Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
We started preliminary preparations today for Chicago, it's a great rivalry between the Bears and the Vikings, a lot of history and a lot of tradition. It'll be fun to get out in the weather again and play. Today, obviously, was a little too rough for us to go out. We're working on getting a heated field, but it's still on the boat coming over from Europe, they didn't expect the snow quite this soon, but we will get it. Regarding Adrian (Peterson), we've put out a press release. We support him, but the whole thing is out of our hands, so I respect the questions that I'm sure you're going to ask, but I'm going to stick to that statement.
Q: Are you worried about the Adrian Peterson situation becoming a distraction?
A: More than distractions that we've had this season? No. This team has been pretty resilient, pretty focused on everything that we've done to this point. We're going to continue to prepare, just like we always have. We're going to continue to work. When it comes time to make those decisions, then we will make those.
Q: Has the NFL given you a timetable on their decision?
Q: Will you prepare as if Adrian Peterson is not going to be there until you hear otherwise?
A: Correct, we just prepare like he's not going to be here, until we hear differently.
Q: Once the NFL comes to their decision, do you expect Peterson to rejoin the team immediately?
A: I'm not going to deal with the hypotheticals of what the NFL says, or the League says, it's regarding the regulations and when those decisions are made, then we can make decisions. Until then, really our hands are tied, there's really nothing we can do about it, other than what I've said all along, we love the kid, he's done everything I've asked him to do and we support him and we want him to get through this for him, then we will worry about all of the other things we have to deal with at that point in time.
Q: How did you spend your bye week, did you watch film in front of a fire?
A: I did do that, I watched my iPad in front of the wood-burning stove in my barn, quite a bit of it, yeah. Did a little hunting and just got away a little bit.
Q: What did you see from the guys in today's practice, was there an issue with memory for them?
A: It's actually what I told the team this morning when I met with them was, I was curious to find out how they were mentally with their techniques, their footwork, their hand placements, the splits, everything that they did, and actually I was impressed today and I don't get impressed much.
Q: Some teams have trouble out of the bye, some are really good, what's the difference?
A: Sometimes it's who you play. Sometimes it's the quarterback. I know it's a stat that a lot of people like to use coming out of byes, this and that. Usually, the good football teams win more than the others, would be my guess.
Q: What did you see in watching the Chicago game last night?
A: I thought Green Bay looked really good. They're a good football team. I watched it like a fan last night, last night I was actually watching the game and watching some of their things on the iPad last night at home.
Q: Did you do much of a self-scout during the bye week?
A: We did, we did quite a bit in areas we need to improve on, different techniques. It's more about refinement now, I think during this time of the season, making sure that in some cases, I felt like we gave a little bit too much leeway in splits and alignments and things that we're doing and we need to be a little bit more precise. I think that's some of it, it's also evaluating on both sides of the ball what we're doing on 3rd downs, what we're doing in the blitz game on both sides of the ball. The running game on both sides of the ball, we did a pretty in-depth study.
Q: When you're playing a team coming off a big loss is there a concern that they may change things drastically, making for a more difficult scout?
A: They've had nine games of pretty much what they do. I'm sure they'll change some, they'll look at some of the things they did and change. They've been working pretty hard from training camp going forward. I'm sure they'll be angry when they come out. No one likes to get thumped, just like we've been thumped a few times, too. That's what the in-game adjustments are for, when you get things you start talking about those situations that come up.
Q: Can you elaborate on the heated field?
A: We've got like a bubble that's going out that's going to heat the field, keep it from freezing, so we can get out there and practice in the weather. We'll have heaters like 40 yards of heat vents for the players when they are on the sideline but the field will be heated so it's not frozen. The Wilfs had purchased that and we just didn't expect it to be this bad this soon.
Q: Is that something you asked for?
A: I did not ask for it but we talked about it. If we were going to get outside this is the way we had to do it.
Q: Where is it coming from?
*Q: What country? *
A: I don't know. It's on a ship right now. All I know is it's on a ship.
Q: Is the goal to be able to practice outside as much as possible?
A: Depending on who we are playing. If it's blizzarding and coming down hard then we'll probably go in here to get practice done but we want to try and go outside as much as possible when we're playing in these conditions. When I was in Cincinnati we didn't have an indoor (facility) so we went outside every day unless it was really bad then we bused up to the University of Cincinnati. I want that to be our mindset. It doesn't matter what it's like outside it's time to go so they aren't asking, "Are we going outside today? Are we going inside?" They can assume we are going outside unless I tell them differently.
Q: After having the bye week to reflect, how do you judge where this team is at?
A: Well we are 4-5. I think we've played better recently. You know it's just so hard to put an evaluation on it because each game is so different. The thing I like the most right now at this point in time if we are looking for positives is the last two ballgames we were able to hang in there in the fourth quarter and win the ballgame and so the resiliency and the tough-minded attitude things like that I think that pleased me so hopefully we can continue it on and our only focus right now is the Bears and what we have to do going forward.
Q: What are your thoughts on Teddy Bridgewater both on and off the field? What do you see for his future going forward?
A: You know Teddy off the field is the same as he is on the field. He's a quality young man who is a terrific person who works extremely hard. His mom raised him great. He's got great family values, he's polite, humble with a burning desire inside to be good and not just be a good football player but be a good person. I believe his future is extremely bright. He works so hard and he does so many good things and he'll continue to do good things.
Q: Do you have a health update on Kyle Rudolph?
A: He practiced a little bit today so he ran routes and did a little bit everything, more than individual he did stuff. We're hopeful but we'll see as the week goes on.
Q: Do you see the next four games, including three at home, as a stretch for you guys to really get back in the playoff race?
A: I look at each game individually, I don't worry about their records, I don't worry about three weeks from now or who we play or where we play. What I look at is how we're playing, how we're practicing, how we're studying and trying to get our team to understand that these next seven ballgames are why we've worked so hard. That we have to be able to push and be great in this time of the year. The old college saying, "The fans will remember the games in November," so it's time for us to try to get remembered.
Q: Why wasn't Pat Devlin at practice?
A: Man, you guys don't miss a beat. He got hurt in the weight room this morning. I don't know how bad it is.
Q: Do you expect to keep him on the practice squad?
A: I don't know. I don't know how bad it is.
Q: What are your thoughts on Orlando Thomas?
A: I just remember watching him. I didn't study defensive guys as much but I know that he played for the Vikings for a long time, he battled a terrible disease and I know that everybody here, myself and our team, our thoughts go out to him and his family.