As promised, we have a transcript of all of today’s Q&A with Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer from today’s session in Mankato. Zimmer fielded a bunch of questions from the Twin Cities media, and thanks to the Vikings’ PR staff, we have all of them here for your consumption. We’ve talked about a couple of things he’s said already, such as the possible return of defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and the possibility that he might cede some of the defensive play calling duties to George Edwards, but here is everything Zim Tzu had to say this afternoon.
Q: How has the team looked these first few days?
A: They are working hard and we have got a lot of stuff in. I think practice was pretty good yesterday. We had a few false starts and a couple bad snaps and things like that but most of the execution was pretty good.
Q: How does Pat Elflein look to you?
A: Good. He’s doing a good job. He was one of the ones that had couple bad snaps but he’s doing a good job with communication and his footwork. I think when we get these guys in pads we will see a lot more and kind of prove to us what we are seeing with our eyes, I hope.
Q: How about CB Terrell Sinkfield?
A: Yeah, he’s trying to learn corner and he has a long way to go. But he’s a really good athlete and he’s trying.
Q: Antone Exum was lined up in the nickel yesterday, was that because of number of players available?
A: No. It’s just that he’s a former corner, and I was sitting there looking at him the other day and said maybe we should take a look at this guy at nickel. He’s got the body type for it, good quickness, acceleration, and physicality to him. It’s just something to look at because it’s a good time to experiment with guys.
Q: With WR Moritz Böhringer, how much progress has been made from year one to year two?
A: He’s much improved. His routes are much better; Darrell Hazell is doing a good job with him. He’s catching the ball better and has a better understanding of the offense. He is still a ways away but he has improved a lot. These three days have been good for him and he’s helping the younger guys a little bit now which is something he couldn’t do before. The communication with the language is much better. He’s got a chance.
Q: What’s the next step for Moritz?
A: Some of it is going to be bump and run. He’s doing a better job at the top the route. But the transition from the top of the route to accelerate out, to me, that’s going to be the biggest thing. He’s a little bit of a high-cut guy. He needs to be able to sink his hips and accelerate out. He didn’t catch the ball great last year so that’s obviously one part. He’s doing a better job with all of it. To me, those two things combined with catching the ball will help.
Q: You’ve got a lot of young receivers. Is the hope obviously that one or two of those guys will emerge?
A: Yeah, it’s at every position that some of these young guys emerge. [Stacey] Coley got out there some yesterday and he will get a few more snaps today. [Rodney] Adams has done a nice job this spring so we’re just looking at them and you have to have a lot of camp legs anyways for receivers.
Q: How about RJ Shelton, do you have any information on him? He looked pretty good at OTAs.
A: He’s doing good. He’s probably more of a slot guy but he has good acceleration in and out and he’s done a nice job of showing up.
Q: What do you see from the backup QB situation with Case Keenum and Taylor Heinicke?
A: I think it’s way too early to tell. One guy has a good day and the next day someone else has a good day. I think that’s going to sort its self out kind of in the preseason games more so than in practice. Where I’m at right now it’s kind of close. Hard to say.
Q: What are your impressions been of Eric Wilson?
A: He can run, he’s got physicality, he’s pretty sharp mentally. He’s kind of learning a little bit of a different position than he played in college, but he’s done a really good job. Again, for these young guys these three days are really good for them, so when they come with the vets they can kind of feel a lot more comfortable with the calls. He is a good athlete and he has good strength and size. He’ll go hit you. His issue is probably going to be in coverage. So the faster that he can understand the coverage concepts will be better.
Q: How has Jaleel Johnson progressed throughout camp?
A: He’s got really strong hands, he’s got some physicality. He will play the blocker and not start looking into the backfield, trying to play with our technique. He had a good day yesterday, again without pads, so we will see how it goes. But I like his strength, I like his quickness. He has good size and good explosiveness.
Q: How does Jaleel Johnson fit in with the rest of the outgoing personalities on the defensive line?
A: Most of these young guys are pretty quiet to begin with. He’s fine, he’s not quiet or anything like that. He has a good personality.
Q: How do you think Ifeadi Odenigbo’s pass-rushing skills at Northwestern will translate into the NFL?
