Head Coach Mike Zimmer
We're getting ready to get in pads this afternoon, so it'll be good to see another part of the progress of the football team. As far as injury updates, we had Cordarrelle (Patterson) taking part in the walk throughs. He'll probably stay with the walk throughs for, I don't know, maybe another day and then we'll get going. Everybody else is basically the same.
Q: Is the Monday night practice a practice or a scrimmage?
A: We are going to have a live goal line session. But it won't be a scrimmage, it'll be a practice, for the most part. I can't remember exactly what's on there but we do have a live goal line session.
Q: Does it amp up the players to put the pads on for the first time?
A: Yeah, I think so. I've heard some comments from guys, "we get to put the pads on, we get to quit playing in underwear," and things like that. I tried to explain to the team yesterday that it's important, and we're going to be in pads, but it's important that we take care of each other. We don't want to be on the ground. We don't want to be taking cheap shots at our football team. We want to still be disciplined and practice should be exactly the same as what we've been doing except it's going to be a little bit more contact, and typically it's up front. We finally get to play some bump and run today, which is good for us, because we need it, we need a lot of work at it. We need to work on offense, getting off the press and with the DBs getting techniques of doing that. Those are two big things and actually I'm probably looking more forward to that than the contact stuff, really.
Q: Do you think Cordarrelle Patterson will be ready for practice tomorrow night?
A: It's a possibility. We've talked about it. We'll just have to see where he's at this afternoon or tomorrow morning.
Q: You have moved Michael Mauti and Chad Greenway around a bit, what is the biggest goal you want out of their versatility?
A: Well the more things you can do the better chance you have to make the football team number one. The more flexibility that you have, the more things that you can do, the more valuable you become. Going into a football game with five or six linebackers, depending on how many we go to the games with, if something happens, you have to be able to go in and play multiple spots. It's just part of it. It's just value of knowing a lot of different positions.
Q: Does that possibly allow you to carry one less player in the linebacker position to fill the last of the roster spots?
A: I don't know. I think that we're going to try to pick the best 53 (players) and not really worry about where we're at that way. We have an idea of how many numbers we want to take in with each position but that all changes. We might go a little light here and a little heavy there. That really wasn't the thinking going into it. It's just trying to find the best combination of guys for this football team and where we can continue to get better.
View images from practice No. 2 of 2014 Verizon Vikings Training Camp which took place on Saturday, July 26.
Q: Sharrif Floyd lost a little bit of weight because he wanted to be more explosive, is it a delicate balance to be both explosive and maintain your strength?
A: It is but a lot about strength is from your butt and your legs and your base and your pad level and those things. Obviously, the bigger you are, it's a little bit easier. But typically the bigger you get, you're not as quick as you were. I don't think that'll be an issue with Sharrif. He's done a really good job in the weight room. We'll find out all those things today when we get the pads on, not just today, but as we start moving forward.
Q: What makes Norv Turner a good complement to you?
A: I don't what kind of complement he is to me, but I'm glad he's here for us. Norv is obviously a very experienced coach. He's won Super Bowls. He's been a head coach three times. He's seen a lot of different things through the course of the years. He's an outstanding offensive football coach that is demanding on the players. He's got a very innovative mind. He's always been great at match-ups and trying to get guys in the right place. And I love the way Norv calls games, having coached against him so many times. He's aggressive, but he's smart about it. He's going to take his shots and if they're not there, he'll get the ball to the other spots. But they've always been a team, playing against him, that's been very, very solid in fundamentals, hopefully like we are, like my guys have been. Technique and then the combinations of the confusion in his motions and shifts, along with the great play action and when you have a back like Adrian, the play action becomes extremely valuable.
Q: Are Audie Cole and Anthony Barr the two you're looking at for that strong side spot?
A: I wouldn't say that. I mean, we're looking at everybody. But those guys have been playing, Audie's been playing some at Mike. We've got a couple other guys in there, but we'll see how it goes. One of the things about training camp and with the players, I know everybody wants to say, "Hey, okay let's see, there's 10 outside linebackers here and six of them are going to make the team." So guys start counting and things like that. But we're looking at the waiver wire every day, we're looking at Canada, so they're competing against everybody else in the league too, hopefully. I know Rick (Spielman) and George Paton they do a great job of scouring the waiver wire and anticipating and trying to find trades. Once we get to where we feel a little bit better about where we're at roster-wise, then I can talk about that a little bit better.
Q: Norv Turner was talking about how the offensive line is becoming the toughest position in the league, have you seen in your career the difficulty of the offensive line increase?
