Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
We finished up this week with the OTAs, had good work, guys are working hard. We still have got a lot of work to do in the red zone. Today we focused on the red zone, a little bit of two minutes, first time we have done that so we have got some things to clean up there too, but we are moving forward and I like the way that this team is going. We have got two more week left, still have a long way to go before we are close to getting ready, but I do like how this team works.
Q: What have you been most and least pleased with?
A: That's kind of a daily question, I was least impressed with the defensive red zone this morning, it wasn't very good. We have got to get a lot better there, and then offensively we did a really nice job, though. I think the most impressive thing overall though is the way these guys work. The way they prepare, the way they come out here with enthusiasm and emotion. I've been extremely pleased with the coaching staff on everything that they have done, installing the systems, teaching the players. Like all coaches I think the thing that bothers me the most is mistakes, I don't like mistakes, we have got to get those cleaned up.
Q: How have you felt about the defensive backs and has that been your main focus defensively?
A: I got a lot of main focuses, but actually I think we have improved quite a bit back there. We're doing much better job in the coverage than early on in the first minicamp. We're understanding coverages better, we are playing a lot tighter. We still have got a ways to go. You can't play any bump and run in these OTAs so that will be our next big emphasis in the backend is when we finally get to training camp is working on bump and run, because we need to be good at that.
Q: How has Captain Munnerlyn helped reshape the secondary?
A: The thing that Captain (Munnerlyn) has done is he is a smart guy, he has got some knowledge about things, but he's been very good in the slot. He understands route concepts, he communicates well, so that part has been good to have him in there. If I can continue to get him to do what I want him to do then he is a calming factor. Sometimes he wants to do his own thing, so I have to talk to him a little bit.
Q: What are you looking for in Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon and what are you looking for in each of them?
A: Well, like you said we have a couple of different types of backs. Jerick (McKinnon) has a chance to do a lot of different things and Matt (Asiata) is kind of an all-purpose guy, he's a good runner, a good protector, probably not as explosive as Jerick is or as Adrian (Peterson), but he can take some punishment, he can give some punishment. I've been really impressed with the way that he has worked in the weight room this offseason, so actually we are always looking for different types of backs, we're not always looking for the same guy. You want to have a change of pace guy, you want to have a guy that can catch the ball out of the backfield and obviously we want to have Peterson.
Q: You like to have a defensive line rotation, are you pleased with the depth that you have here right now?
A: I think we will be, I think we will be once we get the guys that we drafted all in here that will help some of the things, (Anthony) Barr will be used in a lot of different ways, (Scott) Crichton, he will be a rotation guy, I'm sure, and then once we get Linval (Joseph) going a little bit more and (Corey) Wootton started going this week, so we will start getting a lot better rotation going. Right now it's just that guys are out there and let's go.* *
Q: What can you get from defensive line without contact?
A: Well, when we coach, we coach on defense; we coach from the ground up. So the first thing that we start with is their feet and where they are going, next thing is where their hands and then we work on the pad level from there. The thing you get to do is, you get to watch their steps, you get to watch where they put their hands, where their body position is. Really, it's not really blocks but how they are playing the combinations that they get and the things that they we're working on, and then pass rush wise, I think we have some guys that can rush the passer.
*Q: Is this the first week Corey Wootton was able to go? *
A: Yeah, I can't remember if he went the first day this week or not, but yeah he didn't go any last week.
Q: What is Corey Wootton like on the left side being a big-bodied guy?
A: Yeah, he's a big strong guy with great length. A guy that's very, very conscientious, very smart and really he listens to everything you say, so those are all good attributes. He's a little bit rusty right now because he hasn't been out much and hasn't been doing a lot of things. You know, we are trying to teach him a few different techniques than he has learned before, but he will be fine because he's a good, smart kid.
Q: It seems like coaches have really been in Xavier Rhodes' ear, what are you trying to get across to him?
A: It's really not just Xavier (Rhodes) it's all of the defensive backs, stressing the fundamentals that we are trying to teach. Xavier has a lot of ability, I mean he's a very, very talented guy and so I'm talking to him about being the same guy every single day and every play. Not one play is good and one play is not as good, to be more focused, I guess is really the thing. He has a lot of ability, I'm excited to work with him.
Q: What are your impressions of Derek Cox?
A: He's a smart guy, he's got good size. He's catching on to the things that we are trying to teach and really he's been getting better every single day that we have had him. For all of these guys, you get going against your own team, you see the receivers run the route, run the route, run the route, for I don't know how many days now, six days or something and so you kind of get a feel for each receiver. The real judge is when we get in against the preseason games against other people
Q: How did Teddy Bridgewater do today and where is he at?
A: I thought Teddy (Bridgewater) did well, he still made some mistakes like they all do, but I thought Teddy he did a nice job in the two-minute situation, had a nice long ball there, took them down and scored and he left for those two days, he was a little rusty when he came back, he's picked it up these last two days, so he's doing well.
Q: What have you seen from Bridgewater in the facility?
A: He's a worker, he wants to be really, really good. He's kind of feeling his way a little bit around the guys, which that will come in time. He understands he's a young guy, he will keep going and progressing and that when the more comfortable he feels around everybody, but I like him a lot, he's going to be a good football player for us.
Q: Did you notice a difference in Bridgewater with a full work of week from the start of the week to the end?
A: You know he was a little rusty the first day, then the second day he was really throwing the ball well yesterday and then he did good again today. It's all a process and that's why we practice every day in the regular season so we get better each and every day and we don't have these lapses. It's good for me, even with the entire team was a little like that with an extra day off this last week, so those kind of things are good for me to evaluate. When we have the bye or we have the Thursday game how much time I can give them off before we are ready to go this next week.
Q: With Matt Kalil out, Antonio Richardson has been getting 1st team reps what have you seen there and can he play left and right?
A: We will just leave him alone right now and then eventually we will start doing that. He's a very talented guy. Obviously, he has great size and length, he catches on pretty good as far as the scheme, we're excited about him, we think he has a chance to be a good player.
Q: Coach Jerry Burns was out here today, what was he doing and what did he tell your team?
A: I knew he was coming out here today so I talked to the team coming this morning. Because a lot of these younger guys don't know who these guys are, so I talked about him being in the Ring of Honor, the head coach at Iowa and so on and so fourth and the head coach here and six Super Bowls, a lot of those things. He talked a little bit about what he believes in the football team and the philosophy, he was very good, he's a good guy, funny guy.
Q: Did you ask Chad Greenway about his heroic boat rescue?
A: No, no, I just told him to make sure that he, no I didn't.
Q: Did you get any good gifts for your birthday?
A: The best gift I can have is having a good practice. I'm trying to go backwards in age now.
Q: Was the practice good enough?
A: Uhh, no we have got a ways to go still.
Q: Was Everson Griffen dinged up a little bit?
A: He just strained his back a little bit, he's fine, it's killing him not to be out here. Actually, today he probably could have went, we're just being a little bit more precautionary about him.
Q: How is Antone Exum coming along at safety?
A: He's doing well. He has moments like all young defensive backs do, he has moments where he is good. He started out strong, hit a little bit of plateau, now he's starting to get back to it a little bit, but the transition from him being a corner to the safety it's not an easy transition all of the time, but you expect those little bumps in the road, so right now he has plateaued a little bit, he's trying to work his way back to where he was. The more stuff you get in and the more things the offense has, it gets a little more complicated. He's smart enough to do it, it's just going to take him more reps to get where he needs to be.
Q: Are you surprised at how thick Antone Exum is?
A: We knew he was pretty thick when we drafted him. I'm not real surprised at him.