Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
We are excited about this opportunity we have to go down to New Orleans. They are a heck of a football team. Obviously, their quarterback is fantastic, they have great receivers. Defensively, they do a nice job, I am friends with a lot of their coaches and I have worked with a lot of them, so it's a good test. It is a lot of fun to play against the guys they have. I think our team is looking forward to the opportunity of getting back on the field, getting back going again and getting back to work.
Q: How do you feel about the decision with Adrian Peterson?
A: We always come out of the room together. Whatever the decision is, we always come out of the room together. We speak our piece, and we go from there. I'm good with it.
Q: How do you stay focused with all of this?
A: I think the biggest thing is I've always considered myself a football coach. I am not a Speaker of the House or anything like that. What I do is I get in the film room, I start working on what we have to do, start figuring out how we can get this team better. I won't say that at the beginning, things weren't easy, but we have a job to do and we get paid to do this. Quite honestly, it's what we love to do, so it's kind of our refuge anyway.
Q: A week ago, you were undefeated in the preseason and you won your first game. How crazy is it how things have changed, perception wise, just from a week ago?
A: The guys that have been playing, the way we've played, the way we've practice, I talked to them a little bit this morning, about [the fact that] this team is the same team that has done everything I've asked them to do the entire time. We've got a lot of good guys on this football team, we've got a lot of guys with heart, we've got a lot of great competitors and a lot of guys that want to win. We have all been through situations before and we do the best job that we can.
Q: How did you think your team is absorbing this news? What have you observed about them?
A: They were fine with me. We had a nice little talk this morning. Our preparation is really on the Saints now. It's kind of like football players: when you have a bad play, you forget about it and go onto the next one and that's what we are trying to do now.
Q: How much time has this taken away from you in these past three days? Normally, you're putting in this time for the game plan.
A: I've put in some extra time but I didn't take away from any football time. I maybe worked a few more hours, so as far as preparation, it didn't take away any time. Just sleep time.
Q: Did you talked to Adrian Peterson yesterday?
A: I have talked to Adrian, yes. Well, football players play football. I think our conversations should be kept between him and I.
Q: How do you handle this distraction as a first-year coach? Will you lean on maybe Bill Parcells as a mentor?
A: I have talked to Bill. Quite honestly, there is no manual that you can go back and look through and figure out all of this stuff. You continually do what you think is right. The organization continually does what they think is right, and then you move on.
Q: Are you comfortable with the guys you have in the backfield?
A: I think that these guys have a lot of ability, Jerick McKinnon, I'm excited to see him get out there, Joe Banyard had a very good preseason. We will keep evaluating that spot each and every time. These guys deserve an opportunity to go out and perform. So many times in the NFL when injuries happen or things happen, guys go out and they perform and they have a chance to make a great career for themselves. It happens every week with somebody because of the number of injuries and things like that.
Q: Do you have a roster spot open?
A: We do.
Q: Are you going to add a player, like a running back?
A: We've talked about a number of different scenarios so we are just kind of working on that aspect right now.
Q: Is Joe Banyard on the roster right now?
A:Yes, we put him up last week
Q: Any other injury concerns going into this week?
A: Chad Greenway has a broken hand and another little thing. Phil Loadholt probably won't practice today he has a little ankle injury. Sharrif (Floyd) he will be fine.
Q: Is Chad Greenway going to play this week?
A: I hope so, we anticipate it.
Q: When did the injury happen?
A: We are not exactly sure when it happened. I think early in the ball game.
Q: How's Xavier Rhodes feeling?
A: With his injury? He's fine. He's good to go.
Q: Has anything in your career prepared you for what you've had to deal with this past week?
A: I have been in a few situations in my career. I don't think you will ever be prepared. You do the best you can and go about your business. I think situations are different, teams are different, cities are different, and organizations are all different. We have been through many in the past.
Q: How different do you think the offense will be without Adrian Peterson?
A: We still want to run the football, we still want to have play-action passes, we still want to be multiple. I don't see it changing. Obviously, you are going to change a little bit based on your personnel and the personnel that you plan and that's just part of coaching and football. We will continually try to use the player's strengths that we have and go from there. Obviously, it will change some.
Q: Do you think you will rely more on Cordarrelle Patterson now?
A: I don't believe so. We've got a lot of weapons with [Kyle] Rudolph and I think [Jerick] McKinnon is a good weapon. Jarius Wright and Greg Jennings are all good weapons. We are always looking for match-ups, we are always looking for ways to get multiple guys the football as opposed to anything else.
Q: Chad Greenway played with a broken wrist last year and it affected his tackling. Do you think this will be an issue this week?
A: We'll see. We don't know exactly to what extent it's going to affect him. His wrist is fine.
Q: How do you compare Drew Brees to Tom Brady?
A: They're both great. I've got so much respect for Drew. He is a great competitor. My son was in New Orleans when he was there and I was able to go watch the Super Bowl when they won. Drew gets the ball out in the right places. He is very smart and he wants to win so bad. He is a good guy and Sean [Payton] does a great job with him and their football team.
Q: How much insight has Adam Zimmer given you?
A: Not much. Honestly, I know people do those things. You start filling players' heads with all kinds of stuff, they forget what to do. This game is still about who makes the least mistakes. That is really what our focus is – our focus is trying to get better each and every week. Obviously, we want to win the games but being such a young team, where we are with the program, I think, we need to continue to work on how do we get better. Obviously, you try and stop the other team.