Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Yesterday was a good victory for us. I think it's important for our team that we win games like this – we fight, we come back from a tough situation and go down and score. We're trying to develop a mind set of a tough, smart, physical football team that will stand up to any kind of adversity that we can and when we have the opportunities to take steps like that, I think it's good for not only our mindset but the way that we continue to practice and work. I know I gave Alex and his grandfather a ball but after watching the tape I gave one to Anthony Barr, too.
Q: Chad Greenway said that the defensive scheme fits Anthony Barr's talent in that you can have him do multiple things. What has given you the faith to be able to give him multiple responsibilities like that?
A: That's kind of the vision that we had for the player when we drafted him. You'd have to ask Chad [Greenway] about the scheme fit, I don't know. We just try to get players to do what we ask them to do and I think he'd probably fit in a lot of schemes.
Q: You've seen a lot of defensive rookies in your time. Where does Anthony Barr fit in terms of being able to splash this early?
A: Well it's hard to rank guys but I'm trying to think of the best rookie I've ever had, defensive rookie. It was probably DeMarcus Ware. He was a transition guy too going from defensive end in college to linebacker but Anthony's done a great job and as I've said before, he's very, very talented but I think the thing I love the most about him is the way he studies when we're in here in meetings – he takes a lot of notes, he's very prideful about not making the same mistake twice and he continues to get better. He wants to be very, very good and the other thing, as I've said before, there are a lot of other people helping him.
Q: Do you see any similarities between him and Ware?
A: I don't like to compare guys like that. They are all different guys. DeMarcus is a fantastic player and it's only been eight games for Anthony so we'll hold on the Canton votes for a while.
Q: What did you see from Sharrif Floyd?
A: I thought he played well. He's getting better rushing the quarterback. He was better against the running game yesterday. He's a guy that continually tries to do the best he can and he's helping us play good defensively too.
Q: Can you talk about how this scheme is fitting him better than last year? How does that help in what you're asking him to do technique wise.
A: It's honestly really hard for me to comment about last year's scheme and what they did. We always try to figure out what these guys can do good and I think Coach [Andre] Patterson is doing a great job of coaching him, I think Sharrif would tell you that. I think our guys are learning the things we're trying to teach them and hopefully it continues to show on Sundays.
Q: Do you find yourself more impressed with Anthony being a transition guy or do you like being able to mold a guy like that?
A: Well it's a good question. I think I'm impressed with the way that he's been able to adapt to a new position but one of the reasons why I like young guys is because I like to be able to teach them what I want them to know and not what they've known in the past. I'm not saying what I'm teaching is right or wrong, it's just the way we do it. We're able to get him thinking in a way that we think and I think that helps every way around.
Q: Anthony said he had three or four minuses after watching the tape. Is there a common theme among them to improve?
A: No, I mean usually when he makes mistakes he improves. Everybody's going to have three or four, that's pretty low for however, 70 plays he played or whatever it was. He keeps working on the things that he needs to keep getting better at and he had a great rush, hit the quarterback down by about their 10-yard line. There was one rush he wasn't as good so I guess that might have been a minus but we're pretty happy with Anthony and we'll just keep trying to get him better each week.
Q: When you came in what did you observe from last year's defense that made you confident that you could be good defensively this season?
A: This is the honest to God's truth, when I went to Cincinnati they weren't very good defensively. I looked at the tapes just like I looked at the tapes here but I don't ever have a pre-conceived idea of what we can be or what we can't be until we get out on the field and watch them and see how they learn and see how they do those things. We did bring in quite a few players. Linval Joseph has come in and Captain Munnerlyn, Anthony Barr, Shamar Stephen, this is a different group and then a bunch of guys that didn't play last year from what I understand – Sharrif [Floyd] and Everson [Griffen]. Jasper Brinkley wasn't here. I try not to look at those things and then figure out where we can be. It's really all about each week and we've played eight games, we still have a long way to go to be where I want to get to.
Q: Where did you expect this defense to be?
A: I have no idea. Honestly, I had no idea. I'm not trying to give you the media answer. We just go about each week and I know my expectations and I try and get the players to understand the expectations and how you can be a good defensive football team, a good overall football team and what I think is important to doing those things. I don't ever go out saying, just like the record, I don't think okay we're going to be this record or we're going to be this good on defense or we're going to be this good on offense. Each week is a different week in the NFL.
Q: The first four plays of the touchdown drive were running plays, was that a point where you wanted to get back to your roots and force your way down the field?
