Much like we did for Rick Spielman earlier, we have the full transcript of Mike Zimmer's press conference from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Thanks to NFL Draft Scout, once again, for the transcript, which was transcribed by Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
I'll do what we did earlier with the Spielman transcript, where we do the whole thing with just a few comments. And away we go!
"We're excited about the opportunity to get a chance to get our football team better. We've got to get better in a lot of different areas. But we're extremely lucky with the scouts and Rick Spielman and Scott Studwell and all the guys we have and Jamal Stephenson. We've put in a lot of work already to get to this point and we're extremely united on the things we're looking for, the vision we have for this football team and really where we want to go in the future. So I've been fortunate to be around these guys for a year now and I'm excited about the opportunity about where we're going to go from here.''
What have you seen out of wide receivers Charles Johnson and Jarius Wright?
"Both those two guys had good years. Jarius is a very explosive receiver and he got better all year long as Charles did too. He came in and he's got another guy that can really run and I think Teddy (Bridgewater) has a good rapport with those two guys as we move forward.''
Was it important to draft Bridgewater No. 32 last year, meaning he went in first round?
"It helps to get the fifth year and hopefully the guy's going to play like he did play so you can continue to keep working with him. But you know we worked so hard in trying to find a quarterback. And Norv Turner and Scott (Turner) and those guys did a great job and not only Rick (Spielman) but all the scouts. We put an unbelievable amount of effort into finding a quarterback and we were extremely fortunate to find this guy. He won that Pepsi Rookie of the Year thing and I told him. So I sent him a little text and I said, ‘Hey, Teddy, congratulations, I said. Now let's go win a championship unless you just want to be a celebrity quarterback. He texted me back and he said, ‘Thanks coach, he said but I've never been about individual awards. All I care about is winning as a team and getting better every day and that's all I want to do.''
Well, I've got a crazy feeling that he's going to be winning plenty of individual awards in the future, whether he cares about them or not. I hope he's ready to deal with that. (And I hope the sarcasm came through okay there.)
Did you worry about not getting Teddy at No. 32 last year in draft?
"Well, we were trying to move up to get him. We were trying to make a trade to get him. There were a couple of other times we tried to get up to get to where we could get him. But it just happened to work that way with the 32nd pick. We would have kept trying. We would have kept trying if it was 40, it wouldn't have mattered although we did have the 40th pick.''
Your evaluation of Cordarrelle Patterson and are you willing to get creative to get him touches?
"Yeah, we have to do a better job of manufacturing touches for him. Cordarelle's a very talented young man who's been in a bunch of different systems. And Cordarrelle is doing a good job so far this offseason. So there's a lot of things we have to do a better job with him. And in saying that he has to do a better job himself. So it is a two-way street on this.''
Well, it's encouraging that Patterson is doing what Zimmer wants/needs him to do thus far. Here's hoping that he can get himself back on track and be the asset for the Vikings that he's capable of being.
What are you plans for Adrian Peterson next season? Are you chalking him up as coming back?
"Well, no, I mean you understand that if you get him back he's a different special guy. And speaking of that, one of the things that going into the second year I think our offensive coaches did a great job last year. We've got our entire staff back for the most part. Those guys worked together. They've got a chance to get around each other and get a feel for each other. And with me I was lucky about the staff I did hire. They're some excellent football coaches. But you always have plans based on what if this guy is back this is an opportunity of what we have to do with him. And not all guys can run like Adrian can, so there's a lot of different things you can do with him than some of the other guys.''
How big of a piece of offense is Kyle Rudolph if healthy?
"Well, Kyle's a big piece of the offense already. He had a great preseason. He got hurt early in the year. He's a great kid. He loves to compete. He's tough and he's got great hands and so I think Kyle has got a chance to be a very very good football player. He needs to continue to stay healthy. But he works extremely hard. I saw him last week and he said he feels great.
How much have you had to deal with salary cap and that stuff?
"Well, I didn't worry about it near as much when I was a coordinator. But Rob Brzezinski does a fantastic job with the salary cap and he comes in and he explains everything to me very clear on a big board that he has and talks to me about different things. If this happens, you can do this. If that happens, you can do that. He does great. And those guys have a better handle on all the contracts and things like that. I'm a football coach so that's what I try to do.''
Is grooming a quarterback not realistic these days? Does a guy have to play right away?
"I think every situation's different. I think Andrew Luck came in and played great when he was a rookie and then some other guys come in and don't play near as well. What I didn't want to do with Teddy, I kind of knew all along that he was going to be our guy and just when was the right time to do it. And a lot of factors went into it with how the rest of the team how the offensive line was playing, how the receivers were. There's so many variables that come into it. And then the quarterback himself. What kind of person he is? What quick he handles things? So I don't think its, I'm always been under the assumption the best guy plays. I just didn't want to get him shell shocked or hurt or something like that that might happen. This kid is very, very tough so but that was my main concern why we didn't start him right away early and then Matt Cassel played well early in the preseason as well.''
See, that's one of the great things about drafting a quarterback like Teddy Bridgewater. . .if he ends up in the situation he wound up getting stuck in during the 2014 season, he's not going to lose his mind. As I've said in the past, this is going to pay dividends for Bridgewater and this team this season and going forward.
Will Greg Jennings have to take a pay cut?
"I don't deal with any of those contract things. All I deal with is what kind of football player he is and how can he help us win. And I let Rick and Rob and those guys handle all the contract negotiations. I try to stay out of it because I don't want to get involved in their money and I never want a player to have to take a pay cut. So I don't like that either. It's like any of us trying to do that. I want the players to be happy when they're playing but it's part of life. Greg can continue to help us. To me he's under contract and going forward we'll let those other guys take care of that.''
What about development of Sharrif Floyd?
"Sharrif, I thought he had a good year. He improved quite a bit. Losing weight at the beginning of the season helped him quite a bit. He changed his diet. And he's a very conscientious hard-working kid who has a chance to be a very good three technique. I think he missed maybe four or five games this year so he's got to continue to stay healthy. That will be a big thing for him. He's got to understand that the NFL is a big man's game. You have to go out and play all the time. But he's a young developing player and I think he'll get that figured out too.''
Just a shame that those short arms are really holding him back, huh? Yeah, not really.
But there's the transcript for Mike Zimmer's press conference from Indianapolis at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine. I don't know if Zim Tzu will be making an appearance in the near future, but hey. . .we can hope.