We’ve got some more transcripts from Friday at Minnesota Vikings Training Camp to bring you, because yours truly was a little busy last night and didn’t do them at the end of the day like we usually do. But, the information is still good, so we’ll pass it along to you.
Here’s the presser from head coach Mike Zimmer from Friday’s session in Eagan. Things got off to a bit of a contentious start, as Zimmer addressed the rumor that was (inexplicably) going around the interwebs yesterday that the team was actively trying to trade linebacker Anthony Barr, but then the regular questions started.
Oh, and also Zimmer isn’t obligated to talk about injuries until Wednesday of Week 1. Apparently nobody caught that the first ten or fifteen times he’s said it this week already.
I wanted to meet with you because I was made aware of an erroneous report about Anthony Barr. Anthony is my guy, number one. We are unequivocally not trying to trade Anthony. He’s the first draft pick we ever had with me. He’s helped this defense go from 32nd or 31st, whatever it is, to being pretty good. There’s no, none whatsoever, truth to that rumor. He had a tweak yesterday and we kept him out of practice for a while. He should be out there today.
Q: Is the controversy on tackling a concern for you?
A: Yes, it’s a concern because it looks like there’s some not sure of what is what. I did see a couple plays that I thought were legit and a couple plays I thought were questionable. It’s going to be a work in progress all preseason and they’ll end up getting it right at the end.
Q: The way the new rule does not allow you to roll into the hit, similar to Anthony Barr’s last year. Can you teach guys to do it any differently?
A: That’s really been the rule all along. I don’t understand where that’s coming from. I actually told Pete [Morelli] that I want you to watch that again, but you’re never supposed to fall on the quarterback with your entire body weight. Now that he’s out of the pocket maybe it’s changed a little bit this year, but the rule is you’re never supposed drive the quarterback into the ground. You’re always supposed to hit and try and get your body weight off of him. I don’t know why they would come out and say that now anyway. Doesn’t make any sense to me.
Q: With the new rules, how much harder is it to be a defensive back?
A: Obviously it’s more difficult. The illegal contact they’re trying to clean up. When I was on one of the committees we sat down and talked about illegal contact, pass interference, knocking a guy off the route, all those different things. That rule has been in for a while. It’s just I think they’re going to enforce it a little bit more and they’re going to make it a little less ambiguous is I guess the best way to say it. As far as lowering the helmet, the reason why they put that rule in, I was talking to the team about it last night, is basically they don’t want you to use the helmet as a weapon. When the helmet was first brought into the league was for protection and now some of the crown of the helmet hits it can be dangerous. They’re trying to eliminate that from the game and make the players more safe. I have no problem with that.
Q: What is it about Anthony Barr’s skill set that makes him unique amongst linebackers?
A: Well number one, he’s smart as heck. I can tell him to do all kinds of different things, make all kinds of different checks and adjustments. He’s got great size, length and speed. He dictates the game in a lot of different ways that don’t show up on a stat sheet and to me that’s important. We’re trying to get him signed and hopefully we can but that’s between upstairs and his people. We’d love to have him here, like I said he’s my guy, first guy that I drafted. I want him to get the best deal he can possibly get but in a selfish way I want him to be here too.
Q: Is Anthony Barr expected to practice this afternoon?
A: Yes, I don’t know how much he’s going to do, but he’ll be out there doing stuff.
Q: Do you want to see Dalvin Cook in the preseason?
A: Yes, I’ll probably see him in the preseason. It will depend on the situation and where we’re at and things like that. We’ve banged him pretty good the last few days so he’ll get some reps.
Q: Will Dalvin Cook be ready for the opener in Denver?
A: Yes, he’s ready now.
Q: What are your plans for Dalvin Cook tomorrow?
A: It depends; I haven’t decided yet.
Q: What can fans expect to see from the night practice?
A: Basically, it’s going to be a regular practice. We might play a little game situation and play that out. Basically they’re going to see some red zone and short yardage, things like we do in practice all the time.
Q: Are you going to talk about injuries or are you going to keep that internal?
A: I’m not obligated to talk about injuries. I’m only obligated to put out an injury report on the first Wednesday of the season.
Q: How is Tom Compton doing?
A: Yeah, good. A lot of stuff is new for him. He’s working like crazy to catch on with everything that we’re doing, getting more comfortable to the guy next to him. And Danny [Isidora] has been playing a little bit of right and left guard. He’s done a good job and needs to continue to progress.
Q: What has it meant to Dalvin Cook to have Latavius Murray here as he’s gone through everything that he’s gone through?
A: Those two have a great relationship. I think you’re better off asking him those kind of questions than me because I don’t sit around and talk to those guys about that kind of stuff.
Q: How hard is it to find a replacement for Anthony Barr?
A: We’re all replaceable, I’m replaceable, everybody’s replaceable and you go and you move on. Anthony is a guy that has a unique skill set and the fact that he’s excellent in coverage, he’s an excellent rusher, he’s excellent against the run. He’s a guy that other teams account for all the time. It’s not like they come out there and say, “Okay we’re going to make sure we block Terence Newman”. They’re going to make sure they block Anthony Barr on every play. There’s not one time that they’re going to say, “Alright, forget about Barr”.