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Zimmer Addresses The Media on Monday

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

After watching the tape several times we just didn't do enough good things. You give up eight sacks, you get three interceptions, you don't play well enough to win the game regardless of anything else that happens. The frustrating thing for me is we don't catch the punt, and we get penalties when we get field position, we didn't create field position in special teams. But there were some positives that come out like every game. Defensively, I think what we went back and emphasized extremely hard, I thought we did a really good job in. I thought especially Linval Joseph played very well. The things we ask him to do don't show up on the stat sheet but it makes it a lot easier for the linebackers to play defensive football. I know one of the hot topics is this fine thing and that was probably Zimmer being Zimmer. I kind of was not in the best frame of mind at that time. This team has not had an issue, a continual issue, of being late. Every time a guy has been late, when I've been anywhere, I've fined him so it has not been an issue. I had two practice squad guys miss lifting on Saturday so that was kind of sticking in my mind. I'm looking for everything that I can look at, everything that I can control and try to continue to get this team better each and every time.

Q: How can you make things easier for Teddy Bridgewater?

A: Well that's one of the things that we're evaluating right now. We knew that there would be some ups and downs with a young quarterback, there always is regardless. But if we have a cleaner pocket it would sure help, if we had guys open it would help. If we ran the ball better, it would help. It gets hard to run the ball when you've got the ball on the 2-yard line and everybody is stacked up in there and the first one you run is a 12-yard run and you get a holding penalty so now it's second-and-12. We can't just rely on the running game either. We've got to protect the ball and there are different ways to do that, protect the quarterback and there are different ways we can do that, and we've talked about that some already this morning and we'll continue to do that. Another bright spot I thought was Jerick McKinnon, he does some things where he gets in space and he makes a lot of people miss. He has some explosiveness about him offensively and that's a good thing.

Q: You still talked that you feel like you have an undisciplined team and cited guys talking to the officials. Do you still feel like you have an undisciplined team?

A: Well I have a team that is not performing like I'd like to perform. It bothered me the other day, and actually the last two weeks, we had a personal foul penalty for talking to the official against Green Bay, and then last week during the game on the sideline I just noticed a lot of people doing a lot of officiating, and I've told them since the very first preseason game we played in that I'll talk to the officials. They don't need to do that, they need to concentrate on playing football – that includes coaches – so I addressed it again this morning. 

Q: So do you think you have a disciplined or undisciplined football team?

A: I don't think that we are undisciplined, I think we can be more disciplined than what we are.   

Q: Are you considering any lineup changes at the offensive line?

A: We're evaluating all of that and I'm not opposed to it.  

Q: What's the thing you see on film of the protections?

A: Well one time we held the ball too long, one time we got the protection the wrong way. There were some times we got beat, one time a guy tripped on another guy and fell backwards and the guy sacked him. It was a number of different things. One time we got stuck on a game. Some of it was guys not getting open. It's easy to rush the passer when you're [up] 17-3. I hope we get that way some time.

Q: When you look at possible changes on offensive is tough because some of them are established veterans or younger guys you are working on?

A: Yeah, it's tough. It's a tough call but we have to do what's best, what we feel like is best for the football team. It doesn't mean we are going to make any, it just means that we're continually giving guys the opportunity. I still feel like if guys perform then they should have the opportunity to continue to play and if not then we need to look at options.

Q: Who on the offensive line, including practice squad and injured reserve, has made the most progress?

A: I'm not going to talk specifically about the players whether it's good or bad. I'll just keep going from there.  

Q: Do you feel like you have viable options behind the starters on the offensive line?

A: I feel like we have the ability and the talent to play better than what we have, that's what I feel. Whether it's viable options or the guys that are in there, we have the ability to do it. Now are we getting it done? No. So, the guys overall they're not bad football players, they're just not playing real good right now.  

Q: With all of the fires you've had to put out already did you even think the offensive line might be one of them?

A: Well I anticipated that our offensive line would be a strength going into the season. I'm trying to get this football team to develop the mentality and the mindset that I have and I obviously haven't done a good enough job yet so I've got to keep grinding on them. I think some of it showed last week defensively in the fact that we corrected a lot of things that we put a lot of emphasis on. I'm going to continue to try to get this football team the way I want it. 

Q: Do you think that any of this stuff might be because a lot of the leaders on this team are hurt and not practicing?

