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Zimmer, Bridgewater Address The Media on Wednesday

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

Well we're getting back ready for the [Detroit] Lions, a good NFC North division game and we're looking forward to playing better than we did last week.

Q: How does Teddy Bridgewater look?

A: Fine. Good.

Q: No concern?

A: No concern.

Q: What are your expectations for Harrison Smith over the next couple of days?

A: He did a lot today, this morning, in the walk through so I expect that he's probably going to play.  

Q: How big of a leader has he been both with his play and what he brings to the communication?

A: The thing I like the most about Harrison is he's a good competitor – he's got a lot of toughness in him, a lot of grit. He's a quiet leader kind of. He's not really a big vocal kind of guy but I think that's part of him feeling out the new system and everything else. I assume that he'll be more and more as we continue to go.

Q: Have you gotten a look at Andrew Sendejo at that position?

A: We look at everybody, yeah.

Q: What have you seen from Andrew Sendejo since you've been here?

A: Well he's done a good job on special teams and he has a knack for finding the football.

Q: Teddy Bridgewater said that he raised the bar high with his performance against Atlanta. Do you think Teddy kind of thrives with that when he has high expectations? What do you think of those expectations people have for him?

A: I don't know what Teddy thinks. I think my expectations are probably as high as everybody else's. I understand that there will be some bumps and bruises along the way with our young guys and young quarterbacks but Teddy is a super competitor, he's got a lot of poise and he's got a lot of talent so I hope his expectations are high.  

Q: Who do you think is better – Green Bay or Detroit?

A: I don't know. I think they are both excellent football teams, they are different in a lot of different ways. I'm really just worried about us more so than those two right now.

Q: Are you concerned about Teddy Bridgewater's durability? And what did you guys see when you scouted him in terms of that? Some people said his frame could lead to some durability issues coming out of college.

A: Nothing. We didn't see any durability issues. His frame is what it is but he's a pretty elusive, quick athlete. He's pretty smart as well. He knows when to get down.

Q: Do you have renewed hope that Adrian Peterson could play this season after his trial was moved up this morning?

A: I honestly did not know that, it happened when we were out here in the walk through. I didn't even know the trial was going on until somebody told me it was on TV, or the hearing, or whatever it was. Nothing has changed with me. I'm going to continue to coach the guys that are here. We'll worry about that situation when it happens and I wish the very best for Adrian because I believe in him as a person and I believe that he's a good guy. I wish for the best for Adrian and then we'll worry about the rest when other more concrete news comes out. 

Q: Without Adrian are you running the ball enough?

A: It depends on the game. We didn't run the ball effective last week or a couple weeks before but I thought we did against Atlanta. Each team presents a lot of different issues and ways to run and things that you're trying to accomplish so I think that will all be kind of a week-to-week thing.

Q: What's the biggest challenge that the Lions front four brings?

A: Well they've got great physicality and great athletes. They're obviously number one in the league defensively for a reason. It's not just their front but they're playing good in the back end as well. Their defense kind of thrives from their front guys.

Q: What has changed for them with Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin coming in? What has he done differently with their defense?

A: I don't know, you'd have to ask him what he's changed but they're running some different coverages.

Q: What kind of things does your defense need to do?

A: Well we've got to be in the right place, we've got to get off blocks, we've got to cover better, we've got to rush better. I don't know if you have enough time for that right now.

Q: Are there specific changes that you wanted to make after self-scouting?

A: I've been in situations before that needed to be corrected and like I told the coaches a little bit the other day, "You bust your rear end for five weeks trying to get them exactly where you want them to be and then for the next five weeks you start worrying so much about the opponents that you forget about worrying about a lot of the things about yourself." It was just good to go back and look at ourselves, kind of go back and refocus on ourselves and you understand you have to play other people but at the end of the day it's still about what you can do and how you can do it and how good you do it. There are teams that play one defense and one coverage and they are pretty damn good at what they do. We'll just figure out what's good for us.

Q: What's been different for Matt Asiata in his last two games compared to the previous two?

A: Well the first couple games we didn't run the ball that effectively and I wouldn't say that we did the other night regardless of what his yards per carry is. We did in the one game pretty good. I think it's a combination of all of the different things - I think we're getting to know our players better, we're getting to know the people we are playing better and we are blocking a little bit better. I don't want to get too rose-colored glasses because I'm still not happy about Thursday night.

Q: How different is this Lions team if Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush are not in the picture?

A: Well they still have some good weapons. Golden Tate is still an excellent receiver and (Matthew) Stafford is an excellent quarterback. They're going to be different. I'd be joking if I said they'd be the exact same. We're not good enough to take anybody lightly or worry about anything with who isn't going to be there and who is going to be there. We'll adjust obviously if they don't play but it's mostly still about us and how we do and how we do it.

Q: How close is Chad Greenway getting to practicing?

A: He's getting closer. He's running now and starting to be pain free.

Q: Will he practice this week?

A: We're going to try to, yes.

Q: Is his hand still an issue or is it mostly about his ribs?

A: It's mostly the ribs.

Q: Are you doing about as much blitzing as you expected coming into the season?

