Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner
Well, we had a good walk-thru, got through with no injuries in the walk-thru, so we're moving forward. Any of you guys that are interested with the softball update, they play tomorrow night at 8:30. I'll try to get you an update Thursday or Friday.
Q: Are you going to be there?
Q: What's the update with Mike Zimmer?
A: Eric Sugarman, obviously our trainer, talked with him and I think Bob [Hagan] talked with him. So I think you are better off talking to him or talking to them or finding out from them but I would expect him – the original plan was for him to come back tonight.
Q: How's Kyle Rudolph looking so far?
A: I think Kyle's having a good camp. We're doing a lot of things with three wide receivers and those guys are getting a lot of attention based on how our coverages are but I think Kyle's getting ready to really have a productive season.
Q: What difference have you noticed in regard to his physique and him changing his diet?
A: I think he's playing stronger; I think that's helping him. And I think his endurance is better, so the routes he's running early in practice, he's not getting as fatigued and he's running the same type of routes late in practice and running them with good speed.
Q: Have you guys seen Mike Wallace do a lot of different things other than just straight-line speed?
A: We've moved him around a lot and he's very, very smart. Obviously he's very experienced and there are some routes he really, really runs well that are underneath routes. I've been very impressed with him and obviously he can stretch the field and go deep. But I think he's a guy that we can use in a lot of different ways.
Q: John Sullivan wasn't here today because they had the baby today. Any idea when he will be back?
A: They had the baby. Baby boy. I haven't heard the name. I don't think it's Norv. I'll give the update when we can but I don't know when he's coming back. This is honestly pretty, pretty good in terms of letting these other guys get some work and we get to work some other guys in there yesterday and we will continue to do that. John [Sullivan] is – I think he's having a great camp.
Q: What have you seen so far from Zac Kerin?
A: Well, Zac [Kerin] is a versatile guy and he can play. In practice here he's played center and guard and I thought he was fine yesterday.
Q: Why do you feel John Sullivan is having a good camp?
A: He's playing really strong. He's playing really strong and really physical and he's been in this system now for a year. He and Teddy do a great job of communicating. They communicate in the running game, they communicate in our pass protections and he's as smart a guy as I've been around.
Q: Has Mike Harris adjusted since the beginning of camp on lowering his pad level?
A: Yeah, he's working hard at it and that comes from being in pads and practicing the way we're practicing. You all saw we had an inside run period without the receivers in there and we had very physical work on that. He's still, when he's pulling, he's playing a little bit too high but I think that's a matter of getting reps doing it and time doing it.
Q: How far down the line are you to deciding how running back snaps are going to be divided?
A: Yeah, we're a long ways away from that, but my guys who know my experience and guys who know my background, if you have a guy like Adrian [Peterson], he gets the bulk of the carries and whoever is in there is who's ever the next guy up is in there. If he needs a break, you go in. And so the other guy might get four or five carries in a game, some games he may get none.
Q: Would you rather rotate based on downs or series?
A: Like I said, I've been in games where we've called 12 straight runs and one guy got all carries. So it just depends on the game and the situation. A guys break off a 40-yard run, and you want to give him a break, you put someone in for a play. And then the situation dictates it. There are certain things on third down that other guys do better then we can utilize them.
Q: How has Brandon Fusco looked since moving him to the left side?
A: I think he's really playing well. I think he's doing a nice job and like I've said, both our guards, you get really good competitive work because our defensive tackles, they're outstanding,
Q: Given the changes in the offensive line, will you use that unit more in the preseason games than maybe you would if they were all veterans coming back at the same positions?
A: Coach Zimmer, that's obviously his call. We've talked about it. That's the advantage of having a fifth game, so I think we can get them the reps they need and keep it pretty similar to what we've done in the past.
Q: How has David Yankey been looking at left tackle?
A: It's a hard adjustment just to throw him out there, but I thought he had two good days in a row.
Q: There was some talk last year that he needed to improve his strength. How has that come along?
A: I think he has improved his strength and when you improve your strength it usually improves your quickness. I think he's playing lower. When he's pulling, he's doing a good job pulling. I think he's improved his technique along with improving his strength.
Q: What was the thinking in moving him from guard to tackle?