A: He’s probably going to have to be a power rusher because he’s a physical kind of guy. He’s dealing with a little cut on his foot right now, but he got through practice yesterday. He’s going to be a different kind of rusher than our other guys, I think.
Q: How does Danny Isidora’s footwork look?
A: Good. I’ve been impressed with Isidora the whole time he’s been here. I was telling someone of who he reminds me of last night, but I won’t say his name. He’s got wide, thick lower body, good movement, he’s good out in space. I think he’s done a nice job. I have a lot of hopes for him.
Q: What do you see from Tre Roberson in his second year?
A: He’s still learning and has a way to go. Everybody sees the one interception he had, but there was a lot of plays in practice that he could’ve done better.
Q: Do you see Sharrif Floyd participating in training camp?
A: I don’t know what he’s going to do in training camp. We’re hopeful that he’s getting back. He’s improved… I don’t know with these guys that are hurt, I don’t know when they’ll be here, or when they’ll be back. We’re just trying to get them better every day. They’re working real hard. I hope Sharrif gets back because he’s a good player when he gets back. He’s improved a lot from when he left.
Q: To clarify, you haven’t ruled out Sharrif to return at some point during training camp?
A: No, I haven’t ruled him out. When he’s ready to go, he can go. I just don’t know when he is going to go. I don’t have the crystal ball.
Q: How do you think Trae Waynes has handled himself over the past few years’ kind of waiting his turn?
A: I think pretty good. When he came in he had a lot to learn. I probably messed him up a little bit by trying to play him at nickel some. I was giving him a little more to do with some of that. He’s not a real talkative guy, he’s pretty quiet and reserved in the things he’s done. I think he’s learned a lot from [Terence] Newman, he’s learned a lot from Xavier [Rhodes], and from [DBs Coach] Jerry [Gray], obviously. I think he’s handled it really well. I think this will be a big year for him, hopefully he comes in and he plays great. That’s what we’re expecting.
Q: Has he opened up more at all?
A: He doesn’t say much to me. He listens, he takes it all in, but he’s not really a guy that’s going to talk a lot of noise out there on the field. I know he’s a competitor, I’m not saying he’s not a competitor. He’s just a quiet guy, which is OK.
Q: How valuable is having Newman in the defensive backs room?
A: Terence is valuable in so many different ways. He’s played safety for us, he’s played nickel for us. He’s started at corner for 13 years or something like that. He does a good job, he’s a pro’s pro. Studies, you can call him on a Wednesday night and he’ll be studying whoever the team is. It’s good to have. In the past groups of DBs, actually you don’t even call him a corner, you call him a DB because wherever he’s needed you can play him. We’re probably a little thin at corner, we probably need to continue to keep looking for guys so we can strengthen that position just in case of injuries or something like that.
Q: Are you wanting to bring in experienced players or just players for numbers?
A: No, just players. Not numbers. I can get numbers.
Q: Have you given any additional thought to having George Edwards calling plays? Will you have him call plays in a preseason game?
A: I’ll probably have him call one in a preseason game to see how it goes. I don’t know, I have not decided yet, no, totally for the season. I think it’d be good to practice in the preseason, see how it goes. See if it helps me to help other areas of the game. I’m kind of thinking that way but I haven’t decided yet, no.
Q: What do you like from Ben Gedeon as a player?
A: I like Gedeon. He’s a tough guy. He’s kind of an old school linebacker, tough guy. He’s got very good instincts, physicality. We’re playing him in a couple different spots just to get him acclimated. He’s smart, you tell him one time and he gets it pretty good. I like him.
Q: Have you had a chance to interact with fans and gauge their mood at the last camp in Mankato?
A: No, I’m pretty much in my dorm room.
Q: Do you think much will change with Adam Thielen now that he got a contract extension?
Q: I don’t think anything will change really. Adam is a pretty dialed in kid. He might get teased a little bit more by some of the other guys. He might get a little more attention coverage-wise from the other teams that we play. Adam’s just a worker, that’s what he does. He has to continue to go make plays. He’s very, very intelligent as far as route running and helping other players, he’s really good at all that stuff.