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Zimmer Addresses The Media on Monday

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

Congratulations to Coach (Bud) Grant for having the street named after him, it's a great honor and he deserves it. He's a great man and a great coach. As far as the game yesterday, I feel like it was a good team win, I thought we played good in all phases, not all of the time, but we played good in all phases. Special teams, obviously, showed up big, not just in the punt blocks, but also in the return game. We did a lot of good things there. Offensively, I thought we started out well and had a little slow down right after the halftime, but we picked it back up again and did the things we needed to win. Defensively, for the most part, I thought we did some good things, there's still some things we've got to clean up.

Q: What's the biggest thing that Xavier Rhodes has shown in his improvement?

A: Not only his technique, but also his confidence in understanding, really, what we're trying to get done. I try to preach to these guys every day in practice, don't let your guy catch the ball. I think that mentality is starting to show up a little bit with him. I also think some of the toughness things are showing up with him, as well. I expect our corners to be tough guys and support the run, not come out of the games, things like that. I think he's trying to do that as well.

Q: Was part of the original game plan to have Joe Banyard be the No. 2 back in the first half and Ben Tate III the No. 2 back in the second half?

A: Just kind of ended up working out that way. We missed the protection on the one, one of the backs missed the protection, so he didn't get to play quite as much.* *

Q: Could you talk about how far Everson Griffen has come this season and if he's met or exceeded your expectations?

A: My expectations are always pretty high for everybody. So, I don't know about exceeding or meeting, but he works real hard. I think he's bought into everything we're trying to get accomplished. Honestly, I could care less if he gets three sacks next year or 28. The thing that impressed me more this week about him, was he got double-teamed and chipped a lot with the backs and sometimes those guys get frustrated and they kind of go off the reservation a little bit and try and do their own thing and he did not. He stuck with the plan and when he got the opportunities to get some one-on-ones, he took advantage of them. Those kinds of things, to me, are where I see progress. The things I said about him yesterday, I still feel the same way.

Q: How do you think Mike Harris did in his first start?

A: I thought he did well.  He battles, he battles hard, he competes, he had a couple of rough plays, but I thought for the first time he did well.

Q: Was that a good gauge for Mike Harris to face Charles Johnson in his first start?

A: Yeah, I mean, Charles Johnson is a good player. We'll just keep going forward from there.

Q: Cordarrelle Patterson expressed confusion about his lack of playing time this week, do you anticipate addressing that with him this week?

A: If he asks me I will. He missed two days of practice, he missed Wednesday and Thursday of practice, and so it's hard to get involved too much in the game when you're missing that much time. He came back on Friday and practiced. I'm going to keep saying this over and over until somebody believes me, that I am in this guy's corner. The biggest thing for me is that I say, "We don't want him in there. We don't want to do this, we don't want to do that." That's ridiculous. I want every one of our players to be good and to be great. We all want instant gratification, including myself, but sometimes this takes a little bit longer than it does. I have high-hopes for him, I'm in his corner, I want him to be a good player. It would help this football team, it would help me, it would help everybody around that he becomes a great player. It may be not right away. I keep going back, and I had players in Cincinnati, defensive players, who were great players now, that got to play sparingly their first or second year, not just because somebody was in front of them was a better athlete, but knew what to do all of the time and was kind of grooming the guy along. And I still feel that way about Cordarrelle, he's going to be a good player. I don't have any doubts in my mind about that.

Q: Did Cordarrelle Patterson miss the two days of practice because of a funeral?

A: Yes.

Q: He had a knee problem too?

A: Yeah.

Q: Are the coaches concerned about his knee and ankle and did that affect his playing time?

A: Well he was gone for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, so it's kind of hard to evaluate him. When he came back, his knee looked alright. That wasn't anything about that.

Q: Were you surprised that he missed practice?

A: No. No, he talked to me. Yeah, he talked to me. Everything is good. We make this thing out to be way bigger than what it is. You want to talk about Teddy (Bridgewater)?

Q: How did Teddy Bridgewater's deep ball look?

A: Excellent. I thought it looked great. Threw a great one to Jarius (Wright) on the 3rd-and-2, takes a lot of guts to sit in there, it's 3rd-and-2, their team's got a little momentum at the time. He gets the look he wants, the match-up he wants and he sees it, puts the ball on the money. I thought he threw a great deep ball to Charles Johnson, too.

Q: You talked about his improved ability to make reads and making the throw even if it's not the safest throw, is that something you guys are talking to him about?

A: Not necessarily the safest throw. We're talking to him about making throws and where we think the ball should go in the different coverage. The 3rd-and-13 he threw to Charles Johnson was a big play, and he had to fit it into some tight coverage on that one. I just think the more familiar he gets with the things that he's seeing. I think he's doing a great job with the offense. I talk to a lot of players during the week and I talk to a lot of veteran players, and I ask them about Teddy, "What do you think of this guy?" They all tell me that they love him, number one, and they have great confidence in him in being a great quarterback. Because they watch him every day, just like I do, they appreciate the way that he handles his business, the way he prepares and studies, all of the things that people outside the rooms don't see. A lot of them have been on other teams and seen a lot of other great quarterbacks, too.

