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Zimmer Addresses The Media on Monday

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

Yesterday's game I thought there were some things we did well, obviously not enough. We're not into moral victories around here. We've got to keep pushing, keep grinding to get over the hump. It's all part of getting them to understand the things we have to do to win the football game. We'll just keep going and going from here, keep fighting, keep studying, preparing. The team works great every day and now we've just got to get some wins.

Q: There is a report out there that Phil Loadholt will miss the rest of the season with a pectoral injury. Can you comment on what his situation is?

A: Yeah, he's going to have surgery probably Friday.

Q: How big of a loss is it losing a guy like Phil, especially in the running game?

A: I think Phil is a great person. He's very conscientious, works hard, he's got a great heart. So, that's just part of football. Obviously we'll miss him but we're not going to let it hold us back from what we're trying to get done.

Q: How hard has it been on offense with the injuries that you've had?

A: Everybody has injuries. That's just the way it goes. That's how things happen and you've just got to keep playing.  

Q: Is it a muscle or tendon injury?

A: I don't know. It's a pectoral tear, whatever that is. I don't know if that's a tendon or a muscle. My kinesiology wasn't as good at Illinois State, or I shouldn't say that, I'm sure the class was great at Illinois State but I wasn't a very good student.

Q: Do you see Mike Harris as Phil Loadholt's replacement?

A: Probably. We'll see. We're talking about all of those things now.

Q: Do you like the personality that this defense has established of playing hard for an entire game even this deep into the season?

A: I think my expectations would really drop if that's all I was looking for. It's part of our job to play hard and play fast and physical. But my expectations are way higher than just playing hard.

Q: Matt Kalil talked to us today about the frustration that he was feeling after yesterday's game. Do you sense him pressing or do you see some disappointment in him and how do you evaluate that?

A: I think that all of us, we put a lot into playing every week and going out here and practicing and working real hard and then pouring our heart and soul into the games on Sunday and everybody is in an emotional state and disappointed. He was wrong in what he did. We appreciate 99.9 percent of the fans, they're great for us and he should have conducted himself in a better manner. It's a good lesson for all of us. I know in the past there have been times I've been upset with people, too, but they pay money to go watch us play and watch us perform so they have a right to express their opinion. We just have to keep our composure and not let things get out of hand, I think.

Q: Do you think that yesterday was a step back for him after you said he had been progressing?

A: The biggest thing for him was the penalties this week I thought. The one facemask he had was the guy kind of dipped inside and his hand got sloppy and he grabbed the facemask. The one holding penalty on the first run in the second half probably could have gone either way. Penalties are killing us and we can't have penalties. We've got to continue to understand that. I know that he's fighting all of the time to do the best job that he can.

Q: Are you worried about his confidence at all?

A: I don't know. I heard that he had mentioned about the confidence thing. That's got a lot to do with him. We can try and build his confidence but you've got to go out and play good. That's part of it. That's how you get confident, you play good. You see teams that have that kind of swagger because they're playing good. They have confidence; they have belief in what they can do. A lot of that is going to be up to him.  

Q: Is there something mechanically with Teddy Bridgewater that caused so many balls to soar in the first half?

A: Well he wasn't as accurate in this ballgame as he normally is. I think he might have been getting under and dropping the ball down a little bit too much and the ball was sailing on him. He needs to be more accurate as well.

Q: Is Austin Wentworth a guy you might consider at right tackle?

A: We've been practicing him there as well.

Q: Do you expect to bring someone in to help out with the offensive line whether it's starting or for depth?

A: Well we are continually looking. We haven't said we're for sure going to do this or for sure going to do that yet but we're going to continue to look. 

Q: What did you see from Xavier Rhodes?

A: When Xavier plays with proper technique, he continues to play well. I know he doesn't have a lot of interceptions but like I've said before for us there's a lot to do with contested catches and if you're on the guy and if your guy is not catching the ball, that's a big plus too. He had a big play on third-and-1. He contested a third-and-7. They threw the ball down the sideline on him. The kid made a great catch but he was out of bounds. They did hit a slant on him but he was all over the guy and didn't get the ball out. I'm pleased with his progress and where he's going. He studies really hard. He's still a young, young guy in the development of where I think his football career can go. It's nice to have a guy that you can say hey you've got this guy and let's go.

Q: Do you start to see him understand where to draw the line with his aggressiveness?

A: Yeah and we continue to work with him on that. A lot of the times an open hand is a closed hand and we've talked to him quite a bit about that. As I was saying before, the penalties, obviously we don't want to have those but some guys probably aren't close enough to get penalties. At least we're on guys and we're on top of them and we're fighting them and competing against them. He's doing better there but when his technique is good he's pretty good.

Q: Is Matt Asiata continuing to go through the concussion protocol?

A: He is.

Q: How do you think Joe Banyard did yesterday?

A: I thought he did some good things. His yards after contact was good, had some good runs. Had a good run on the one 3rd down, caught the ball a couple of times, the ball was not exactly in the right place and he made catches, continued to help keep drives alive.

