Mike Zimmer began Tuesday’s press conference by providing some thoughts on the Vikings’ preseason win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night. Zimmer said penalties were much better, which was a point of emphasis after the team committed 13 penalties in the first preseason game, and he also thought the defense tackled better. Still, Minnesota’s head coach said the 1st-team unit still gave up too many big plays. He also made a point to note the special teams can be better in coverage and in the return game, while emphasizing he’s looking to see which “young guys” step up to help out in those areas.
Let’s take a look a few more noteworthy comments made by Zimmer on Tuesday morning.
Offensive line performance
The Vikings offensive line has not given up a sack through two preseason games. When asked how pleased he was with their recent performance, as well as provide overall keys to the unit improving, Zimmer replied:
“Well I think it all works hand-in-hand. I think the quarterback is going a good job with his drops and getting the ball out. We had the one play where we got blitzed and [Cousins] had to throw it away, but other than that guys have been solid in their protection. I think the offensive line is doing a good job of changing up their sets, working together, and then obviously the play-action is helping as well.”
On what DE Ifeadi Odenigbo has showed this preseason
“I think he’s really improved a lot as far as understanding the concepts that he has to do at defensive end. He’s a power player, really good physicality. He’s a guy that worked really, really hard last year when he was on the practice squad and this spring, and I think it’s starting to show.”
As far as Odenigbo’s role rushing from the outside rather than the inside, Zimmer explained, “He may end up being in[side] there some. We are looking at him at both spots. But I think he just feels a lot more comfortable on the outside going against the tackles.”
Choosing the specialists before the preseason finale?
“I don’t think we have a timeline right now. I think it’s just ‘let’s just see where it goes’ and make sure we’re right.”
Mike Boone’s play
“Obviously he ran the ball well… He ran hard, made a nice catch. I think, for guys like him — and I thought he did a good job on special teams — [backup TE’s, WR’s, RB’s, DB’s, LB’s] need to play special teams if they want to make the team. So, I was impressed with what he did in special teams probably more so than running back.”
Zimmer went on to say there’s a chance Boone might get some looks as a kick returner.
Update on young WR’s
“They’re hard to separate right now. When we talk about it in the personnel meetings and things like that it’s ‘one guy has a good day and then he has a bay day.’ The consistency of what they’re trying to do is really hard to get a handle on. That’s why I say these special teams — they need to get their rear-ends going on that.”
The Vikings head coach said it “doesn’t matter” if the reserve wide receivers have NFL experience or not.
Impression of young DB’s
“Kinda like the young receivers. Kinda up and down. They have a good play or bad play, and speaking to the coverage busts — a couple of them were young guys the other night — they need to be more consistent like the receivers.”
Zimmer said he’s going to look at #Vikings DT Hercules Mata’afa as a pass rusher in the nickel defense this week.
“I think that’s what his role will be this year – if that is his role – so I gotta find out if he can go in there and rush on third down.”
— Sean Borman (@SeanBormanNFL) August 20, 2019
Is the CB depth behind Mackensie Alexander wide open?
“I would say so, yeah.”
Kyle Sloter the backup quarterback?
“I don’t know that you guys know all of the little details about everything. You just see how he goes and does in the game. He’s got to get a lot better in a lot of the other parts of being a quarterback. Making the right checks, getting people in the right formation, making sure the motion’s there, not missing the time clock when it’s eight yards in front of you. There’s a lot of things that he has to get better at if he wants to be the backup quarterback.”
Do you envision Linval Joseph returning to practice this week?
“Yes,” Zimmer exclaimed, who then said he didn’t know whether or not Joseph will play on Saturday.