Q: Why do you think his accuracy improved so much yesterday over the week before?

A: I don't know. Do you play golf? Well sometimes you're good and sometimes you're bad. I don't know.

*Q: Is there anything mechanically that you worked on? *

A: We work with him on things. He was dropping the ball down a little the week before when he was releasing it. He doesn't have mechanical flaws. His ball, he throws a nice ball.

*Q: What stood out to you on that first drive and what he was able to do? *

A: First drive ran a boot the first play, right? And he had the same deal last week and the guy was covering him and he threw it away. This week he ran for three or four yards. I don't remember what exactly went on honestly; I've been watching the Jets all day. What else happened in the series?    

Q: It was a short field with the situation and he ended it with that Rudolph touchdown?

A: Yeah we hit the boot to Rudolph for the touchdown. He hit Jennings on the third-and-5, right? That's one. He came out of that one, the corner backed off and I think he was looking for the corner route and the corner backed off and he ended up coming back down to him (Jennings).

Q: Was it part of the progression that you keep talking with him is getting off to that kind of start?

A: Well we do talk to him about starting fast and we feel like it's important, especially in his progression that he continues to go that way and start fast. And you never really know how it's going to unfold because you get a lot of different looks. Each week is a different week, honestly. It could change next week, who knows. 

Q: He talked about making better decisions pre-snap. Is that him getting better at diagnosing defenses or trusting what he's seeing?

A: Well, I think both. A lot of times, especially with a young quarterback, people are always trying to give you extra disguises that they haven't had in or haven't showed a lot. You try to get a pre-snap read and then post-snap you clarify what you initially thought. I think that's part of what he's doing, as well.   

Q: For those who weren't there can you talk about the Bud Grant event this morning and how cool it will be to drive down Bud Grant Way on your way to the new stadium.

A: I was not there, I was working. But Bob (Hagan) can tell you.

Q: How cool will it be driving down Bud Grant Way to the new stadium?

A: It's cool for me just having him in the same building, having the office there. I've got my pin on. I think it's great for not only for me and everything that he's done for coaches and coaching but also for the fans. I might get my picture taken in front of the post there.   

Q: Did you feel like him when you saw your breath out there yesterday?

A: A little bit except I heard he didn't let you wear gloves or anything like that. It was like some of those old NFL Films shots where the breath is coming out and it's pretty cold. It was actually kind of fun.

Q: Does he say anything to you about letting the players have heaters on the sidelines?

A: No, he doesn't say anything to me about it. We talk mostly about hunting and fishing.  

Q: Do you have any leaders that embrace the 'mind over matter' mentality? Some guys were without sleeves and I think Captain Munnerlyn said he three layers on.

A: I just let guys be guys. I really don't try to mess with them on game day. During the week is when I try to preach to them about what we're trying to get done. Everybody has different routines on game – some guys like to listen to music, some guys like to sit and pray in the locker room, some guys like to joke around or whatever. To me, just pregame, any of that stuff doesn't matter and however they feel like they can play the best on Sunday, I'm all for it.* *

*Q: Did the league say anything about using the heaters to heat up the footballs? *

A: No, the only thing I heard was that it was there sideline. Was it theres? Or was it ours? Someone told me it was theirs. I don't know. To my knowledge they haven't. Somebody told me their ball boys were doing it. 

*Q: What are your initial thoughts on the Jets? *

A: Well I've been watching a lot of the offense and really they're really talented. Chris Ivory is hard running back. The other running back Chris, he used to be at Tennessee, Chris Johnson has got a lot of speed. D'Brickashaw Ferguson is playing tackle for them; it'll be a good matchup with our defensive end. (Nick) Mangold is the center. They've got Percy Harvin now. They've got a ton of weapons. The receiver from Denver, (Eric) Decker, 87. They've got a ton of weapons. I've really been impressed honestly. They're physical up front, they run the ball hard, they run a ton of different things – Wildcat, reverses, options, boots and throwbacks and all kinds of stuff. I've been impressed. 

Q: Do you envision a running back by committee here in the last month or ideally would you want Jerick McKinnon to be the guy?

A: I don't know yet. We're still evaluating where he's at but we're just going to go with the guys that are playing well.

*Q: What did you think of Ben Tate in his limited action? *

A: Well he had a few plays. He had the one run was a pretty good run, a nine-yard run. The other one he thumped it up in there. At the end of the game they were pretty loaded up trying to stop him in there. He's done some good things in practice. He's got to carry the ball a little tighter.

Q: What did you see from Robert Blanton?

A: Yeah, I thought he did better in coverage this week. I think we had him down around the line of scrimmage a little bit more so that helped him some. But he did a good job on the tight end a couple of times, he did a good job on the receiver a couple of times. For the most part he was in the right place. On the one boot, he almost intercepted. So I thought he did better. 

*Q: Did Anthony Barr check out okay? Is that something that could bother him the rest of the way? *

A: Yes, he checked out okay and we're still evaluating where he's at but I mean there's no structural damage to him at all.

Q: How is Sharrif Floyd doing?

A: Same, actually probably doing better than last week even though we aren't talking about injuries.

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