Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Today we have basically the same guys are out. Jabari Price won't practice, Gerald Hodges, Brandon Watts and Linval Joseph. (Chad) Greenway, I'm going to back him down a little bit today and Adrian (Peterson) is gone for personal reasons. As far as situation in-game, since I know you will ask, quarterbacks, we do have a plan for the game, we're going to continue with that plan, they don't know yet what it is, so you shouldn't know.
Q: Is Brandon Watts' injury a knee injury?
A: It's a lower leg, lower extremity.
Q: Is Chad Greenway dealing with something?
A: He's got a little wrist. It's not a big deal. He's been MRI'd and X-rayed. I just don't want to irritate it more.
Q: Is it the same injured wrist as last year?
A: I think last year was both wrists, wasn't it? It's not broke, I know that.
Q: Do you want to play the first team deep into the third quarter?
A: I tell our guys to continue to play the entire game, if that's what I feel like doing. I'd rather not say what we are going to do. I understand you have to ask questions, they don't know, we're just going to go play Saturday night and play until we feel good about it.
Q: It's probably going to be scorching down there?
A: Yeah, it's 99 (degrees) during the day on Saturday, so it'll be good. It will be good for us.
Q: Is there an added focus on this third preseason game or are you looking for anything different from the guys?
A: I think where we are playing at in Kansas City, they've got a great crowd, it should be loud, it should be an energetic atmosphere. I think all of those things are good. I think the more situations we can put this team in before we go play St. Louis, the better it is. I just wait and see how guys react to certain situations. I didn't really know what to expect in the first two preseason games. I'm kind of the same way here. The routine is going to be different, our routine today and yesterday was different. They're all learning about the differences that our program is running now.
Q: How do you feel about Norv Turner's comments on the displeasure of how fans treated Christian Ponder during the first preseason game?
A: I think Norv can say whatever he wants. I think that Christian deserves to be treated like a Viking.
Q: How do you think Christian Ponder has handled a difficult situation being lower on the depth chart this season?
A: I can't comment about last year, because I don't know what happened. I do know that he has handled everything, since I have been here, in a first class, professional, upbeat manner. When we came in here we tried to make sure that we gave everybody equal reps, which we did. We just felt like at this time, that Matt (Cassel) and Teddy (Bridgewater) were a little bit ahead. I think that Christian has improved a lot since we have had him. I still like a lot things that he does, his athletic ability, his intelligence. I keep seeing that he doesn't have a good arm, that's wrong, too. He's got a good arm. He throws the ball beautifully, he just didn't make as many plays during the OTAs as some of the other guys did.
Q: Do you expect Christian Ponder will play at all on Saturday?
A: There's a possibility he will play, yes.
Q: What stands out to you about the NFC North?
A: I haven't looked at anybody in our division. I saw Chicago on TV a little bit the other night.
Q: How would you handle a player like Johnny Manziel, specifically his actions against Washington?
A: I'm not around Johnny Manziel enough to know what he is doing all of the other times. I know we all get heated in the moment of the battle sometimes and we say things or do things that we shouldn't. If he was one of my players, a one-time incident, I would probably talk to him. Our guys have been pretty good. I'm proud of how our guys play and how our guys have been in the game. They're not yelling at officials, from what I can tell, they're not yelling at the other team, we're just going out and trying to do what we do. That's really what I want, our guys to do what we do. That's really what I want our guys to do. I don't concern myself about anything else. If we have a problem on the team, I try to address it with the team or with the individual and go from there.
Q: How is Joe Marciano working in so far and does he kind of take over the reins more as the season get closer?
A: Well as we get closer, he's working on molding into exactly what we're trying to do. His system and Mike (Priefer's) system are very similar and so he's obviously in all the meetings and everything in with Mike all the time and he's trying learn the same terminology that Mike is using that so when we do go St. Louis that it's all the same.
Q: What are your impression of Antonio Richardson and the rest of those guys competing for the backup lineman spots? What do you look for from your backup linemen? Does versatility and flexibility to play different positions play a role?
A: Well, versatility is important. Obviously, they have to have some intelligence. So versatility, intelligence, toughness and being able to, because of the number of players you dress on game day, being able to move to multiple spots, so that's part of it and trying to get these guys to not just play left tackle but right tackle as well and inside positions.
Q: How much interaction have you had with John Sullivan?
A: I've had quite a bit actually. The interaction between us? Good. He's been great with me.
Q: What about as far as him leading that group?
A: He seems to be kind of the leader, but I think we have a lot of veteran guys in there that he takes charge on the field and handles all of the calls but Phil (Loadholt) is a good leader, he was the first one in the weight room when I got here early. (Brandon) Fusco has done a nice job in there. (Matt) Kalil is starting to come on a little more as far as communicating and things like that. But I think that's a good group with tightness. I talk to all of them but I've probably talked to Sullivan a little bit more.
Q: Is he your go-to-guy for that unit?
A: A little bit. I've talked to Phil a lot. I've talked to Kalil a lot.
Q: Do you have a date for picking your middle linebacker and safety like you do your quarterback?
A: Well, I'd like to do it as soon as possible but I haven't made the decision. It's not really a date like with the quarterback, it's like well let's do this and then let's go.
Q: Do you envision Cordarrelle Patterson returning kicks on Saturday?
A: He might this week.
Q: What's your philosophy on that during the regular season? Do you want him back there full-time if he has a greater role on offense?
A: We want our players to help us win football games anyway we can. We want to get the ball in those guys' hands so you'll see Cordarrelle back there, yes.
Q: What are the positives and negatives of Jasper Brinkley and Audie Cole at the middle linebacker spot?
A: Jasper seems to be a little bit more communicative and Audie seems to have a little more range. As far as the running game, they are very close and in the passing game they are similar. You have to look at all of the different things – how it affects the rest of the guys on the team, their blitz ability, their communication on different formations that you get. There are so many variables with that position that goes into it that you just kind of overall look at it.
Q: Does it make it even harder to evaluate that safety position when you add Robert Blanton back into the mix?
A: We're still trying to look at all of them. Blanton will get a lot of time this week, because I haven't seen him yet. We'll give him a lot of plays. The rest of them we are going to try and split up the time the best we can. Sometimes, unfortunately, if we just had a scrimmage we could kind of plot it all out but sometimes when you are playing against somebody it's a little more difficult with situations and personnels and that stuff.
*Q: Typically the middle linebacker is the one that wears the green dot that communicates to the sideline. Will you have somebody else wear that if that player isn't going to be in on certain packages? *
A: Well we do have a different guy wearing it right now.
Q: You can have multiple guys in the preseason wear it right?
A: Yeah, but only one at a time. I wish I could have multiple. I'd talk to all of them.
Q: Do you have an idea on what you want to do with that when you head into the regular season?
A: Yeah, we're good. I think we're pretty solid there.
Q: Would that be Greenway during the regular season?
A: Uh huh. Is that important? It's a new story today. No, he's been doing it. I wish 11 of them could have it though. Have blue dots, green dots, red dots.