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Transcript: Zimmer Talks After OTA No. 10

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

I thought we had a good practice today, we're starting to catch on to a lot of the concepts that we're trying to teach. I like this football team, they work hard, they concentrate, they study and they seem to have pretty good chemistry. We've still got tons and tons of work to do, but I feel like we are heading in the right direction and I'm excited, really, to get going into training camp.

Q: What have you thought about the tempo and pace of practice?

A: I think our players really understand what we want, we get through practice really quickly, get a lot of work done. We go at a quick, good pace. It keeps everybody into it, so they've got to think quick off of their feet and get moving, and we've had a lot of good situations throughout these OTAs and I think the coaches have done a great job of trying to teach a lot of situational football. We've been meeting as a team on a lot of situations and then hit quite a few today.

Q: What have you seen from the competition at linebacker?

A: We've had a few guys that have been out, with (Anthony) Barr and (Gerald) Hodges and (Michael) Mauti is out a little bit right now, but it's been good. I think the competition level throughout the whole football team is much better. The depth of the football team is better, you have got to credit Rick (Spielman) and the scouts for adding a lot of good, quality football players. It's been good.

Q: What is Anthony Barr's status, do you expect him for mini camp?

A: He's over the hump now and so I anticipate him getting some next week, I don't know how much.

Q: What's Casey Matthews' status, is that a lingering injury?

A: No, it just kind of happened. It wasn't really anything that we could pinpoint.

Q: Has he practiced here?

A: No.

Q: What can Shaun Hill help Teddy Bridgewater with?

A: I don't know, you'd have to ask Teddy (Bridgewater). Obviously, the experience of playing for as long as he has, those quarterbacks seem to have a lot of communication amongst each other that they don't let me in on.

Q: What has your impression been of Mike Wallace on and off of the field?

A: I like Mike Wallace, he's got some fire and he comes up to me all of the time and says, "You can't stop me today," and stuff like that. Hey, I like those guys that are competitors. He works extremely hard. I think he's developing a good relationship with everybody on the football team and not just Teddy (Bridgewater).

Q: Where is Eric Kendricks' intelligence level for a rookie at the professional level?

A: That's a hard one. I think he's further ahead than most rookies, I would say, but they're all different. (Anthony) Barr was pretty sharp last year when he came in. They're all different. Eric's been doing a good job. He's obviously got a lot of athletic ability, he's studying real hard. I think has a chance to be a good player.

Q: Eric Kendricks said he doesn't like to make the same mistake twice, is that what you expect from a rookie?

A: Well, I don't like it from any of the players if they make the same mistake twice. That's good, and that's something we kind of preach to the players, you make a mistake, okay, let's learn from it, let's move on. Let's not continually make it, that's when you have problems. He's probably made the same mistake a couple of times here and there. It's hard for the linebackers with alignments and different coverages and different things that they have to do, because they're involved in so many different things with the run and the pass. They have a lot of things on their plate and with a young guy who has to make calls, who has to make adjustments and checks and the things that we ask of our linebackers, it will take a little while, but I'm more encouraged by the things he's done, I guess is the best way to say it.

Q: Has anyone stood out at the left defensive end position with Brian Robison being limited?

A: I try not to get too excited about anything that goes on right now when we're not in pads because we are trying to take care of each other. We're trying to keep everybody on our feet, we're not trying to give the full deck of cards in there. It's more about knowing what to do, working on your techniques and things like that. We'll figure all of that out in training camp.

Q: Is something going on with Anthony Barr's other knee?

A: He's got another injury, but I really don't want to talk about it. He's going to be fine.

Q: What have your impressions been of Eric Kendricks in pass coverage?

A: He's a good athlete, so he's got very good quickness, very good acceleration. He can run fast and he's got instincts, so that leads to being good in a lot of places, not just pass coverage.

Q: What makes you confident David Yankey can be more involved this season?

A: He's done better. He's done better these OTAs. Now, kind of like I say with the defensive end, it's just so hard to evaluate the offensive and defensive linemen unless you're seeing them doing the right things, but he's looked much improved in these OTAs.

Q: How do you evaluate the line's play despite not having pads on?

A: His foot quickness, his bend, body positions, things like that.

Q: Is Adrian Peterson the kind of player who would request to play in a preseason game?

A: With a player of his caliber, the way that I would handle that would be as we get into the preseason and we get going, I'll probably talk to him about his feelings on it and see what he needs, what he feels like he needs to get ready for the season. If he doesn't feel like he needs any then I'm not worried about it, if he feels like he needs to get some, maybe we'll get him a couple of carries. He's going to get so many reps in training camp and so much work there, so I'm honestly not worried about it.

Q: With Adrian Peterson back, have things kind of returned to normal?

A: Yeah, yeah. I think everything is pretty much (business as usual).

Q: How do you expect mini camp to differ from OTAs?

A: None.

Q: Has Josh Robinson looked more comfortable using your techniques you want him to play?

A: Yeah I think so. I'm not sure he was uncomfortable before, it was more about refining things, that kind of what we're trying to do.

Q: Do you expect Brian Robison to be ready for mini camp?

A: I anticipate that he will probably be out here, yes. But we're going to be careful with him. We may give him some of the individual work and some of the situation stuff, but we're going to be careful with him. Same with (Phil) Loadholt, I anticipate he'll be out here a little bit this next week, still trying to be a little careful with (Brandon) Fusco.

Q: When you evaluate OTAs do you do it with a grain of salt?

A: No, it's pretty much a rock of salt, I guess. I mean, we evaluate really hard, it's just that we understand that there's some things that we can't do at this time of year without pads on. There's a good chance that whatever we're evaluating now could change when the physicality of the game starts to come back.

Q: Do you like what have you seen from MyCole Pruitt?

A: I do, I do. He's got very good hands, he's got good size, he can run very fast. He's making some great catches. He's getting a lot of work, Rhett Ellison has been out a little bit this week and so he's getting a lot of reps and he's got a chance to help us.

Q: How has Scott Crichton looked with extra reps he's gotten?

A: Good. It's the same deal. Scott has improved, we can see those things, he's improved from where he was, he's not thinking so much. He's more attacking and then playing football as opposed to thinking and then playing football. In a lot of those ways he's improved a lot. We've moved him inside some and he's flashed a little bit in there, but again, I'm being cautious with my evaluations.

Q: What have you seen from Harrison Smith's leadership role at this stage of his career?

A: He's a fairly quiet guy. Honestly, the thing that I've been impressed with Harrison, and I've been around a lot of really good safeties throughout my career, but the things that I've really been impressed with, he's really improved his coverage ability. He's worked really hard, his technique has improved tremendously. I asked him one day, I said, "Is this stuff easier now?" He said it's way easier than what he was doing last year. I'm hopeful that he will continue to do those things. As far as being the type of leader and vocal and things like that, I believe he is a leader because of how he goes about his business. I don't care that much how he vocalizes his leadership, because I want him to be him. I don't want him to try to be somebody that he's not. The players all respect him and I'm hopeful that he has a very good year.

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