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Zim Tzu needs a preseason too

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The Vikings warrior poet coach dispenses his words of wisdom

Eric Thompson

ED NOTE: This has bad words. None of the other things we write on here do, but this one does. It seems to be a popular bit, so until the law catches up with me, I’m going to keep doing it. Thanks for understanding, and thanks for not reading and not letting your kids read it if bad language isn’t your thing. Hope you enjoy the rest of our articles—Ted

When you’re a warrior poet, even you need time away from your craft, and so go into winter quarters to plot and rebuild your army. But once you emerge and get back into it, you can’t put your troops into a titanic battle right away. You need to test out the new units, review your new strategies, and determine what will and won’t work. So you find someone to play war games with, and go about kicking their ass. Although these aren’t real games, they are still a hated foe, and hated foes must be reminded who the head motherfucker in charge is around these parts, practice or not.

Because you are Zim Tzu, The Once And Future King In The North, High Septon Of Eagan, Lord Commander Of The Iron Range And Twin Cities, Master Of Fortress TCO, Honorary Elder Of Mankato and Protector Of The Realm.

And as the practice games ramp up towards the real thing, you must advise the great unwashed as to the progress of things, both seen and unseen. To do that, you must stand in front of a camera, speak into a microphone, and launch a verbal fusillade* that resembles a code that only a select few understand** and only true verbal spymasters can decode and make plain for all. ***

*Or you just answer questions at a press conference.

**Being a spy would have been cool. Doing this is just 100% made up jackassery of the highest order.

***Seriously, all I do is make up answers to most of Mike Zimmer’s real press conference answers, and it all makes about as much sense as Antonio Brown right now.

As is always the case, Zim Tzu had an opening statement.

What Zim Tzu said: After watching the film, there were some really good things, like I said after the game. Offensively we looked a lot like what I envision it to look like. Run, play action, pass, and good protection, we had really good protection in the ball game. Third downs were really good. The scramble by Kirk (Cousins) is something that we are trying to continue to get him to do, especially when he is getting man coverage like that. Then we got some work to do defensively. They had 27 first downs, seven of them were by penalty, so we got to fix that. We got to do a better job on third down than we did, and we got to make sure we are getting to the football better than we did. As far as special teams, it was nice to see Dan [Bailey] make all four of the extra points. We got to do a better job in the coverage phases, kickoff and punt team, so that will be a work in progress. We will get that going here a little better this week. Those will all be points of emphases for us and we will continue to get better.

What Zim Tzu meant: this offense is 100% John DeFilippo free, and it gave me a tingly sensation in my nethers that I haven’t felt since the Minneapolis Miracle. Special teams will still be the death of me, though. And the goddamn penalties. It was like Mike Tice was back coaching, if only for a day.

Q: There is a report that you traded for Kaare Vedvik, a kicker from the Baltimore Ravens, is that true?

What Zim Tzu said: I don’t know if that is true or not.

What Zim Tzu meant: I am unaware of any such activity or operation, nor would I be at liberty to discuss it if such an operation did, in fact, exist. May I refer you to our public affairs office for further guidance?

Q: The context of Dan Bailey’s uneven camp, you said you liked the fact that he made all four extra points. How do you put that into the context with what he did on Friday?

What Zim Tzu said: Honestly, I really like Dan Bailey. He’s a very professional and mature kid. We have been having some issues with the snap, hold, and kick kind of thing, and having two long snappers I think is adding to that a little bit because timing is different. The holding, we are working on quite a bit, but I like Dan.

What Zim Tzu meant: I fucking hate kickers.

Q: When a backup player does well against their backups, how can you translate that when you’re playing against good teams?

What Zim Tzu said: You don’t, I don’t think really, because you don’t really know their player, but that’s why we got a lot of our second guy teams in early and they still had some of their first team guys in there. A lot of it is coming out here and seeing what they do in practice, like if it’s a DB against [Stefon] Diggs and [Adam] Thielen. Really what you’re looking for in a game when they are going against like people is, are they using the right techniques, are they playing within the system, and are they able to make communication checks? Thinks like that more so, and you’re always evaluating. If you’re getting your butt kicked, it’s probably not a good thing.

What Zim Tzu meant: Kyle Sloter is not going be be QB2. Get the fuck over it.

Q: After seeing the film, what are your thoughts on Hercules Mata’afa and how he did?

What Zim Tzu said: I think he did alright. He pushed the pocket a couple times good, and in the running game he was alright. He is still going to continue to grow as we move forward, but he showed signs that he has a chance to be a good player.

What Zim Tzu meant: You better get all your Hercules Dad jokes lined up because this dude is gonna be a beast. Don’t piss him off OH HEY JUST BEAT YOU TO THE PUNCH!

Q: How have you seen Olabisi Johnson grow throughout camp and leading into a strong preseason game?

