With the Minnesota Vikings reporting to Mankato for Training Camp on Sunday, there have been a lot of members of the team getting an opportunity to address the media and give us some insights. We’ve gotten a transcript of today’s press conferences from the Vikings’ PR staff, and we will be sharing all of those with you.
We’ll start at the top, as we should, with head coach Mike Zimmer. Zimmer addressed the injury situations of defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, as well as talking a little bit about rookie running back Dalvin Cook and other matters.
Below is the full transcript of Mike Zimmer’s quotes from today’s press conference. Enjoy!
It’s good to get back here to Mankato. There’s been a long tradition here with the school and the Vikings. Want to make sure we do a good job here and get a lot of work done. It’s been a great relationship for the 52 years it’s been. I heard someone say the other day that this was one of the longest continuous schools to hold training camp. We’ve been proud of the relationship that we had and we’re here, we’re ready to get back to work. It’s good to get going again, get these young guys in here early a few days and go from there.
Q: Is it bittersweet to leave Mankato?
A: I don’t know about bittersweet, they just tell me where to go and I go.
Q: What are you hoping to get out of having the rookies come to camp early?
A: Well, part of it is, I just felt like it was important – we did this in the spring, we had extra practices with the rookies – I just felt like we wanted to try to get them up to speed as quick as we can. Last year a lot of the rookies didn’t play as much as they had in the past. I just figured, let’s give these guys every opportunity we possibly can to get them up to speed a little quicker. We want to get them back in here, get them back doing the techniques that we’ve been working on in the spring. Kind of refresh another three days of practice with the terminology. Then when the vets get here, they’ve heard it four or five times now as opposed to just two or three.
Q: How many players are you expecting and do you expect to have enough to do full offense and full defense?
A: Yeah, I don’t know the exact numbers but yes, we will have full on both. That was part of the deal. If we’re going to do this I wanted to make sure we have enough offensive lineman, defensive lineman, corners.
Q: How important is it to have the rookies get in and get contributions from them?
A: I think every year is a little bit different. I just felt like this year was important and we brought these guys in early. The other thing we did in the spring, we’d have three OTAs but we’d practice them on the other two days. They probably got another 10 practices basically. With the way the NFL is going now with younger and younger players, I just thought it was important. Hopefully a lot of these guys will be playing.
Q: How has CJ Ham looked throughout his transition to fullback? Is it hard to evaluate without pads?
A: Yeah, It’s hard. He’s been good in pass protection a year ago when he had the pads on. We never really got a chance to look at him being a true lead blocker. So that’ll be the biggest question for him. He’s good coming out of the backfield. He’s good getting on the right guys, knowing where to be. When he’s got to take on these big linebackers, that’ll be the big test.
Q: Are there any other players on the roster that could play that position?
A: Well, some of the tight ends we have we’re moving around and using in those spots as well. That’s part of the deal, do we keep a fullback on the roster or do we add more tight ends? Should all shake out here in this preseason.
Q: How rare is the traditional fullback in today’s NFL?
A: There’s hardly any in college football anymore, so that makes it a little bit more difficult. The way that people are using the 11 personnel so much more and the spread offenses. There isn’t quite near as many opportunities for them. So if a guy is going to play, let’s say 10 plays a game, he better be really good on special teams as well in order to make the squad. So, that’s always kind of a situation where you have to try to figure it out.
Q: Dalvin Cook said he sees a lot of similarities in the offense Florida State ran compared to the offense here, how much easier does that make his transition?
Q: Well, Dalvin did a lot of different things. He ran from the I-formation, he ran from the gun, he’s been very good at all those. I think some of the offensive plays are similar but he’s done a good job when he’s been in there. I don’t know how much it’s helped him or how much it’s not helped him.
Q: How much work do you expect for Latavius Murray to be able to handle?
A: I don’t know yet. We haven’t seen him to see [Eric] Sugarman yet. We’ll see how it goes.
Q: How nice is it to have both him and Cook?
A: I think him and [Jerick] McKinnon, all those guys will add to some of the depth. Part of it is us figuring out the roles for each of those guys. For the young running backs, pass protection is always the number one thing. They’ve got to be able to protect the quarterbacks on the pressures. So that’ll be a good test for Dalvin. Latavius has done that a lot in the past. I don’t anticipate that being an issue. Jerick had a chance to do quite a bit of it last year. I feel good about the running back spot.
Q: What are you looking to see from Dalvin Cook at training camp?
A: More of the same. I thought he had a really good spring. The thing with running backs is the vision and acceleration to the hole are always big. When he has a crease to be able to accelerate through it, I thought he did a really good job with those things. For a guy of shorter stature, in college at least, he was a physical back. He carried his pads out in front of him. So, him taking the hits, delivering the hits and holding on to the football.
Q: Would you consider Dalvin Cook on kick returns?
A: I don’t know. I saw the thing that [Mike] Priefer said and I asked him about it. I don’t know. We’ll see. We’re just trying to win games. We don’t care how we do it. If that’s the best option, then maybe we’ll do it.
Q: Do you anticipate Sharrif Floyd participating in training camp?
A: I don’t know. I don’t know. He’s improved. That’s the last I heard, but I don’t know where he’s at. I haven’t seen him yet.
Q: Do you expect that Teddy Bridgewater will start training camp on the physically unable to perform list?
A: I think so, but again I haven’t seen him.
Q: What kind of culture have you established when it comes to rookies getting veteran advice as they get acclimated?
A: I think on most football teams guys, especially when you get into the NFL, it’s kind of an exclusive club, and people understand that all these guys were rookies before. I know I’ve probably said this too much, but we’ve got some really good guys on this team. They want to help guys get better because they know it’ll help them and help the team. We’re fortunate that our veteran guys, like take Danielle Hunter when he was a young guy under their wings and I think our coaches do a good job of that too. We’re just trying to get that culture where people come in, they’re a part of the family.
Q: What’s the progress on your eye recovery?
A: Good. I was able to fly. I’ve got a contact in now, so my vision is much better.
Q: Is the eye bubble out?
A: Yes, the bubble is out.