Every day, the folks from the Minnesota Vikings PR department are kind enough to send us transcripts from the different press conferences that are held throughout the day. As long as we’ve got them, why not share them with everybody, right?
There were a couple of different press conferences today, with the first one involving Vikings’ Defensive Coordinator George Edwards. Below is the full transcript of what Edwards had to say to the media on Sunday morning after the early session of practice.
Good to be back in training camp. It’s good to be back here in our new facility. The guys are in good shape and have good recall from what we worked in the spring. Just finished our second walk through. As we get to the second practice, we are excited to keep improving from day-to-day.
Q: What have you seen so far from Mackensie Alexander?
A: I think anytime you are asked to do something that you’re not familiar with or comfortable with, we are now all of a sudden asking you to step outside your comfort zone, you kind of resist. Especially as a young player, you’re used to be working outside more so than inside. He’s really had a good spring for us and good first day. We just look for him to keep improving as we keep working through training camp. He is a lot more comfortable with the calls and communication, which you have to do a lot more inside there at the nickel. Just look for him to be consistent throughout camp and just keep improving as we keep going through.
Q: Why is moving outside to inside something typically something guys struggle with?
A: The nickel position is unique. It’s a different skillset inside because you have a lot of communication going on with the backers as far as route progressions, as far as run fits. Those are all things that are kind of new to him. There is a lot of newness when you take a guy and move him from outside to inside. Especially with all the formation variations we get from offenses in this league. It’s a lot of things that are happening and it’s the first time through. You are really out of your comfort zone. It’s just a matter of getting used to it, getting used to the calls and communication, having to talk. Let’s face it, when the rookies come in, they’re not really vocal because they’re learning a whole new system. They’re learning a whole new position. They’re really out of their comfort zone. The big thing is just embrace it and once you get going, you understand the techniques and fundamentals that go with it. It becomes more comfortable. The more comfortable they come, the more you see them use athleticism and skillset to be able to react.
Q: What do you think about Mike Hughes and his skills that tailor toward the nickel situation?
A: Mike has done a good job. He did a good job in the spring and thus far since we started training camp. He’s really paying attention to the details of what we are asking out of each call and out of that position. We just look for him the same way, to keep battling and keep competing. His skillset will show up. The more comfortable he feels with what we are asking him to do systematically, his communication skills are getting better. We just look for him to come out here and be consistent and keep competing and keep improving.
Q: How do you see Xavier Rhodes take on a mentoring role to younger cornerbacks?
A: I think the younger guys see the success he has out here at practice every day. A lot of them weren’t with him during the season as some of the veterans were. They can see the success he has on tapes, whether we are looking for cut-ups or whether we are looking at things from last year as we prepare as far as our instillation. I think they feel good gravitating to him with the success that he’s had out there on the runway at the position of corner. They see the success that he’s had and obviously they want to try to mimic that success.
Q: What does Anthony Barr potentially provide coming off the edge to the defensive line rotation?
A: Anthony has done a very good job of embracing the rush, rushing more. Giving him more opportunities to rush. He definitely has the skillset. We just look for him, as we keep developing through training camp, keep getting better at that and we’ll try to continue to find ways to get him in pressure positions to get after the quarterback.
Q: What makes him so good coming off the edge?
A: I think he’s got a natural pass rush ability, number one. Number two, his skillset with his speed coming off the outside edge. Whether it’s inside matching up on a back or now even with an offensive lineman when we move him inside. I think his skillset, he’s been given God given talent and him being able to embrace that and use it to the best of his abilities.
Q: What are your early impressions of Holton Hill?
A: He’s done a good job thus far, again. He’s in a learning situation but he’s got good length, he’s got good speed. We just look for him to come out here and be consistent with the calls and communications every day, the techniques and fundamentals. He’s still just working and coming out here competing every day and that’s what we’re looking for him to continue to do.
Q: How do you assess the defensive line rotation in training camp?
A: It’s sort of a combination of all those things involved, alright. We want smart players. Understanding that situational football is critical. Then the other thing it boils down to it, is their talent, their attention to the details of the fundamentals and techniques that we’re teaching, as opposed to, just really coming and whatever they did in the past doesn’t really matter. For our whole scheme to come together, we need everybody on the same page moving on the same cylinder. That’s how we have success. We all know pass rush and pass coverage and all those things go together. Well, rush lanes and all those things, as far as their run fits. Making sure we have gap integrity and all those things. It’s a lot that we ask those guys to do, and they embrace and go to it. The more guys that we can buy in, and the more guys we can see be consistent throughout training camp, of course. That allows us to stay fresher as we progress through the season.
Q: Does Tashawn Bower look as big as he is to you from rookie year to now?
A: He really worked hard this offseason. You can tell in his play. You can tell in his reactions. It’s really slowed down a little bit for him now. He can concentrate on the technique and the fundamentals. He’s not doing quite as much thinking as a lot of rookies do when they first come in. Let’s face it, college football is a different football game now from what we play in the NFL.
Q: How is Jalyn Holmes adapting to learning new things?
A: He’s doing good. He really made some hay in the offseason. I know he got the injury and that ended up prohibiting him from practicing there late. He’s come back in and you can see his improvement from day-to-day. That’s what we look for, just keep improving day-to-day, understanding the concepts and different situations that we’re talking about. A lot of times his athleticism then will come a lot more prevalent as we watch him on tape.
What do you think, folks? Does anything that Coach Edwards have to say stand out to you?