When it comes to how they handle press conferences and the sharing of information, the Minnesota Vikings have two men that couldn’t be more diametrically opposed in Head Coach Mike Zimmer and General Manager Rick Spielman. Spielman, as we’ve heard on numerous occasions, seems to have mastered the art of saying many words while not really saying anything, and generally doesn’t seem to reveal anything of substance.
Zimmer. . .well, Zimmer doesn’t have that problem.
In an interview with local media on Thursday morning prior to his press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine, Zimmer talked quite extensively about the quarterback situation. He emphasized that he does not want the team’s potential search for a quarterback to take away from the rest of the team, as he feels they’ve built a very solid roster from top to bottom.
Here's Mike Zimmer's full quote on whether he feels the Vikings need to bring in an established quarterback. pic.twitter.com/xlU9Z5B3Z8— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) March 1, 2018
In case it’s not readable, the entire quote from Zimmer reads as follows:
“I don’t know if that’s particularly the case. I don’t want to talk about windows and things like that because I’m hoping it’s more than a window — I’m hoping it’s wide open spaces. But I do think we have a good nucleus as a team. I think it’s really, really important that we understand — and I’m not just saying this — we’ve won 40 games in the last four years. We’ve done that by being pretty good on defense. This year obviously the offense was much better, but part of the reason we’ve been winning games and staying in games is because we’ve been playing good on defense and we’ve been a smart team and all those things. I want to be really careful about taking away from our strength and saying, ‘OK we’re not going to be able to do this and we’re not going to be able to do that anymore because of financial reasons or something else.’”
Based on that, it doesn’t sound like Mike Zimmer would be super thrilled about the Vikings breaking the bank to bring in a quarterback like Kirk Cousins. He knows that players like Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks, and Trae Waynes on defense are going to be coming up for contracts here shortly (as well as Stefon Diggs on the offensive side of the ball).
Zimmer also had comments on each of the Vikings’ three quarterbacks. He was asked about Case Keenum’s potential contract, and his answer didn’t really sound like what you’d call a vote of confidence.
Can Keenum repeat his 2017 breakout? Zimmer: “You think he can, but it’s just kind of guessing.” Noted they had a good team around him.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 1, 2018
Mike Zimmer on Case Keenum: “Is he the guy that played for the Rams or is he the guy that played for us?”— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) March 1, 2018
The Vikings still have time to work out a long-term deal with Keenum, but from the sounds of that, I’m not entirely sure that’s going to happen. I’m not sure if they’re going to work out a long-term, big money deal with anyone at this point, but there hasn’t even really been a lot of buzz that the Vikings are even attempting to do so with Keenum at this point.
As far as Sam Bradford, when asked by Tom Pelissero, he used a word that you probably don’t want to hear used about a fairly important part of an athlete’s body.
Asked Zimmer about the level concern medically with Sam Bradford. He referred to Bradford’s knee as degenerative but also said Bradford was skiing last week. Getting through a full season is the unknown.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 1, 2018
Yeah. . .Bradford having a “degenerative” knee condition probably isn’t want anyone that might have been looking at him this offseason (including the Vikings) wants to hear. But, apparently that’s the case, and you would have to think it’s really going to put a crimp in his efforts to find a new home this offseason. I have no doubt that he’ll find one, but it could take a while and not be as lucrative as it potentially could have been.
He also talked about Teddy Bridgewater and how it’s difficult to figure out exactly where he is at this point.
“You can make mistakes in practice by just doing whatever you want to do and not having that affect you,” Zimmer said. “So it’s really hard to evaluate just in practice. We have to go back a lot with Teddy on what he’s done in the past, him as a person, his work ethic, all those things. Him not playing for two years and not being able to see him play in live situations, that’s concerning a little bit. But I love the guy. He’s a great kid, great competitor, a winner.”
I still think that, deep down in his heart of hearts, Mike Zimmer wants Teddy Bridgewater to be the quarterback of this football team. We’ve known for a long time how he feels about Bridgewater as a quarterback and as a person. On the other hand, he obviously knows that he’s a big question mark at this point. On the third hand. . .for those of you that have three hands. . .if Zimmer is concerned about the Vikings not breaking the bank to bring in a quarterback, Bridgewater would almost certainly be the most cost-effective option that the team could pursue at this point. He would also have the most variance. You could be getting a guy that could start for your team for the next ten years, or you could get a guy that never regains the promise he showed prior to his knee injury.
That’s a lot of information to take in from a press conference, to be certain. But, we actually got something of substance out of an interview this offseason. That’s more than what we usually get.