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Zimmer, Bridgewater Address The Media on Tuesday

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

Just continuing preparation for the Packers, it will be a great test for us. They've got obviously a tremendous offensive team, great quarterback. Defensively, they got some great rushers, the corners are excellent. It will be a good test for us.

Q: What's the Teddy Bridgewater update?

A: Teddy is doing much better. If he can play he will play.

Q: Is there much doubt in your mind that Teddy Bridgewater will be able to play?

A: I don't have any doubt with anything, really. We will just see how he is and we'll go from there. We just take it one day at a time.

Q: How much stress do you put on his ankle to see where he is at with his rehab?

A: He is going to do some running today and see where he is at.

Q: How do you balance the rehab and trying to get him ready for the game?

A: He is pretty mentally sharp on all of his stuff. He was out here today at the walk-through. He's fine mentally. He's good.

Q: Will it be a game-time decision?

A: It just depends when we feel he's ready, or when we feel he's not ready.

Q: How will you be splitting reps with Teddy Bridgewater and Christian Ponder?

A: Teddy is going to get more mental reps today. We will see how he does tomorrow.

Q: What will the tempo of Wednesday's practice be?

A: It will be a jog-through.

Q: Does Aaron Rodgers cause more problems than any other quarterback in the league?

A: He is a great, great quarterback. We are going on the third, First-Ballot Hall of Famer in four weeks, they're all pretty dang good. He's obviously got a tremendous arm, he's got great mobility, he gets the ball out fast, he's the best in the league against the blitz, he's got some excellent receivers and now they have a good running game now, too. I think that adds a little bit more to him, to what they're doing, with (Eddie) Lacy.

Q: How do they handle the blitz so well?

A: Yeah, he's first in the league. He gets the ball out, pretty good.

Q: What do you think of the pressure you have been able to generate with your defensive line?

A: We have actually pressured okay, what we haven't done is rush smart. We have to rush a lot smarter and same thing with this quarterback. If we give him an opportunity to get out of the pocket a lot of times, a lot of bad things happen.

Q: When you say rush smarter, do you mean lane integrity?

A: The way we rush. We would have a lot more sacks just with our four man rush if we would learn to rush as a team and not rush as individuals.

Q: It seems like Brian Robison is has been in the backfield a lot of times but hasn't been able to get those sacks, does that just kind of fix itself over time?

A: It's part of us being a team rush, we're not individual rushers, he's done a good job and we haven't helped him enough with some of the other guys, not because they're not trying or they can't rush. It's because, like I said before, we are rushing as individuals. It's no different than any other part of defense. You play good as a team, you know where you're supposed to be at and then good things happen for other people and consequently good things happen for you.

Q: When you watch the film, how does that show up that they are rushing as individuals and not as a team?

A: Usually, when a quarterback moves a little bit and you miss a sack. If we had been a little smarter on the other side, or the push was a little bit better in the middle or we don't run by the quarterback. It shows up pretty easily, really.

Q: Is team rushing a tough concept to get guys to buy into or understand?

A: Guys feel like they can beat guys one-on-one. The hard part is getting them to understand that we will all have a lot more success, including the individual, if we will do it the right way, and we haven't done it the right way the last couple of weeks.

Q: What's the deal with Captain Munnerlyn?

A: He was sick yesterday.

Q: He is okay today?

A: Yep.

Q: Will Chad Greenway practice today?

A: We will see. He won't go today, but we will see how he is tomorrow.

Q: How is Jerick McKinnon?

A: He will go today.

Q: Is this a big game for Teddy Bridgewater and from an organizational standpoint?

A: I don't know. I hope it's a big game for us. Obviously, it's a divisional game. I think we are both 2-2 on the season. They are all important, but obviously, divisional games are probably more important.

Q: Will you have a similar rotation with Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon like you did against the Falcons?

A: Probably, yeah.

Q: How do you limit Aaron Rodgers this week?

A: He is tough, he is tough to defend, he is tough to trick. Obviously, you have to pick your spots. We have to do a great job of covering and we have to do a great job of rushing. There is no secret, really, to defending him as opposed to all the other good ones. You try and make them one dimensional. Do a great job covering, do a great job rushing, you understand their route concepts and go from there.

Q: How do you think the cornerbacks have progressed since training camp?