A: I think that we ran the ball good in that situation, and then we also, when they start loading up like that, I think you have got to take some shots too, and we tried to do that a couple of times. We didn't hit them. We have to continue to do some of those things. We've got to be able to hit some shots down the field in order to get some people to back off us a little bit, too.
Q: Did Teddy Bridgewater audible to a run play on the 29-yard run?
A: We did check. That was a check based on a look that we got.
Q: What do you like about Charles Johnson and what does he bring to your offense?
A: Speed, size, flexibility in the things he can do.
Q: Did you expect him to contribute this early on for you?
A: Well, when we brought him in we did, yes.
Q: Is this what you envisioned with how the defensive line would play the last three games?
A: I like the way they've played the last three weeks. Again, talk to me at the end of the season and I'll tell you what I think. There's a long way to go. I never look at defensive rankings or anything like that until at least Thanksgiving. I think by then you kind of know what you are. I hope we can get better than what we are now.
Q: What do you like from what you've seen from Chase Ford and his ability to bounce back after an injury?
A: He's doing a good job catching the football and using some of his athleticism. He's trying hard as a blocker, so that's one area that he has to continue to improve. And then, it probably did take him a little bit longer just to have some confidence in his foot and where he's at from there.
Q: Has there been a common thread in some of the long passes that Teddy Bridgewater has missed on?
A: We looked at all of those things real hard today, or actually Norv (Turner) and I looked at them a lot last night. Not really, no. Some of them have been outside. Some of them have been inside. He'll hit them.
Q: Did you see anything in training camp to indicate that might be a struggle or has it been because of the recent sacks?
A: No, I don't think so.
Q: Is there any significance in the production you're getting from 3 rookies in Teddy Bridgewater, Anthony Barr and Jerick McKinnon?
A: Yeah, the GM did a good job picking. It's nice to have these young guys, looks like they're going to be good football players. We will still see. I have a lot of confidence in all three of them. I think Jerick has done really a good job. I've said this before, but the last few weeks, the physicality that he's running with is impressive. There was a couple of times yesterday where he made holes himself.
Q: Are you seeing a well-rounded guy in Everson Griffen, not just a pass rusher?
A: He made a great play on the screen yesterday. The reverse was a terrific play. And then he's been doing a really good job in the running game, too. I feel like his game is improving. Sometimes when you get some sacks you get labeled as a pass rusher, but as you know, that's not what we're about. We're about playing team defense and playing the run as a run, and the pass. Some of these sacks that he's getting are because Sharrif Floyd flushed him, or Tom Johnson beat the guy inside and pushed him to him. But he has great effort and motor and then he's also had some really good rushes, too. I don't know, maybe I'm just old school but I believe when you get sacks, a lot of it's not you just beat one guy, one-on-one, and it happens, but a lot of times the ball gets out. Sacks are generally because he's holding the ball a little bit and something happens and the ball comes back to you. I think for the most part, we're doing a good job on the back end too. Maybe we're getting the quarterback to hold it a little bit longer than he wants to.
Q: What's the status with Cordarrelle Patterson's ankle?
A: He's fine. He had a bruise, he will be fine. He's out of the boot today.
Q: Do you plan on making changes to some special team units due to penalties?
A: Possibly. We had a long talk today, me and the team, about some of these things that are causing us to not give them the opportunity to win football games. We will continue to look at it. I think they understand the message pretty clear right now. So, we will see.
Q: What happened on some of Jeff Locke's touchbacks?
A: I really think Jeff is a good punter, I really do. I think he is a very, very good punter. I think maybe he tries to be too precise sometimes and I think he probably understands what I'm looking for now too.
Q: What does a kicker like Blair Walsh do for your confidence as a coach?
A: Blair is a terrific kicker. He's really a terrific kicker. He does a lot of really, really good things. Obviously, he's a great field goal kicker but he helps us with field position by kicking the ball out. He can do a lot of things with the football. I have a lot of confidence in him.
Q: Was that special teams meeting a weekly meeting?
A: This was a team meeting. I wanted to make sure everybody on the team understood.
Q: Mike Mauti had a big special teams hit late in the 4th quarter, what does a play like that do for the defense that's about to take the field?
A: I think anytime you get a big hit, guys get excited about it. He obviously did on that kickoff. Again, other guys forced the ball to him, where he was supposed to be.
Q: How is Vlad Duccasse doing and who is going to be your starting right guard?
A: I don't know. I haven't talked to him yet, but I think we will see how practice goes this week.