Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
I thought today went well, we seem to be improving on a lot of the concepts that we have, but you know, I'd expect that after the 11th day now, starting to feel a little bit more familiar with the things that we are doing. Offensively, we need to have better efficiency than we did today, but defensively, I thought we were on top of the concepts pretty good. A couple more days and get ready for camp.
Q: Can you explain the roster move with Taylor Mays?
A: It wasn't working out.
Q: Why is that?
A: It just wasn't working out.
Q: What does this week allow you to do that OTAs didn't?
A: I changed the schedule a little bit, we were going to go on a true, typical training camp day, and like I told them, what I want to do is, I want to spend time that I think that we're using the time efficiently and I didn't feel like having an hour walk-thru and then being here until 5 o'clock really was beneficial to what we were trying to get done. Practice was longer today, like a typical training camp practice, but we just eliminated the real long walk-thru in the morning.
Q: What's your evaluation of the safety position right now, you've stuck with Robert Blanton with the first team?
A: It doesn't mean anything right now, it really doesn't. We've got five preseason games, no one is in pads. It really doesn't mean anything to me right now, it's just guys lined up there and go.
Q: Is a major part of that evaluation seeing how guys can tackle and play in games?
A: Yeah, and the things that happen when they're not playing the team they see every single day, those are much better evaluations because the checks happen faster, the different types of plays happen faster. I would not read too much into who's where right at this particular point, unless it's Teddy (Bridgewater) or Adrian (Peterson), probably.
Q: Why is Trae Waynes been in the slot so much and what have you seen from him there?
A: I just think it's good for guys to learn as many things as you can. That was just part of the plan. We try to teach him in there. I've always liked to take guys and kind of like what we did with (Anthony) Barr last year, we gave him a lot of things to do and then we figured out what he could do best and go from there. If we don't ever give them opportunities to do those things, then we never really know.
Q: What's been your evaluation of the offensive line?
A: It's so difficult, I mean, it's so difficult without the pads on to really know, because we're taking care of each other upfront. We're not trying to do anything, so the evaluation part is just difficult for me at this point in time. I mean, you can see balance and body movement and things like that. I feel good about a lot of those things, but the tenacity and the physicalness and those things, we're going to have to wait until we get to camp.
Q: What do you like about MyCole Pruitt?
A: Well, MyCole has done a nice job, we've moved him around quite a bit. He runs very, very well. He makes some really, really good catches and he's 255 pounds, we anticipate that he will be a pretty good blocker. He's really catching our eye.
Q: What have you seen from the linebacker position, specifically Brian Peters?
A: Brian is doing a nice job with all the coverage aspects of where he's supposed to be, you'd expect that from a converted safety, the question is, when he gets the pads on how will he be in that area, so again, the physicality. But in shorts he's doing a good job, he knows where to be, he can run, he's pretty smart. The rest of the guys, they seem to be doing a good job.
Q: Is it big for Anthony Barr to be out here working during mini camp?
A: Yeah, I think it's important for him and for us. He's got to get back, he hasn't really done football in a long time. It's good for him to get back out here and start moving around and get with the calls. I don't anticipate any problems, but I just think that it's good for his mindset and good for ours as well.
Q: Do you worry less about a veteran guy like Brian Robison not being able to be out here than a younger player?
A: Yeah, well Brian is getting a lot of work done, it's just not live work right now. We'd obviously like to have everybody out here practicing all of the time, but it's really not possible with some of the guys at this point.
Q: How would you say Matt Kalil is doing?
A: Better. I think he's been doing better, and again, proof of the pudding will come out once we get the pads on, but his sets are better, he looks much more confident. He looks much better doing the things that we're trying to get him to do. Last week, I had Greg Ellis come in here and help with the defensive line, he's a guy that I coached for a long time and we also Hudson Houck come in who is a veteran offensive line coach, who coached with a lot of guys, just kind of get another set of eyes, see if we can help these guys. I like bringing in guys that I know, number one, and number two that feel like they can add some value.
Q: Do you get a lot of feedback on the visitors that you bring in?
A: Well, I ask them a lot of questions, have you talked to them about this? For instance, I know Greg (Ellis) so well, that I know really a lot of his strong suits, so those are areas that I think he can maybe help players from a player's mentality and the things that we're (working on). For instance, he was the best guy that I've ever been around at studying tape and would find tips and things like that. It's even those kind of things, how to study the guy that they're going against, what are the best tips, things to look for, how he studies different players going into a week.
Q: How much is it just getting a different messenger in there for the players to hear that from, a former player and not just a coach?
A: Sometimes. I think it's good to have a different message, coming from a different source and Greg (Ellis), he's the 50th-most sacker in the NFL, as soon as that happens, there's a little bit of, 'Oh yeah, I know this guy.'
Q: Why wasn't Josh Robinson out here today?
A: He was injured.
Q: What's he dealing with?
A: He was in there rehabbing today.
Vikings Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater
It's good to see everyone again, glad to be back out here this week, good start to the Mini Camp, excited for the team this year.
Q: What would you say is most important for the offense to accomplish this week?
A: We have to continue to just play sound, fundamental football. Whether it's coming out and working the proper techniques or lining up in the right formations, we just want to establish that right now, establish some chemistry and get a feel for one another heading into training camp.
Q: What's it been like for you working behind this group of offensive linemen?
A: Playing behind those guys has been fun. The communication has been great. Those guys communicate, whether it's calls in the run game or in the pass game, they're communicating it down the line and it's making my job much easier.
Q: What have you seen from Tyrus Thompson in there as the right guard?
A: Those young guys, they've been taking advantage of the opportunities that they've been given. I'm glad to have those guys on the team, they work extremely hard. The best thing they do is listen. They have a group of veterans in that room, and they're doing a great job of listening to those guys.