A: I think they are doing better. I think Xavier (Rhodes) probably played his best game last week. Josh (Robinson) has been consistent. I just want Josh to be a little bit more confident in his abilities. He's got a chance to be a very good corner if he continues working on the techniques, refining the techniques, understanding the concepts more, but he's got a chance to be a very good player.

Q: Did your team's evaluation of Teddy Bridgewater change from the end of his collegiate career to the NFL Draft?

A: We always had Teddy (Bridgewater) very high, obviously. We saw him play live three times, Rick Spielman and his guys did. After the so called "bad pro day," we went down and worked him out again so we were able to see him with our own eyes. So, no it really didn't drop for us. We are glad we got him.

Q: How do you think Captain Munnerlyn has fared at the nickel position so far?

A: Good, he's a good nickel back. I love that he is feisty, tough, and aggressive. We just need to continue to work him within the scheme.

Q: How has the nickel cornerback continued to evolve in the NFL?

A: It's obviously a huge position. It's always going to be a starting position because of the importance of where it is, where they are throwing in the slot. They have a great slot player. They probably play more than the linebacker in the base defense does. They're on the field so much with the third downs, even in the red zone on the goal line. People don't really get into goal line that much anymore.

Vikings Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater

I've been getting to know Eric Sugarman and his staff quite a bit over these past couple of days, and I'm just looking forward to Thursday.

Q: How does your ankle feel?

A: It feels pretty good. Each day making progress and just kind of keep moving, moving forward and trying to get ready for this Thursday.

Q: Can you put a percentage on what your chances are for playing this Thursday?

A: I cannot. We still have a long time until Thursday so right now I am just going to continue to rehab and do a little bit of exercising today and see where I am over the next couple of days.

Q: If it were up to you, would you play?

A: I'm not going to put that on my shoulders or anything. I want to do what's best for the team. I'm sure that the training staff and the coaching staff are going to do what's best for the team, also.

Q: Do you feel better today than Sunday after the game?

A: Absolutely. Like I said, I've been able to spend some time in the training room and start rehabbing as soon as the injury happened after the game. I am much, much further ahead than I was Sunday.

Q: Is it your flexability or strength that's better now than what it was two days ago?

A: Both, I would say both. I give credit to the training staff that we have here. They've been pushing me mentally and physically to overcome this.

Q: What have you all done to test it?

A: We've been doing flexibility exercises and things like that. Today, I'm actually going to get out and run a little, so we'll see how that goes.

Q: Have you pushed off and made throws with it yet?

A: We've stayed away from that. I've just stayed inside on the machines and everything.

Q: How do you feel about all of the excitement and hype that you've created by starting for the Vikings?

A: I feel pretty good about it. Now is an opportunity, not only for myself, but we have other guys, young guys on this team, Jerick McKinnon, Jarius Wright, Vlad Ducasse – guys who are making their first starts for this season also, and guys who played big for the team this past weekend. It's a pretty good feeling. We had our time to celebrate the victory over Atlanta and now we're just looking forward to our first NFC North game.

Q: If you're able to play, how exciting will it be getting out there on national TV?

A: It'll be very exciting to be out there on Thursday. You talk about Lambeau Field, the history and the tradition behind that stadium. It's going to be a great feeling just being able to play in that facility with all of the history that's behind it.

Q: How much have you as an offense had to evolve through the course of the season?

A: Coach Turner mentioned not to blink an eye. Throughout the course of the season, you're going to have obstacles that you're going to have to overcome. It's just a lot of the other guys to have an opportunity to step up when their number is called. I think the guys are doing a great job with stepping up to the challenge and they've been playing great football for us, so far.

Q: Has it changed the running game with you guys being able to do more stuff out of the shotgun?

A: I think it's one of those deals where whatever works, whatever we think that our opponents may struggle with, or those tendencies. It's one of those deals where running out of the shotgun has been working for us and the guys up front, the offensive line, have been doing a great job. Running backs have been doing a great job running with their pads low. It's been an overall team effort.

Q: What is it about that that works?

A: Like I said, the offensive line. It starts with those guys up front. Those guys never get enough credit. Whenever you can rush the ball for the amount of yards that we did this past weekend, it speaks volumes for the offensive line. Also, we didn't give up any sacks, so whenever we're pretty balanced, being able to pass the ball and also rush the ball, the big guys deserve all of the credit.

Q: How does this team carry over the momentum on a short week?

