Five Takes From Mike Zimmer At NFL Coaches’ Breakfast

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Mike Zimmer spoke to reporters from the coaches’ breakfast at the annual NFL owner’s meeting in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday. The head coach of the Minnesota Vikings addressed a few topics, including how he’ll get to know the team’s new franchise quarterback, the health of running back Dalvin Cook, and the team’s feelings regarding Teddy Bridgewater post-injury.

On Kirk Cousins:

Zimmer said he wants to spend time building a relationship with Kirk Cousins this offseason so the two are on the same page. Per ESPN’s Courtney Cronin, he said he plans to sit down with the quarterback over dinner to get to know him as a person. As he did with Sam Bradford last offseason, Zimmer may also find time this summer to visit Cousins at his home on Lake Michigan.

On Dalvin Cook:

According to Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press, Zimmer reported Dalvin Cook is “ahead of schedule” in his rehab. He said the running back will do work during team OTAs, but not everything. Cook is recovering from an October operation which repaired a torn ACL that he suffered in Week 4 last season.

On Terence Newman:

Zimmer said he and Terence Newman spoke last week about returning this year. He reported the 40 year-old is “thinking about it,” adding, “we’ll have to see where he’s at.” Money may be a factor in bringing back Newman, as his cap hit was $3.584 million last season. The team will likely reassess its roster and cap situation after the draft.

On Teddy Bridgewater:

Apparently, the Vikings’ medical staff had concerns about Teddy Bridgewater’s knee all along. Zimmer said he felt Bridgewater was progressing well in practice, but the medical staff felt there were limitations, reported Cronin.

“The reports I’d get back from the medical people weren’t as positive as I was about it,” Zimmer said. “That’s kind of how it came down is that his knee wasn’t as…he still has some recovery to do. When I watched him in practice he moved well, I didn’t see limitations but from what I told there was some.”

Later, Zimmer noted the fact that 24 players had previously suffered similar injuries to Bridgewater. Of those 24, only half of the players came back at all. Per Cronin, “The earliest someone had returned was 24 months. Bridgewater came back to practice in about 14ish.”

Despite reports of the team’s medical concerns with the 25 year-old, the coach questioned whether the latest story of Bridgewater dodging questions about his knee actuality stemmed from the health of his knee. “I just think that’s Teddy and he doesn’t want to talk about (it),” Zimmer said. “Teddy wants to move forward. I don’t think it had anything to do with the health of his knee.”

On rotating the defensive line:

Per Murphy, Zimmer said the Vikings defense did not rush the quarterback as well in the last four games due to Everson Griffen having plantar fasciitis and Tom Johnson being overworked. Zimmer said he “learned his lesson” by not rotating players more.

The Vikings begin the first phase of their offseason workout program on April 16th at the TCO Performance Center in Eagan.