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What'd They Say: Jets Talk About Vikings

The Vikings and Jets don't play each other very often.

In fact, the teams have only faced off 10 times in NFL history and only once since Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer took the helm in Minnesota.

Zimmer and Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles are quite familiar with one another, however. The two coaches overlapped in Dallas in 2005-06, when Zimmer was the Cowboys defensive coordinator and Bowles worked as the Cowboys secondary coach.

Bowles told Twin Cities media members via conference call Wednesday that he "texts quite a bit" with Zimmer and that he's also stayed in touch with Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards and defensive line coach Andre Patterson, both of whom also were in Dallas.

"There's quite a few guys over there," Bowles said. "Zim' is one of the smartest defensive coaches I've been around from details, and I learned a lot from him in Dallas. We continue to keep in touch when we need things or anything like that, as well as George, as well as Andre, so we have a very good relationship."

Bowles recalled first working with Zimmer in 2005 and said it was "pretty tough" because Zimmer had previously been the defensive backs coach.

"You had to know what you were doing back there. He's an outstanding coach. He really is."

Jets left tackle Kelvin Beachum also understands what he'll be up against Sunday when he faces Minnesota's defensive line. Beachum played for the Steelers from 2012-15, during which he faced a Zimmer-coached Bengals defense four times (2012-13) before Zimmer was hired by the Vikings.

"They do a great job on third down with the way that they blitz," Beachum said of the Vikings defense. "I faced Zimmer when he was in Cincinnati years ago, and the defense and the way that he schemes people up is impressive."

Here are other highlights from the Jets talking about the Vikings this week:

Beachum on the Vikings defensive line:

"Their defense is one of the best in the league – I said that a couple weeks ago. Between them, L.A. and Jacksonville, I think they have one of the deepest defensive lines in the league. We have our work cut out for us this week, and we're looking forward to the challenge."

Bowles on Vikings DT Sheldon Richardson:

Richardson played for the Jets from 2013-16 before being traded to the Seahawks.

"He was going to be a free agent. That was more business-like. I love Sheldon to death and think he's a heck of a player and even more a heck of a person. That part of it you do miss as a coach, that relationship with your players. I'm happy for him, and he's doing well."

QB Sam Darnold on facing Minnesota's defense:

"The Vikings have a tough defense, a very good defense. … They're really good on first and second down. Obviously on third down, they bring some different stuff.

"I have to study, maybe spend some extra hours here [at the practice facility] and look at them that way."

Special Teams Coordinator Brant Boyer on Minnesota's special teams:

"I think they're outstanding. They're big, they're long, they're fast. They have really good returners. I think this will be a really big challenge for us, because they are probably the biggest, longest, fastest group that we'll have played yet this year."

Offensive Coordinator Jeremy Bates on the Vikings defense:

"Obviously this defense, it's Coach Zimmer, Coach Edwards, I've known them a long time from [their] Dallas days – excellent football coaches that always get their guys focused and ready to play. They're fast, they're strong, they're sound and they're creative, all in one. We're going to have to come into the game focused and bring our 'A' game.

"They're smart players. There's not a lot of free shots. It's an awesome challenge, and we're looking forward to it on Sunday."

Editor's note: Bates' father, Jim, was an assistant coach in Dallas for linebackers (1996-97) and defensive line (1998-99).

Defensive Coordinator Kacy Rodgers on Minnesota's offensive:

"Those two guys (Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs) are very talented. And then you throw in the quarterback who can make all the throws, then they've got a tight end and two running backs. It's challenging. They really know how to get open. They're extending drives on third down. It's going to be a great challenge for us.

Rodgers on Kirk Cousins' performance under pressure:

"[Kirk Cousins is] very resilient, and he's tough – and mentally tough. This guy's been in some [pressure] situations, but he's making the throws, making the decisions and everything. He kind of makes their offense go."

Defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson on Thielen and Diggs:

"They're very explosive. They're outstanding route runners. They play the game the way it's supposed to be played – with a physical process – at the wide receiver position. And they like to go out there and make plays. So it's going to be a challenge for us."

View practice photos from Thursday, October 18 as the Minnesota Vikings prepare for the New York Jets.