Q: What is your thinking regarding Jerome Felton and his snap count?

A: Some of the personnel groupings that we get into, some of them are dictated by what the defense is doing and what we feel like are good plays at that time. It's really no indication of Jerome and what he's done. Defensively, there were some guys I wanted to get in the ball game that I didn't get in, just because of the way the game is going, things are happening. It's just a week-to-week proposition, maybe he will get 28 (snaps) next week, who knows.

Q: Was Cordarrelle Patterson limited before his injury?

A: No, I don't believe so.

Q: It was only the injury that limited Cordarrelle Patterson's playing time?

A: (nods in agreement)

Q: What is it about Teddy Bridgewater that makes you feel so good about him and his potential?

A: I think the things that I see every day in practice that most people aren't privy to. I think that his composure and the way that he adjusts during the course of the ball game. He's had a couple of slow starts but seems to, when he has a better feel for what the defense is doing, how he adjusts and how he continues to go. Maybe the biggest thing is when the game is on the line, he seems to make a lot of plays.

Q: Do you need to start with a no-huddle offense?

A: That's a possibility. What I don't want to do is go to a no-huddle when you're playing Aaron Rodgers and you get three incomplete passes and 13 seconds run off the clock. I think each game is different. We are changing up the tempo throughout different times of the game helps him as well, it doesn't necessarily have to be completely no-huddle, but I think the tempo change has helped him, yes.

Q: What do you think contributes to the camaraderie that Teddy Bridgewater and Charles Johnson have established?

A: You'd have to ask him about his camaraderie. I think he just tries to find guys that are open and throw it to them. I think he's good with (Greg) Jennings, I think he's good with (Kyle) Rudolph and Chase Ford and Cordarrelle (Patterson). I mean, I don't know.

Q: Do you view Charles Johnson as a good, young route runner?

A: I still think that he's a young receiver that is getting better. He's been here six or seven weeks now and hasn't been through anything. The fortunate for him, was he was in the system before this, so he's got a little bit more of an understanding of how to do things.

Q: How do you think Shamar Stephen did filling in for Sharrif Floyd?

A: I thought he did well, I thought he did well. He's got to continue to develop as a pass rusher, but he's doing a lot of really good things for a young player, always has been. Good effort, good at the point of attack, good at understanding things. He played two positions, he played a 3-technique and the nose tackle this week, he continues to get better and he keeps getting more reps. 

Q: With the shipment in from England, do you want to practice outside this week?

A: Everything depends on the day. But yeah, we are prepared to go outside. If it's windy like it is today, we won't go out. If we can get out, we will get out.

Q: Does David Yankey have a ways to go before he's ready to go?

A: A possibility, we're looking at him every day, so we will see.

Q: Do you sense that this team is trending towards where you want it to be?

A: You always have positives and then negatives. I do think they're developing a lot of the mindset, the way we work. The way we work in the weight room. Intangible things a lot of you don't see. We're on time, we act like professionals in a lot of different ways. We need it to show up more on Sundays with wins and that's really where we're at. But I don't have a problem with the football team and the way they do things. We just need to win.

Q: With this being Thanksgiving week, what are you thankful for?

A: That's a pretty deep question. I haven't really thought about it. I've been so involved in work. I'm thankful for the guys that I get to work with every single day. I'm thankful for my family and the coaches that we have. I'd be more thankful with some wins.

Q: When you look back at the 1-yard touchdown pass, what happened there?

A: We made a mistake. Two guys covered one. To me, it was very impressive. He's rolling out to his right, the play was designed to go to his right, the route was designed to go to his right and for him to be able to see the guy standing in the far corner of the end zone is pretty good vision and a heck of a throw, the way he threw it, too.

Q: Was it a linebacker that messed up in coverage on the short touchdown pass?

A: Yeah, it doesn't necessarily have to be a linebacker that messed up. But somebody made a mistake, yeah.

Q: Was that the longest 1-yard touchdown pass you've seen?

A: Pretty long. He threw it good. He's a good player. The guy is a tremendous challenge each time you play him and they've got some great offensive weapons and I have a lot of respect for what he does every day on the field, every time I've seen him anyway.

Q: When some of these losses pile up do you look differently about how your team handles losses and how they conduct themselves going forward?

A: There was a situation earlier this year that we got beat and there was some joking going on afterwards, and I put a stop to it pretty quickly. I think that's part of it, is learning about what I expect and what I want to do and where I want to go from here. They're taking the losses hard.

Q: When you see some goals start to slip away, how do you evaluate your players, are you harder on them to see if they can handle losses and improve?

A: I've said this many, many times, the teams that I admire the most are the same teams each week. Whether they win by 50 or they lose by 50, they're the same team. They come back the next week and they get going to work. There's a few of them in this league that are like that. That's my goal is to get to that point where, what happened the week before is done with and you move on about your business and you go. I think that's how you stop from being a yo-yo or a roller coaster football team, is you focus on the task at hand and keep going forward that way.

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