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Transcript: Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer, 31 July

Two days in a row for the head coach

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Another day, another press conference for Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer. In today’s session, he touched on how happy he was to see Stefon Diggs get an extension, and did not touch on the injury to Mike Remmers because, damn it, he doesn’t have to. There were many other topics that were discussed during today’s session, so let’s have at it. Enjoy, everyone!

I thought practice was good today. We got a lot of good situation work in. Offensively, I feel like we’re getting better in the red zone. We had a couple of different little situations, so that was good. We’re excited to be able to get Stefon Diggs locked up. He’s been a great kid, he’s worked his rear end off to be a good player. He made a heck of a catch out here today. We’re excited to have him and we’ll continue to keep trying to lock up our good guys.

Q: What does it mean to you to have so many key offensive players locked up for at least three years?

A: First of all, the Wilfs have done an outstanding job with monetarily helping and doing the things that they’re doing here to help us have a good football team. And then Rick [Spielman], figuring out who the good players are, and then Rob Brzezinski and George Paton have done an outstanding job. We’re going to continue to try to lock up all of our good guys as long as we’re here. That’s kind of our mantra that we try to do. But those guys all did it, I didn’t have anything to do with it really.

Q: Where have you seen Stefon grow in the five years that you’ve had him here?

A: The big thing with him, he’s came in here and worked. He’s came in and proved, as a fifth-round draft pick, the things he can do, the catches he can make, the routes he runs and the way he works. He’s been a good person off the field, he’s been a good person on the field as far as that. When he messes up, he knows. One time I had him in my office and I asked him, I don’t know what it was, but I asked him a question and he said, “Now Coach, you know you knew the answer when you asked the question.” He’s a smart guy who’s done a great job.

Q: What makes Stefon so tough on the cornerbacks who try and press him?

A: He’s got big time speed and great quickness. He’s got big time acceleration. He catches the ball well, but the way he runs his routes he’s able to get the defender on his back hip because he can beat him at the line and get into that spot.

Q: Is that a result of the emphasis he’s placed on improving his footwork? How much of that is natural talent, and how much of that is taught?

A: Both. He’s obviously natural, but he’s worked extremely hard.

Q: With Diggs being drafted in the fifth round and Adam Thielen arriving as an undrafted free agent, does the organization emphasize the importance of what you do on the field as opposed to how you enter the league?

A: Yeah, it’s important. When guys get here on this football field, we see numbers, we don’t see draft rounds. We see numbers and how they work. Marcus Sherels, there’s a bunch of guys who have been in that situation who come in here [and succeed]. Eric Wilson last year, we try to put a big emphasis on getting free agents who can come in and make the 53-man roster.

Q: How useful is having a player like Diggs in practice for your defenders?

A: It’s great, because they’re going to be going against good receivers when we get into the season. It’s a great challenge for the defense, a great challenge for the defensive backs, and we don’t ever try to take the guy away in practice. It’s good for them to see what they have to do with no help.

Q: Did you happen to see what happened to Mike Remmers today?

A: Yeah, I saw.

Q: Can you elaborate?

A: I don’t know. We don’t talk about injuries. We’re not required to talk about injuries here, and the NFL has stated that coaches and players are not allowed to talk about injuries. How simple is that?

Q: Could having to put others guys out there on the offensive line turn out to be a blessing in disguise?

A: They’re all going to get reps. Everybody that’s out here today is going to get reps.

Q: How has Tashawn Bower progressed since last year?

A: He’s getting better every day. He’s a lot stronger and more physical now. He’s still working on the really good techniques that Andre [Patterson] teaches, so it’s still little steps as we go. But he’s doing a good job.

Q: How long do you think it takes before a young pass rusher can really get in and contribute?

A: They’re all different. Tashawn is a different rusher than [Stephen] Weatherly, so when they’re using their ability and learning their techniques, they could be two completely different kinds of rushers.

Q: Mackensie Alexander had a nice interception near the end of practice. How has he improved in his time with the team?

A: Immensely. He’s really taken a lot of nice steps. He was a little bit of a bite-back early in his career here. He wanted to do things his way, and he’s lucky he’s got an even more hard-headed coach than he is.

Q: How much did you enjoy having Darren Woodson here at practice today?

A: It was great. It was great seeing Darren. He’s a tremendous football player, I always tell everybody that he was a great football player but he was an even better person. He could do so many things on the field, and he was doing things back then that safeties do now. He was an unbelievable player.

Q: You’ve been out here for a week. When will you start putting together your depth chart before the first preseason game?

A: Probably more so after that. We’ll obviously have a depth chart, but going into the game and seeing our guys play, luckily we get a chance to practice against Jacksonville for a couple of days, so they’ll be some good evaluations along with the evaluations we’re doing here. It’s really not important to get everything set right now, it’s important to get set and then move forward once we have some time to work together.