A: It's kind of a necessity when you're practicing and you're obviously – Carter [Bykowski] missed a couple days because his knee swelled up a little bit. You put someone in there who it gives them an opportunity to go and I think [David] Yankey has made the most of that opportunity.
Q: Are you pleased with how Stefon Diggs is playing?
A: He's a playmaker. You go out there and watch, he's made a number of big plays. He has a lot of work to do. I was glad to see him say that in one of the interviews I saw. Just alignment, assignments, details on routes. But those things you can coach. You can help him with those things. Sometimes you can coach all that stuff and the guy still doesn't make plays, but right now he's making plays and most of our receivers, when they've been given the opportunity, they're coming up with big plays.
Q: Can you talk about practicing at night? Is the adrenaline different with the crowd?
A: I thought the other night when we practiced, our guys got into it and there was really good energy. I thought the crowd brought that out in our guys. Being under the lights at night, I think you feel faster. There is some rest during the day, so I'd expect the same thing tonight.
Q: Can you talk about Mike Zimmer's relationship with his father?
A: I have a good feeling for that, but you can ask him.
Q: As a group, how do your receivers stack up in terms of speed in comparison with players you've had in the past?
A: I'm glad you made it very specific. I have a hard time comparing players and comparing groups, but the one thing, I think we can put together a pretty good relay team with this group. They all run awfully well.
Q: How does Adam Thielen fit into that?
A: Adam, he is fast. He's got outstanding speed and he plays extremely fast. That's more important than to have an actual speed. He's really become an outstanding route runner and he runs every route full speed. I would put him right in there with those guys in terms of being able to run.
Q: Is speed one of those things that is overrated? How do you use that to make it effective?
A: Like I said, guys that play fast and use their speed, that's a big deal. But guys that put the whole thing together in terms of techniques and route running and tracking the ball, I've coached guys that had great, great speed but couldn't adjust to the ball. We had a long time ago, the Rams, in fact he [Aaron Cox] played in the Hall of Fame Game and he was a rookie when I coached in 1988 when I was an assistant there. He had great speed and would be running full speed but when the ball was in the air, he could get another gear. That's kind of what you're looking for in terms of guys who have the ability to use their speed. He could get another gear and he could really track the ball.
Q: There's a couple guys who have switched sides of the ball like Blake Renaud and Isame Faciane. What thinking goes into making that decision?
A: He's [Isame Faciane] an outstanding athlete and I think Coach Zimmer felt that his best opportunity would be to play on offense. When I was in San Diego, they did it before I got there, but obviously Kris Dielman went from defensive tackle to offense and became a Pro Bowl guard, so guys are able to do it. He's got a long ways to go but he's had some good moments.
Q: Matt Kalil says that he has become more mentally tough this year. As a coach, how do you gauge if a player has become more mentally tough?
A: I just think it's certainly not by someone saying it. I think it's by watching them go through an entire practice. I really put a lot of stock in how guys practice the last 15 minutes of practice as compared to the first 15 because I tell them, more and more, this game is being decided by the last four minutes in the game. Whatever the percentage is, 70 percent of the games were decided by a touchdown or less, so in those last four minutes, the team that's the best conditioned, the team that can still play the fastest. I always tell our guys, we go out and do two-minute and they go 12 straight plays and at the end of it we're down in the red zone and they're tired, but they're going to be tired in the game. So you have to find a way to go run full speed at the end of those situations and that is a lot about the mental toughness you're talking about.
Q: Last year it seemed like you got a lot of production from different tight ends. Is that a design in your offense?
A: What it really was. I think all of them caught over 20 balls or right around 20 balls. You see some things where they say we didn't use them or the production was down. We played a lot of guys and between them they caught 70 balls or something. We've had two guys at different times catch over 100. This offense, all the way back to when I was with the Rams and Ernie Zampese brought the offense from San Diego and they had [Kellen] Winslow and a guy named Pete Holohan and Eric Sievers, it's a multiple tight end offense. We use them and there's things our guys obviously do extremely well so I would expect them to be a big part of what we're doing.
Q: Are you going to spend any more time on defense tonight?
A: I'm going to spend some time trying to get first downs and throw some touchdown passes against them. No, we're rolling pretty good and Coach Zimmer's getting this team like he tells you, the way he wants it and he's creating an atmosphere for these guys to really work hard and compete every day and they're doing that, so I wouldn't mess with that.