Q: What are your plans for you time off?
A: This time that we're going to have off before training camp, I want to take advantage of it. I'm going to continue to work out so that when I do arrive down in Mankato, and see you all again, that I make sure that I'm sharp.
Q: You will be down in South Florida?
A: Yeah, I will be down in South Florida.
Q: What have you seen from MyCole Pruitt?
A: Pruitt, he's an athlete, I'm going to tell you that much. We're glad to have him, he brings something different to the table. He can catch passes out of the backfield, catch passes from the tight end position, he can block in the run game. He can line up at wide receiver, probably can return punts and kicks, also. He's an exciting player to have and he's just looking forward to his opportunity.
Q: What have you seen from Jerick McKinnon?
A: Yeah, Jerick has looked great. He doesn't look like he's been injured to me. He's coming back out, he's been flying, he brings that energy to the backfield, that excitement. Those guys have all just been competing at a high level.
Q: Is it different having Adrian Peterson behind you?
A: We're glad to have 28 back. Everyone knows what he bring to the table, what he brings to this game. His presence is always felt. I'm just glad to have a steady backfield like the one that I have, whether it's Adrian, Jerick (McKinnon), Matt (Asiata), Joe (Banyard), those guys are all contributing to this team.
Q: Are you looking forward to games with Adrian Peterson?
A: Yeah, I'm looking forward to it, but I'm looking forward to playing in the game with all of these guys on this team. It's a totally different team from last year, as we all know, nothing in this league stays the same. We have different guys on this team, we have guys who are ready to play and ready to win.
Q: Do you see any difference in Mini Camp from the mental aspect?
A: The Mini Camp is exteremly important because we had 10 OTA practices and then you sum it up with three Mini Camp days, so everything that we learned in those 10 days throughout the OTAs, whether it's the first day of Mini Camp, we may install what we learned from the first three days of OTAs, then the second day of Mini Camp, we go over the next three days of OTAs, then after that, the list goes on and on. It's just extremely important to take advantage of those reps, because now I see how much we're focused and just allows us to be more detailed.
Q: Do you judge where you are as an offense for each section?
A: Yeah, we judge where we are mentally and physically, but at the same time, we know that it's only June. We still have a long way to go. We know that training camp is coming up, we have the preseason to prepare us for the regular season. We're just going to take advantage of this opportunity that we have right now and make the most of it.
Q: Are you going to take any time off or are you working straight through?
A: I try to be a constant grinder, so I'm going to try to continue to work the whole time. You know, I had an entire offseason from January to the beginning of workouts, so I had enough time to rest back then, so now it's time to shift my focus to the season.
Q: What would you say you know now that you didn't know last September?
A: I have more of a feel for what the coaches are trying do here, as far as game plan-wise. Last year I was kind of learning my way around game plans and getting a feel for coaches Norv and Scott Turner and what they're asking of us. But having a year under my belt, I can see why he's calling certain plays and where he wants to go with the football, whether it's a situational play call or just a play call whether it's 1st-and-10 or 2nd-and-10, having an understanding of the coordinator, I think I'm that far ahead this year.
Q: Now that you have a year in this system, do you see that you and other guys are picking things up a lot faster?
A: I would say that, that we're having an easier job picking things up this year, but at the same time, last year, we had a group of guys who were pros and were able to grasp information and apply it to the playing field. I think we're doing a better job of that this year, especially due to me having a year under my belt and these guys having a year under their belt in this system. I think we're doing a good job for the most part.
Q: Is Norv Turner taking it any easier on you guys this year?
A: Coach Turner, he loves calling plays, I can tell you that much, and he doesn't just call plays, he calls plays for us to execute and we're just glad to be playing in this offense.
Q: What did you learn from last year with relationships with receivers that you can apply to Mike Wallace?
A: Last year, me being a young guy, kind of had a fresh slate with all of the receivers, so those guys accepted me with welcoming arms, plus I had a group of veterans in that room, you talk about Greg Jennings, he was a great leader in that room, so now you shift, fast forward to this year, you bring in Mike Wallace, who's a savvy veteran, also who's a pretty exciting player to be on the playing field with at the same time. He brings some leadership to this team, to that wide receiver room. For me, it's easy for me to apply some of my leadership skills to him, because we both have the same understanding, both have the same mindset and that entire wide receiver unit has the mindset, which is to win.
Q: Do diving catches in OTAs show how much effort Mike Wallace puts forth every day?
A: Yeah, you love to see that effort from the guys, but I could have done a better job and made it less painful for him.
Q: How do you build chemistry with a receiver like Cordarrelle Patterson who might be getting more second-team reps?
A: When we're out here in practice, we have individual periods, we have periods where we get to throw routes with the wide receivers and that's where we develop that chemistry, and then whether it's staying after practice and working on routes that we may have not thrown in practice, trying to get that chemistry down. Those are some of the ways that you just try to find some chemistry with the other receivers.
Q: What have you seen going against Trae Waynes?
A: Trae, he's a pretty exciting, glad to have him on this defense. He brings some playmaking skills to the defensive side of the ball, which is already talented. After going against him all of OTAs and the first day of Mini Camp, I'm pretty impressed.
Q: Have you seen any difference in Cordarrelle Patterson this offseason?
A: Cordarrelle, he's always been a hard worker, it's just continuing to show. Each day that he's coming to work, whether it's throughout the OTAs, whether it's Phase I, or Phase II and now into Mini Camp, you saw him today go across the middle and catch a nice pass from Shaun Hill. He's a guy who's always came in, he's a competitor, comes in with that hard hat on, he's just ready to work.