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Zimmer Addresses The Media on Monday

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

Well, after reviewing the tape, I thought offensively we did some very good things. I think this is Teddy (Bridgewater's) third week in a row that he's completed over 70 percent, we were good on third downs, I thought we ran the ball affectively, offensive line fought their rear ends off and fought, special teams we outplayed them except for the bad snap at the end of the ball game and then defensively we were very, very poor. I'm trying to figure out how we can go from playing so good one week to playing so poorly the next week. That's kind of disappointing to me. But we're going to get back going and continue to find out more about these guys this as we get going and get ready to go play Chicago.

Q: Is that as upset as you've been with the defense this season?

A: That was the worst we've played all year, maybe one of the worst defensive performances I've seen in a long time, but definitely this year, for sure.

Q: What do you think led to some over the coverage breakdowns?

A: I don't know, maybe I had too much in. I don't know, maybe I had too much stuff in, maybe we were confused. But we had 11 penalties on defense alone. If you're going to have 11 penalties on one side of the ball, especially defensively, you're not going to win very many games. That was extremely disappointing. Until you stop beating yourselves you're not going to beat anybody.  

Q: Are you surprised that you're going in to Week 17 and you still don't have a handle on who your defense is?

A: Not really. I think for the most part I know who they are. I don't know who they were Sunday. I think they were. It's disappointing to me that, I mean we had guys who are normally good players that played poorly, I mean really poorly. That surprised me. Guys that you know you can count on that didn't play good, that's frustrating. I don't know. I don't know what it is.

Q: Do you see any value in these losses at some point building some mental toughness?

A: I talked to the team about this this morning, when I talk about toughness there's a lot more involved than just being physical. There's being tough in the fourth quarter, being smart in the fourth quarter, walking away from a guy hitting you instead of turning around and head-butting him – that takes toughness, too. Winning these games at the end of the game, that's a lot about mental toughness. We've shown mental toughness in some games – in Tampa we went down and scored and won in overtime, the Jets, Carolina, Redskins, some of those – and then we've not been very good in some of the critical situations. That does surprise me that we don't, third-and-20 or something we let them have an out – a completion. First-and-I don't know whatever it was, we get a pass interference in the end zone in a situation like that, I mean that's dumb. That's what I'm frustrated about. And losses don't help me.

Q: Do you kind of feel that from players and everybody involved that there's something to prove.

A: Definitely.  

Q: With starting Andrew Sendejo over Robert Blanton was it you wanted to see what Sendejo could do or that Blanton wasn't ready?

A: I thought Sendejo played pretty good the week before. 

Q: Was it that touchdown play that got Sendejo pulled?

A: No, he got injured during the game. 

Q: Has it been a frustration for you that teams are consistently able to run the ball on you even though that's been one of your major points of emphasis?

A: Well I don't think that we were as bad in the running game. Their longest run was like 11 yards (14) and it was a bad play by a couple of guys that allowed it to get the perimeter. We did some good things in the running game yesterday, not all the way across the board, not good enough. I can't remember the last time I've given up 400 yards passing or if there ever has been one. We didn't do anything right.

Q: Adam Thielen got more chances on offense yesterday than he has in most games this season. What played in to that? Did you have guys that were injured or banged up?

A: Yes, some guys got banged up, some guys I think got winded.

Q: How much of the pass defense starts with not being able to get enough of a rush on Ryan Tannehill?

A: I thought we would rush better than we did in the game but there were a lot of times that we rushed and let him get out of the pocket that allowed big things to happen. We did not rush well, I mean we hit him a lot, but we didn't allow ourselves to finish a lot of the sacks because you get to the edge and the guy runs around the outside and as teams are doing they're getting the ball out quick on us so we've got to cover better.

Q: Did you feel that there was too much freelancing on defense?

A: There was a lot of it. There was a lot of it, yeah. There were times when guys lined up where I didn't know where they were lining up so that's probably an issue, isn't it?

Q: How much of the issues were caused by Anthony Barr not being able to play?

A: That didn't have anything to do with it. (Anthony) Barr is a good player and if he was playing it would help us, that had nothing to do with it. Q: Does not having Anthony Barr in the lineup change the way you call plays?

A: Some things, yes. You're always going to change calls based on who you have and who you don't have and who they have and who they don't have. Yeah, there's some things that we were doing more often than what we're doing now because we don't have the same personnel.

Q: Have you been able to talk to Chad Greenway about his knee and also his schedule this week?

A: I've talked to Chad, yes. I know that he's gone today and tomorrow and we will communicate more as the week goes on. Find out how he's doing.

Q: Is he physically healthy enough to play?

A: I don't know.

Q: What did you see from Brandon Watts?

A: I saw a pulled hamstring on about six plays.

Q: Enough to make any impression on him?

A: Doesn't have much stamina. You pull a hamstring in six plays, that's the third hamstring he's had this year.

Q: Any thoughts on shutting Kyle Rudolph down for the year?

A: If he can play, he will play.

Q: Does it make it any easier preparing for Chicago knowing that Jay Cutler will start with the injury to Jimmy Clausen?

A: Yeah, it was a pretty good lick he took. I don't know, the way we played yesterday, we need to focus on ourselves.

Q: How important is it to see how these guys respond after yesterday's game?

A: I don't know. We will have to find that out. It will be a good question.

Q: How long does it take you to wash yesterday's performance out of your system?

A: We have to move on, but I'm disappointed with how we played as a defense. I'm not disappointed with how we played on offense, and we had the bad snap on special teams. When I continue to watch (Teddy) Bridgewater, I'll probably be an offensive coach this week, maybe. We will see. Actually, I was coaching offense yesterday. No, I'm kind of an emotional guy and sometimes it just bothers me when people don't do what you ask them to do. If we could understand as a group, as a team, as a unit, if we do what we're supposed to do, good things will happen. Throughout most of the season, the defense has done that. They've done what they're supposed to do, lined up and done this and done that, and for the most part good things have happened for them. So, those things bother me, mistakes bother me, penalties bother me, selfishness bothers me. I've tried to preach the team is important and understanding your role and understanding where you're supposed to be and everybody else understanding, that's why we have this room in here is so that we can all understand what we're trying to get done and that's what bothers me the most. Our guys care on both sides of the ball. The football team cares. They didn't perform defensively yesterday. I thought Bridgewater played excellent. Three weeks in a row he's over 70%, the quarterback rating was what, 114 yesterday? That brings a lot of hope, because at some point in time, I will get this defense fixed. It may not be this week, it may not be until middle of the year, but it will get fixed you can bet your butt on that.

Q: How do you approach this final week of the season are you looking at your team in a different way looking at your personnel heading into the offseason?

A: No, not really. It's focus on Chicago and go from there. Then after the season, we will make those decisions on who we want to keep, who we don't want to keep, maybe guys don't want to be here with how I am, too. We will worry about all of that after the season.

Q: Would you consider playing guys that haven't got a lot of time to figure out more about them?

A: No. Most of the guys that are active have been playing, for the most part. There's a couple of guys, but no.

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