenses and deliver the ball on a dime, he looks more crisp and sharp.

Q: Have you talked to the coaching staff about your workload this year?

A: No, actually I haven't. I've never really had that conversation with those guys, I just go out and play ball.

Q: Would you like to have the same kind of workload that you have had in the past?

A: Whatever they call on me to do, I'll be ready to do it. I'm sure they got some good stuff on tape and I'll leave it in their hands to decide what they want to do.

Q: Do you expect to be more involved in the passing game?

A: Yeah, it's funny because I get asked that question every year. Be more involved in the passing game, but yeah, I was looking forward to it last year, with this offense, the running back is going to be in position to be able to definitely rack up his receptions and I'm looking forward to doing that. This offense, like I said, presents it, and we will see a lot more of it in training camp and when the season starts.

Q: When you look at the situation with Dez Bryant does that seem like a situation that you feel needs to be taken care of with guaranteed contracts?

A: Yeah. Yeah. He's done pretty good for the Cowboys, I think.

Q: You had a chance to give some inspirational words to Josh Benson, who was in an ATV accident, what did you tell him following today's practice?

A: Just let him know that God has the final say in everything. I asked him, "What did they tell him when he left?" They told him he wouldn't be able to move anything below his waist and I see him over there moving his leg now. Just keeping his mind focused on God and having faith that he can walk again, and just let him know, hey, it's not going to be easy, there's going to be tough days, but as long as you just stay focused and this is something you want to accomplish, you can accomplish that. 

Q: Coach Zimmer said he loves the personality of this team, have you seen a difference in coach is and what do you like about the give and take between the team and coach?

A: Yeah, I've seen a little difference. He's a little more open. He always seemed to have a sense of humor, to me, the short time I was around him last year, but even more so. I seen him walk around talking with guys, see a smile on his face from time-to-time. Normally he just has that serious face on. That's good. Guys feel comfortable around him, but still with that, you see the guys respect him. It's nothing that's being done that's disrespectful, they know what level to go to.  

Q: Are you going to help him be more positive this year?

A: Yeah, I'm going to help him with it, a lot.

Q: Is it just typical workouts you will be doing in Texas leading up to training camp?

A: Yeah, I was thinking about going to Europe, but I'm not going to do that. I'm going to focus on working, just relaxing, just do what I do. Come back for camp ready to roll.

Q: The honeymoon is still on hold?

A: Yeah, still on hold, still on hold.

Q: What do workouts consist of for you this time of year?

A: A lot of strength work, as well. It's kind of like CrossFit, I do so much different stuff, whether it's track workouts, on the field, heal workouts, running three miles, exercise with the full body workout. Whatever the trainer throws out there in front of us, it's a challenge. I'm always trying to accomplish that challenge.

Q: Why do you think you will be able to have the longevity when other careers haven't gone that long?

A: I feel like I'm blessed. I feel like just my mindset that I have, my work ethic, as well. That's a big part of it, having a good work ethic. I don't know which guys you're talking about but I'm sure some of those guys just got tired of working out. I know a couple of backs now, that if they had the mindset to go out and train and get their body's right even after 30, they could have played another year or two, as well. I think it's all about how you approach things. Of course being healthy is something that helps that as well, having that luck to have longevity, but ultimately, just having faith that I can do whatever I put my mind to.

Q: Does life feel back to normal for you now?

A: No.

Q: Not at all?

A: It is what it is. It's normal, but of course it's different. But I'm making it as normal as I can. Surrounding myself around people who love me, I'm moving forward.

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