A: No, it's not that. I go back, I just kind of flew off the handle a little bit yesterday, which I'm kind of emotional guy but it is not because of a lack of discipline. We're not performing as well as we need to and it's not about the leadership or it's not guys that aren't playing. Everybody plays with guys that are hurt. We're not looking for excuses, we're looking for solutions and that's what I'm trying to do is trying to find solutions. 

Q: You mentioned Zimmer being Zimmer and flying off the handle and this is obviously your first year as a head coach.

A: This is not the first year I've flown off the handle.

Q: But more people are listening now that you're the head coach.

A: I'm sure they are.

Q: Is that anything you have to change maybe emotionally holding some back because it's human nature that you'd be mad after a loss?

A: I'm always going to be pretty honesty I think. That's my creed as best I can be and I'll continue always to try and be honest with you and maybe do a better job of trying not to let some things bother me as much and I am learning, trying to be a good head coach. I'm trying to do a better job every day, every single game. I'm not perfect just like the players aren't. I'll just keep trying to do better and trying to get my team to be better.

Q: Do you think you've already gotten the players attention after yesterday's game?

A: I want them to understand that it's not okay to lose. That's what I want them to understand. I want them to understand that it's not okay to lose, that we have to change the mentality and the mindset of this. I can remember telling the defense the same thing in Cincinnati a long, long time ago that we have to develop this mindset that it's not okay to lose, it's not business as usual. I'm not very accepting of these kinds of things.

Q: Did it take you awhile to establish that mentality in Cincinnati?

A: I don't know, I'm pretty hard-headed, so however long it takes, it's going to take.

Q: What do you have to safeguard Teddy Bridgewater against?

A: I believe with all of my heart that Teddy Bridgewater is going to be the franchise quarterback here for a long, long time, and I believe that the team believes that too. I think guys here in this organization, the players, everybody believes that this guy will be the future and a bright future for this organization. We have to make sure that we continue to help him to be successful. Whether that's playing or coaching or whatever it is. The one interception, the first interception that he had, he thought the safety was going to grab the guy that was running across him and he didn't. I think that one was a new one for him. The other two were tipped balls, I shouldn't say they weren't his fault, but they were two. I'm glad that he's got his low spot out of the way and we're ready to go back to work.

Q: What went into your decision to defer the coin toss and can you identify the defense's issues starting a game?

A: We got a 3-and-out against Green Bay, too. I feel like you can get an extra possession if you do things right. If you play defense first, plus you can hopefully get good field position. It had nothing to do with anything else about putting it on the defense or anything like that. It was just my philosophy, you'd say.

Q: Do you have a sense of what needs to be done to limit points on opponent's opening drives?

A: The first drive, thinking back on it. We had the screen pass and we messed that up. We didn't get off a couple of blocks, we had one guy loaf. That was the big one and then we made a mistake in the redzone on the touchdown pass. And then the one run that popped out of there, we had a guy clean in the hole. I don't think it was anything, first series, second series, third series, it's whatever.

Q: Will you be more involved on the offensive side of the ball from here on out?

A: I have 100% confidence in Norv Turner and the offensive staff. That doesn't mean that I won't have more of a point of emphasis with some of the players offensively. Like I said last week, I feel like defensively the things that we emphasized as a defense and the things that we put a special lot of focus in, one of the drills we did was some extra emphasis on it. I do believe players if they understand you're serious about it and you put some extra effort into it and some point of emphasis they will respond. I'll be with the offense a little bit more, probably.

Q: Can Jerome Felton help with the pass protection if he is in the game more?

A: Sometimes when you bring the fullback in they bring a lot more guys in. When we did last week, they seemed to be blitzing extra guys. It's a little bit of a catch-22.* *

Q: Is Jerick McKinnon your starting running back?

A: I thought Jerick did a good job this week, so we will just continue to see where it's at.

Q: What prompted that change?

A: Some of the things you saw him do Sunday, make some explosive plays.

Q: Teddy Bridgewater talked about needing to get through the progressions a little bit faster did that show up when you reviewed the Lions game?

A: Yeah, there was a couple that he looked to one side and was a little late. That's not like him, he's not been like that at all.

Q: Is Jerome Felton's usage going to be different without Adrian Peterson?

A: No, I think each game you have a certain number. Like I said, it depends a little bit about what the defense is doing at the time, too. You don't go in with a certain number, "Hey, we are going run this personnel six times or 12 times." I guarantee that if we were winning late in the game, he would get a lot more snaps.

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