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Zimmer Addresses The Media on Monday

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

It was a good win for us yesterday to get back on track. I think our crowd did a nice job in helping us in a lot of situations. It was good to see them come out and support us. After you watch the tape, just like you always do, nothing is as good as it seems and nothing is as bad as it seems. We still have a lot of work to do in a lot of different areas and we are going to try to get some of those things done this week before we go to Green Bay.

Q: What is the latest with Teddy Bridgewater?

A: He is doing a lot better today, so we'll see.

Q: Did the MRI come back clean?

A: Yeah.

Q: Do you think he will play on Thursday?

A: I hope so. I'm hopeful.

Q: How much do you think Teddy's mobility kept the Falcons' defense more cautious in how they approached things?

A: I'm sure a little bit. Anytime you're facing a scrambling quarterback, or the possibility of a running quarterback, you have to be mindful of your rush lanes. I'm sure it did a little bit. You would really have to ask them, I think.

Q: How did you feel Vladimir Ducasse did filling in for Brandon Fusco?

A: He did well. He had one holding penalty, grabbed a guy. But I thought he did well.

Q: Was there a play or two, or a moment, yesterday where you thought, Teddy really has it, and that this game is not too big for him?

A: I've been saying it for a long time. Really, watching him in practice and watching him in the preseason games. He just gets the ball out, he a throws nice, tight ball. He's accurate. He makes quick decisions, so not really a moment in there. But, that scramble for the touchdown was a pretty good play, I thought.

Q: Is the read-option something you can do with Teddy Bridgewater that you couldn't with Matt Cassel?

A: Yeah, we have it in with Matt, too. But we ran it a couple of times this time.

Q: How many of those were actually designed read-options, and how many of those were hand-offs?

A: It depends on the blocking scheme, really. There was some called runs and then we had a couple that he had a chance to read.

Q: What's the key to playing a Thursday night game and turning it around this quickly?

A: One of the big things is that we have to make sure we get all of our bumps and bruises taken care of. I've got to be smart with the players. I've got to take care of them, but we still have to prepare. I think seeing the looks that we need to see, without obviously banging people and getting them feeling like they're refreshed. I told the team last week I've been in 18 of these Thursday games throughout my career. So, I've done it a lot of times. I've seen it done a lot of different ways.

Q: Did you go home at all?

A: Last night? No. Probably won't tonight, either. 

Q: As a coach, how do you guard against injuries going into a Thursday night game with a short week and does it increase the injury risk?

A: It's hard for me to say. They've done studies on that, but it hasn't come back anything abnormal. I think the really good thing about it is that if you get through the game, and hopefully you win, you got a couple of days off, so you get a little mini bye-week and you get a chance to get refreshed and get going. That's how we always approached it when we were in Dallas for the Thanksgiving Day games. You've got to suck it up this week and you've got to prepare and put in the extra time. But once you get through it, it's another time to refresh again.

Q: Did you get the results from Teddy Bridgewater's MRI?

A: Yes, he's had the MRI. It's negative.

Q: How is he doing today?

A: He's moving much better today, yes.

Q: How do things change for a cornerback like Captain Munnerlyn when he moves from the outside to the inside? What's the difference with having to cover a slot receiver?

A: It's a lot different when you have to go inside. There is a lot more space for those guys to work in. You've got to get involved in the running game a lot more. Understanding route concepts becomes big – a lot bigger than on the outside. I guess those would be the major ones.

Q: Are there any other injuries from Sunday?

A: Not from Sunday, no.

Q: How do you feel about Chad Greenway going into Thursday?

A: I don't know, we'll see how he's doing. I probably will keep him out today. We'll see how he's doing tomorrow.

Q: Are rookies like Teddy Bridgewater, Anthony Barr and Jerick McKinnon meeting or exceeding your expectations you had of them in their first year?

A: Honestly, I look at football players. I don't look at how old they are. I know we've got a lot of young guys but I just look at players - when they're out there and how they perform. The three guys you mentioned have been performing well. To me, especially in today's day and age in the NFL, young guys play. You have to get them on the right page number one, make sure they understand what they're doing, keep working with their technique, so I don't think it's unusual for anywhere in the league for young guys to come in and have to play. Actually, that's a good thing. You go out and you draft these guys and Rick (Spielman)  and those guys draft them for a reason. We get them in here as soon as we can and get them playing.

Q: On Anthony Barr's sack is he supposed to read how the blocks is set up before making that decision, or is he supposed to go into coverage with that?

A: Basically he was reading how it went.

Q: What do you envision for Jerick McKinnon moving forward? Do you want to develop him to a point where he is almost an every-down back, or do you see him more as a specialist?

A: I think he is a change of pace back. We will worry about next year and as we go from there. Being a defensive coach, when you have two different types of backs come in there it changes your mindset on some of your calls and also the players, they have to think a little bit differently. It's not necessarily different plays all of the time - it's one guy can get to the perimeter faster, one guy can be a little bit more physical. I hope that we continue to grow his role, but I don't think he is going to be an every down back, right now.

Q: What do you know about the Vikings – Packers rivalry?

A: Honestly, I don't know that much about it. I understand about the rivalry, but I'm just trying to get our guys prepared to go play a good game Thursday.

Q: What has your experience been like coaching at Lambeau Field?

A: I have had some good and bad experiences both at Lambeau, when (Brett) Favre was playing there. I played (Aaron) Rodgers the year he started. It's a great atmosphere, the fans are great.

Q: What did you think of the offensive line's performance?

A: I thought we did a nice job coming off the ball. I thought we stayed with our blocks, I thought we executed well. I thought we maybe wore them down a little bit, defensively, and I thought the backs ran good too.

Q: Can you measure the toll your third down defense has taken on the defense?

A: Yeah, it's terrible. We have a lot of work to do. I'm extremely disappointed in that, we will put a lot more time and effort into it than what we have. It's disappointing because that should be one of our strengths.

Q: Is there a common theme with the third down defense the last two games?

A: Both teams did a good job on the third downs. They caught us in a couple pressure situations and we didn't cover as good as we needed too.

Q: What are the keys to those third downs opposed to any other down?

A: First of all we have to do what we are supposed to do. When we are in position to make a tackle we have to make a tackle. We have to understand what the situation is with the down and distances. We have to understand how to rush the quarterback. What the rush lanes are and the concepts. We should be better.

Q: Was your focus to limit Julio Jones and other big time players in the game plan?

A: It was.

Q: How did you accomplish that?

A: There is lots of different ways, you're always trying to affect what the opponents do and take away their best players. You will pay special attention to them. Without going into too much detail, there is a number of different ways to do it.

Q: Do you change strategy throughout the game against them?

A: We have a few things, three or four things every week. If we need to change we change and if you don't need to change we don't change.

Q: Is Chad Greenway going to practice today?

A: No, it's basically a walkthrough.

Q: Any clarification on Kyle Rudolph's timeframe for his rehab?

A: We still think it will be less than the eight weeks that we talked about.

Q: Are Xavier Rhodes and Josh Robinson at the point where they have picked up the technique that you have been teaching this year, and are they able to apply them as they get more comfortable?

A: They are getting better, they both are getting better. They both have the qualities you are looking for at corner. We got to stick with it, the job they do out there is important. You go out there and it's you and this guy a lot of times. Typically, the better the corners play, the better the defense plays.

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