A: Honestly it all depends on the type of protections that we get, it all depends on the effectiveness that we get, the situations that we get into. I've gone into games saying we're going to blitz a lot and for whatever reason the situations in 3rd-and-1s and third-and-2s as opposed to 3rd-and-4s or whatever it is or the 2nd downs they give you different things than you were expecting. I don't really ever have a pre-conceived idea of how much we want to blitz, I just try to figure out how we can stop them.

Q: How much of that is based on the quarterback you are facing and how he's able to pick up blitzing?

A: Some, it's always some with the quarterback and some with the receivers and some with the backs and protection and some with the line and some with how we execute. I'm not afraid to blitz good quarterbacks if I know I'm going to hit him. Sometimes how fast the ball comes out, there are just a lot of different variables that sometimes you want to give him a blitz look and not play blitz either. 

Q: What's your progress report on Anthony Barr?

A: He's doing well. He's progressing I think as we expected him to. He's doing well. He's a good kid, he's still learning so much about the position that he's playing right now and I like him because he's not only a good athlete – he's physical and fast and powerful – but he's also very conscientious and wants to be very good at his job. I think he'll continue to progress more and more and more comfortably he sees in the system and we'll continue to find more things for him to do. I think that at some point in time I expect him to be one of the better, better linebackers in this league. I don't know when that will be but I expect it to be sometime.

Vikings Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater

Q: What is the update from the training room?

A: I've been able to spend a bunch of time in the training room since we got back from Green Bay. The ankle is feeling good. I'm excited to get back out there for this game this weekend.

Q: How did you feel on Sunday?

A: It felt pretty good. Like I said, I was able to spend the entire weekend in the training room with Eric Sugarman and his staff. I felt pretty good after all of the rehab and everything.

Q: Was it hard watching Thursday night's game?

A: It was very hard. Especially being a competitor, you always want to be out there with the guys, but that's the good thing about the NFL, is we get to play Green Bay twice a year. Unfortunately, I won't be able to play them at Lambeau this year, but that's the unique part about the NFL, you get to play the Green Bay Packers twice.

Q: At any point last week did you try to lobby to play?

A: All I tried to do was just get healthy. I spent the majority of my time last week in the training room just trying to get everything going good for me, as far as physically. Tuesday and Wednesday were two days that I just spent rehabbing, there wasn't much focus on trying to get out on the practice field, it was more about trying to get healthy.

Q: Did you leave it to the coaches to decide if you would play Thursday night?

A: The way I was feeling, it was one of those deals where, just wanted to see how I felt once the game came. Coach Zim (Zimmer), he made the decision and we went from there.

Q: Do you have any concern that your ankle will limit your physical abilities?

A: I don't think so. The training staff here has done a great job of helping me get that strength back in my ankle. On Sunday I will just be able to play full speed.

Q: After the Falcons game there will be high expectations for you, do you like those expectations?

A: I do. I hold myself to high expectations. At the same time, the game can turn out any way. We can go out and run the ball for 400 yards and I pass for 50 yards. It's an overall team effort and we're just going to expect the entire team to just play at a high level and not let the one loss in Green Bay affect us.

Q: What do you think of the Lions defensive line?

A: Their front-four are very great. Great group of guys, very physical, very stingy in the run game, we know we are going to be up for a challenge, but it's one of those challenges that we're looking forward to.

Q: Do you think that's the biggest challenge when facing their defense?

A: I say the overall defense. They are, I believe, the number one defense in the league right now. We know that it's going to be a challenge for us, not only up front, but in the passing game also. We're just going to try our best to execute the game plan and eventually we would like to come out with a win.

Q: Do you feel you're 100%?

A: I do. I've been able to, like I said, spend a majority of my time in the training room. I credit those guys, just helping me and pushing me to get back to 100%.

Q: Draft analysts questioned your durability coming out of college, your thoughts on that and do you feel like you need to show your durability?

A: I feel that I want to be at this position and I want to be the guy for 10+ years. I want to have longevity in my career. I feel that I don't have to prove anything, but at the same time, I would like to be out there every opportunity that I get.

Q: Did you pay attention to the Breast Cancer Awareness games in the past and what are your thoughts on playing in one?

A: I paid attention growing up, watching NFL games and ever since the NFL started wearing the breast cancer symbols and everything. It's going to mean a lot for me, because my mom is a breast cancer survivor herself. It's going to be a good feeling knowing that we are playing a game that salutes and contributes to breast cancer.

Q: What do you need to do as a team need to get Cordarrelle Patterson more involved?

A: We're just going to find different ways to get him touches. If you watch the St. Louis game, he had over 100 yards rushing. He's special in the kick return game. We're just going to try our best to get him the ball. That's the unique part about the NFL, every week another guy has an opportunity to make plays for a team. If you think about it, teams know Cordarrelle very well, they know that he's the threat whenever he is on the field so they're going to try their best to game plan around him and take him out of the game. That's where other guys have the opportunity to step up for this offense.

Q: What do you expect from yourself this Sunday?

A: For one, I just want to go out and win. At the end of the day, nothing matters more than what is in the win column and the loss column. I would like to go out and just win a football game.

Q: Will you wear anything extra on your ankle?

A: I won't. I'll just get my ankles taped and just go from there.

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