Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Well, this will be a great contest for us. They are a great team – lots of weapons everywhere, both sides of the ball. They're a team that we're trying to get to their level; they're 9-4 and playing well. This will be a good divisional test for us.
*Q: How do you feel about those four guys that haven't practiced this week? *
A: I love them.
*Q: What's your philosophy on being able to play after not having practiced all week? *
A: It depends on each guy, really depends on each guy. Some guys can go in and play by working out because they've been up on things and some guys can't.
*Q: Are you going to list anybody as out? *
A: We may but we don't know.
Q: What have you seen from Glover Quin over the past few weeks that's made him an effective safety for the Lions?
A: He's always been a pretty good safety. Their defensive backs are very aggressive. They sit on a lot of routes, they play coverage very tight. It helps and then with the rush they have, it helps to do those things, but he's a good player.
*Q: Does it seem like their corners aren't as aggressive as some of the others that you've seen this year? *
A: They're aggressive in a different way, they're aggressive in a different way. It's hard to compare.
Q: What specifically is different in the aggressiveness?
A: The techniques that they play kind of.
*Q: Has there ever been any consideration for Everson Griffen to move inside on the line? *
A: There has been consideration, yes.
*Q: What's keeping you from doing that? *
A: Well nothing has really kept us from doing it. He's having success where he's been but we're always looking for matchups. That's a possibility that might happen, I don't know, we'll see.
*Q: What have you seen from Joe Berger, Mike Harris and Vlad Ducasse as they've filled in along the offensive line? *
A: They are guys that battle. All three of them, they hang in there. They're pretty smart in getting where they're supposed to go. This will be a good test for them and the Jets were a good test too. They're pretty good up front as well.
Q: Can you talk about Joe Berger specifically and the way that he's stepped in?
A: Well he's done a good job. You know sometimes those guys in there they've just got to fight. There are a lot of things that happen and these backup players that go in, it's knowing what to do, knowing how to do it and then when you get the opportunity you've got to be able to fight. There are some times that we are helping, sometimes we're helping other guys, but it's important that they are all on the same page as we get going. But he's done a good job.
*Q: How does Sheldon Richardson compare to Ndamukong Suh? *
A: I would say they are different types of guys. Richardson's good, I mean they're both good. Suh is – I think I said this the other day – physical, athletic. They're different in their game I think.
Q: What's been the difficulty of trying to get that first divisional win this season?
A: Well let's see. First Detroit game we didn't play good enough to win – eight sacks, three turnovers. First Green Bay game they got after us pretty good. Second Green Bay game we didn't finish. Chicago we probably didn't play good enough. I think the difficulty is they've played better than we have on those days.
Q: Who worries you more as a head coach - Calvin Johnson or Ndamukong Suh?
A: Well when they're on offense Calvin and when they are on defense Suh. How about that?
Q: Who causes you to lose more sleep at night?
A:The great receivers that can go up and make plays like he can can keep you up a lot. But in today's NFL, the way that there is so much throwing going on and guys that have really good inside pass rushers are usually pretty good on defense because usually guards aren't as good of athletes as the tackles that ends are playing against. I've always felt in a 4-3 defense especially if you've got a great inside pass rusher, you have an advantage that a lot of teams have because you can find some ends. But, those inside guys can create a lot of havoc in there because you've got to turn to them, you've got to help chip on them sometimes and then they can get some good 1-on-1 matchups and really it's the same as the receiver.
*Q: Other than Calvin Johnson what other changes has this Detroit team gone through since you first played them? *
A: Well they've got [Reggie] Bush back now and he's explosive out of the backfield, explosive on getting to the perimeter in the running game, catches the ball good. They've settled in with the right tackle since our ball game. Defensively they're pretty much the same and they're playing great, they're playing great.
Q: How is it different if Nick Fairely is able to play or if he isn't?
A: You know Fairley is a great athlete and he was having a great year so it just depends. They do enough good things defensively that they can overcome a loss of a guy like that. I think their linebackers are playing good, playing fast, and I said before, their secondary is playing aggressive.
Q: Could you possibly move Xavier Rhodes around a little bit to get him that matchup with Calvin Johnson?
A: I doubt that.
Q: Having been officially eliminated from the playoffs does that change you holding back hurt guys that you might play otherwise?
A: I didn't know we were eliminated from the playoffs. But no, the answer is no. Players, if they're healthy they play. That's why we get paid – to go out here and play.
Q: How much has Gerald Hodges grown as a player in between his two stints as a starter?
A: I think he understands his coverage better. The one play his leverage was too far outside but they're using Bush a little bit more now. Gerald has got good vision and he understands where he's supposed to be most of the time.
*Q: What was John Randle's message to the team the other day? *
A: Nothing, he just liked the progress, liked watching our guys, liked the progress of the program – normal stuff.
Q: Did you try get him to impart any wisdom on the defensive line?
A: Tried to get him to play. No, we love having those former alumni here when they're in town. We love to have them come over, come by, he and Coach [Andre] Patterson have a long history together. It's important to me that especially the young players, a lot of the veterans know who he is but some of these young players don't know anything about him and when you read the stats that he's the number one sacker of defensive tackles with 137.5 and Team of the Decade and his banner is hanging up there on the wall – those are pretty impressive. But I love having those guys come around.