A: We know how big this game is. It's a rivalry game for the Minnesota Vikings. It's a huge game, especially being our first NFC North game. We are going to continue just carrying the momentum. We are going to ride the wave that we're riding right now, and try our best to go out and play great football Thursday.

Q: What was the difference on Sunday for you guys?

A: I think overall, it was a great team effort. The guys continued to fight for one another and showed great faith. Coach Zimmer always talks about what is faith? Faith is belief without proof. It was one of those deals where we all had faith in each other. The guys knew that the guy next to them was going to get their job done. It was an overall great team effort.

Q: Being an NFL starting quarterback with some success, what's different for you now in your life?

A: Nothing's changed at all. I feel that I've set the bar pretty high, but that's what I expect of not only from myself, but from this entire team. We have a great group of guys in the locker room here and guys who just love what they do, which is playing football. For me, nothing has changed and I'm just going to continue to be a great teammate.

Q: Have you ever met Aaron Rodgers?

A: No, I have yet to meet Aaron Rodgers.

Q: What were you thinking through the draft process and ultimately the Vikings taking you with the 32nd overall pick?

A: Throughout that time, I never really bought into the draft stocks or anything like that because I knew that it was just the word of mouth. At the end of the day, it was what the decision-makers were thinking, and I'm glad to be here in Minnesota. I said prior to the draft, that this was one of the places that I really wanted to come. Ever since I've gotten here, everything has just exceeded expectations, from the players in the locker room to the coaching staff. I'm just glad to be a part of this team, glad to be a part of this organization. I look forward to the many great things that are coming ahead. 

Q: Do you wish you would have been selected with the 8th overall pick?

A: It really doesn't matter as long as I'm here in Minnesota trying to be the best Viking that I can be.

Q: The "not blink an eye" advice, is that from Norv or Scott Turner?

A: It's from Norv.

Q: Did you do any read-option plays in Louisville?

A: I may have ran a read-option probably twice or three times at Louisville, but it was just what worked for us Sunday and we had huge success doing it.

Q: How does the read-option affect the other team's defensive line of players, just to be aware of that?

A: It just makes the defense become more accountable for the quarterback in the run game. Luckily, I didn't have to pull the ball many times. I think I only pulled it once. Those guys, Jerick (McKinnon) and Matt (Asiata), did a great job just taking what the defense game them and running with their pads low and being physical.

Q: Was Jarius Wright a major part of the game plan?

A: Yes, he was. Prior to the game in the week of practice, we had targeted Jarius a lot. We had a good feeling that it was going to be a big game for him, and he stepped up to the challenge and made huge plays for the offense.

Q: Any memories of watching Brett Favre or the Packers?

A: Yes, a ton of memories.

Q: What are some?

A: I can't even tell you the exacts or the specifics. I just remember growing up and being a huge fan of Brett Favre. I feel like he's one of the toughest quarterbacks to play this game and I admire everything about him.

Q: Can you take us into your mind when they're chanting your name at the beginning of the game?

A: The biggest thing that was going through my mind was relax and play football. We had a great game plan going into the game and my job was just to execute the calls and get the ball out of my hand and allow our playmakers to make plays.

Q: Have you ever had an ankle sprain like this before?

A: I have dealt with an ankle sprain before. Each injury is different. You can't really put a time frame on things. Right now, I can say that Thursday is a long way from now. Right now, I'm just going to continue to make as much progress as I can in the training room and go from there.

Q: What stands out watching the Atlanta film? What do you think you did well?

A: Because it's been a short week and because we have a game on Thursday, we had to rush through the film because we've been trying to prepare for Green Bay. Atlanta is in the past now. I can say that the takeaways from that game were that we did a great job of executing the game plan and getting done what was called. I know that I can improve on completing those easy passes. I missed Jarius Wright on the sideline, which could have probably been my first NFL touchdown. That still sticks with me, but I put in the past and move forward and get ready for Green Bay.

Q: Did you have time to sit and reflect on your first win while you were in the training room?

A: Not at all. I'm one of the guys where I'll celebrate the victory while I'm still at the facility, but the moment I step foot outside of TCF Bank Stadium, that win is now in the past and it is now time to prepare for the next opponent.

Q: Did you know that Brett Favre was the last Viking quarterback to go into Green Bay and come back with a win?

A: I had no idea. That's an interesting fact, a cool fact. It's always good to learn something new every day.

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