A: Yeah, I'm proud of that too, by the way. Well, it's become such a passing league now that defenses have to figure out ways to affect the quarterback. I've always felt like that the way you affect the quarterback is by pressure and/or disguise or extra people dropping. There's a lot of different ways to affect him. In saying that, as a defensive coach, we're always trying to number one, we're trying to attack weaknesses. We're trying to attack protections which I think that's a lot about what he's talking about because you can give them some different looks. A team that runs the ball very, very well it makes it a little bit more difficult to do some of those things because the more exotic you get, the less fundamental you get in your run game defense. So that's why we've been working real hard with the run game and the play actions off of it, but I think it does make it more difficult because the different types of looks you can get with the offensive line. That's why, not just on the offensive line, but everywhere on our football team, we love to have smart guys. You can't cover every little thing that's going to go about in the course of a game. Things happen and guys have to be able to react quickly and think quickly on their feet. As I've said many, many times, a quote from Bill Parcels is, "Dumb players do dumb things, smart players very seldom do dumb things". He had a big sign, that's why I remembered because I used to look at it every day. I think he might say the same thing about coaches too, maybe I'm one of them, I don't know.
Q: What do you like about Robert Blanton?
A:Robert has honestly impressed me with being in the right place all the time, he has really good ball skills, and he has made a couple really, really nice plays on the ball. He has been very solid and steady, he understands the checks and the really the communication in the back end of where he is supposed to be. What I don't know about him yet is, how he is going to be in the tackling, the run support, the man coverage stuff. I don't know enough about him in that area, but I think we will find a lot about those things in the preseason.
Q: You had a safety converted to nickel back, I think it was Chris Crocker, do you see Robert Blanton might be the kind of person to do that in case you need him?
A:It is possible, Chris (Crocker) coming out of college was a corner, and a nickel back, then he became a safety, kind of like what we are doing with Antone Exum, a little bit. We are always looking for guys who can play the nickel, and part of it is because the offenses now, they will just get in two tight end personnel and spread guys out all over the field, so we used to call it a big nickel, where we can get bigger guys in there, not only him but we have had Harrison do it a little bit. Same thing, the more you can do, like was said earlier, the more we can disguise different things, and where we can use different people, it makes it a little more difficult on the offense. Like we were talking about the linebackers, the more we can do, the more flexibility we have within the defense too and still maintain simplicity.
Q: What kind of impact do you think Scott Crichton can have as a rookie?
A: It will be interesting today, again when we get the pads on, he has done really, really well. He is a very try-hard guy, which I like that, he hasn't made a lot of mistakes, he has got really good lower body strength and power. I would anticipate that he has a chance to get into the rotation, but we get to do one-on-one pass rush today for the first time, also and one-on-one run blocking. In shorts, he looks pretty good.
Q: Is he still behind from missing time in the spring or is he catching up quickly?
A:He is catching up pretty fast, actually. Sometimes in the defensive line it is a little bit easier to catch up than it would be in the secondary where you have a lot of different things going on. We have talked about him playing multiple positions as well, doing some of the things, for instance we've had guys in Cincinnati and Dallas that have moved around and try take advantage of matchups and situations where we can play him quite a bit.
Q: Really early into camp you are mixing a lot of guys in with the first, second, and third team. Is there a certain point though where you have to sit down and start setting those teams in stone so those guys can start growing some cohesiveness as a unit?
A: Monday we have practice, Tuesday we have the day off, I'm going to sit down with the coaches and talk about expanding reps of some people and eliminating, not eliminating, but cutting back reps on some of them to kind of make sure we are getting a good look at a lot of these guys. Then from there we will progress to the point that you are talking about, alright, let's start honing in here, we have got to go here, we have a game in, I believe its 12 days from now, which that will be a factor in how we determine things as well.
Q: Are you worried about fights breaking out when you have contact?
A: No, not usually. I mean, if they do I will step in.
Q: Has Eric Lora impressed you, and do you watch him a lot?
A: Yeah I watch him a lot, you know he is nifty in a lot of the things he does. At times he will look really good, and times he will get back into rookie mode. It's still hard to say with him, especially all of these young guys, the preseason, getting in there and playing games, and seeing how they react, and seeing how they think on their feet, run the right routes. I know Norv knows him well because he has yelled at him a few times, but Norv is yelling at a lot of guys, maybe more than me.
Q: What is your impression on Adam Thielen?
A:Adam has been doing a great job, he really has. He has improved a lot in his pass catching, he's improved a lot in his route running, and he ran a great route yesterday. He's another guy with the more things, he is getting on special teams, doing a lot of things. He is catching punts, the special teams part of the game will be helping him. Again, the more you can do, the better chance you have making the team. Adam is a great kid too, he is a great kid, I was teasing him about being here at home, I said, "You're like the superstar around here", but he is a good kid.