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Zimmer Addresses The Media on Friday

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

We just, almost, finished preparation, still got a little bit more to go tomorrow and today for Washington. We've had a good week of practice. Today we had Alex and his grandpa John here. Handed them a couple of game balls, so that was fun for them.

Q: How are the injuries with Brian Robison and Jabari Price looking for this weekend?

A: Should be good to go.

Q: Do you feel pretty good about the team's overall health?

A: We're starting to get healthier, yeah. We've obviously lost some guys for the year. Guys that were nicked are starting to get healthier.

Q: Do you think it's easier for teams to come back in a game with less time on the clock late in games?

A: I don't know, I don't really have an opinion on that, just because I think there's a lot of good players on offense, too.

Q: Has your strategy in two-minute defense changed over the last few years?

A: Not really. I think each game is a little bit different. Who you're playing is a little bit different. The situation, the score of the game, all of those things are always different, time on the clock, timeouts. Sometimes you play a little softer, sometimes you play a little more aggressive depending on who you're playing. There's just so many different variables. You might have to protect against a certain receiver, just so many different ways to look at it.

Q: Is Jerick McKinnon ready to be a 20 carry per game running back?

A: I think we'll still continue to have two backs. I think Jerick is doing a good job, but I don't think that we want to get him beat up, either.

Q: How do you encourage aggressiveness in a player like Xavier Rhodes without him being too aggressive and committing penalties?

A: The good part is, that he's challenging receivers and contesting catches, for the most part. There's some technique things we need to work on with him. We've addressed it again this week, so we will see. He's still a young, developing player that from what I understand didn't play much last year. I think he's learning a lot about the scheme and the techniques that we play. He will continue to learn and I would anticipate throughout the course of the season he will continue to learn.

Q: Is Xavier Rhodes still learning the techniques of press techniques where last year he played off the line of scrimmage more?

A: I don't know what he was last year. The way we play press is a little bit different. It's not just the press technique, it's all of the variables that go into playing that position, the splits of the receivers, the formation. When there's a number two close to you, or a number three, there's so many different variables that it just takes guys a little while. If it was just the press technique and they line up there in one-on-one, it wouldn't be that hard, but all of the other things combined. We play more than one coverage, obviously. I think all of those things he will continue to learn throughout the course of the season.

*Q: How long do you figure it takes for a cornerback to figure everything out in the NFL? *

A: It's really hard to say. I'm just thinking back at some of the young corners that I had, and guys develop at different times as well. The ones when they do get it then the game becomes really simple for them, at least the way we try to do it. It's hard and it's one of the hardest jobs there is, what we ask them to do, but it's simple as far as once you understand the game it slows the game down quite a bit, I think. But it takes a long time to understand all of those things. Guys were joking the other day that if the DBs have a bad practice the team has a bad practice and if the offense has a bad practice the team has a bad practice. I spent a lot of time with those guys. 

Q: How much time do you spend on the art of stripping the ball and the fine line making sure you don't miss the tackle?

A: We're going to make sure we make the tackle first, that's the number one thing. We'll work on stripping the football as well. I don't want to be a football team that tries to strip balls and miss tackles. The good defensive teams are sound fundamentally, they are great tackling teams, and then, usually, you're getting a lot of fumbles because you're in the right place and you're hitting people. You get some stripping, obviously, but that's really not what we're about.

Q: At what point this week did you flip from preparing for two quarterbacks to maybe concentrating on Robert Griffin III?

A: I guess it was yesterday before practice a little bit more. 

*Q: With his speed, how much does DeSean Jackson stress a defense? *

A: It stresses it a lot. He's got great speed, great quickness, great acceleration, so yeah, he's stressful. 

*Q: Do you plan on making a roster move with Chandler Harnish? *

A: I don't know yet. 

Q: Did you have any other guys in working out today?

A: We do.

Q: David Yankey hasn't been active yet this season. How is his progress and what does he need to do to get in?

A: He's got to get stronger, he's got to get stronger.

*Q: Is that pretty much it? How's his technique? *

A: He's doing okay with the technique and understanding. He's got to get stronger, he's got to be more stout in the areas where he needs to be.

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