What Zim Tzu said: He is doing a lot of jobs. Special teams, I thought he did well on special teams, which is important. I also think he did a nice job catching the ball, but he is a guy that can play multiple spots and I think the more he has done that, the more he has been able to get involved in the offense.

What Zim Tzu meant: He will make the roster because he is the least bad option in a wide receiver pool that outside of the top two guys has more pee in it than water.

Q: What do you like about Nate Wozniak?

What Zim Tzu said: He is a big guy. He was down in New Orleans, obviously, and we know those guys pretty well. They were trying to get him back. But we felt like he was the kind of guy that fits our system. He is a big guy that was a former tight end, is athletic, and has grown into his weight. He is up to 300 pounds now. Now that he is bigger and stronger, we feel like he’s got a chance to help us with tackle.

What Zim Tzu said: Yeah, we signed him. New Orleans? Fuck those guys.

Q: Is Wozniak still pretty raw?

What Zim Tzu said: He was on the practice squad all last year and they do similar things, but Rico [Coach Rick Dennison] will do a good job with him.

What Zim Tzu meant: In the end zone. With a miracle.

Q: How encouraging was it to see the explosive plays in the run game on Friday?

What Zim Tzu said: I had an old coach one time who used to talk to the team – actually it was Coach [Barry] Switzer. So Coach Switzer, he ran the wishbone at Oklahoma and then he came to the NFL. He talked to them all the time, it might be one here or two here and then minus-one here, but pretty soon it’s a 13 and then it’s a 20. They’re not all going to be explosive runs, but the idea of sticking with it and having that mindset that we’re going to pop one of these in there eventually, and we popped a couple [against New Orleans]. And also it’s going to help on the play action, because the linebackers, they’re playing the run and the safeties are playing the run. That’s kind of what happened on those two plays. One they were actually blitzing. The draw, they were actually blitzing on. The guy ended up hitting the wrong gap, and we made a good run and we blocked the guys. To see that happen first time out, that’s nice.

What Zim Tzu meant: None of you know who Barry Switzer is, do you?

Q: With Alexander Mattison, Ameer Abdullah and Mike Boone all vying for snaps, what’s going to separate someone to get that number two running back job?

What Zim Tzu said: I’ll try to say this the correct way - I think Mattison has got a really bright future. I think the other two guys can help in change-of-pace situations. Mattison is going to have to continually work on his pass protection. We didn’t want to put him in there the other night just because of some of the things that might happen. But the other two guys are smaller guys. If they’re going to be in there on third downs, they’re going to have to block bigger guys, so that’s going to be their deal as well. That part of it, I think we feel like they all can run, they’re all smart enough to run the offense and things like that. But it will come down to third downs and those areas.

What Zim Tzu meant: Alexander Mattison is firmly entrenched as RB2, while Ameer Abdullah and Mike Boone will enter the octagon to see who emerges as RB3.

Q: What have you thought of Matt Wile’s camp and what he did for you on Friday?

What Zim Tzu said: He only had two punts, but the first punt was inside the 20, but not by much. I think he should have got it closer to the end zone on that one. I think he’s been better this camp. Directionally he still needs to work on going to his left, but I think he’s done better this camp.

What Zim Tzu meant: I fucking hate punters, too.

Q: Is that a spot you’ll continually look at to make changes?

What Zim Tzu said: We’re kind of always looking at other spots. You guys are trying to get the six or seven receivers, and they might be on somebody else’s team right now. None of these guys might make it. I wouldn’t get too caught up in who’s standing out there on the practice field, because they might be on somebody else’s field.

What Zim Tzu meant: We will continue to dabble with different kickers, punters, and long snappers like Willie Nelson dabbles in marijuana.

Q: Do you think Dan Bailey or Matt Wile need some competition?

What Zim Tzu said: No, I don’t think so. I think anytime, if we indeed made a trade, it’s to try and get better guys, wherever we do that.

What Zim Tzu meant: Not anymore, heh heh...

Q: What did you make of Jalyn Holmes and Jaleel Johnson’s performance at New Orleans?

What Zim Tzu said: Initially when they first went out there they were both far off the ball, which is kind of mind blowing. They’ve been out here for however many practices this is. Jalyn was lining up too head up on the guard that he was on, and Jaleel was too far back, and so it took a while to get to that. Once they got back in the right place and figured out where they were supposed to be, it’s not that hard, right? There’s a guard and there’s a center. But Jaleel did a couple nice things on splitting some double teams, and I thought Jalyn had some nice rushes in the ball game. So again, especially Jalyn, he didn’t get as much playing time last year, so all this is a process for him as we’re moving forward. They showed some ability, and hopefully we get the little things corrected now and they can start moving on the other things.

What Zim Tzu meant: You know, sometimes it’s like when you’re raising a kid, and they’re still 5 or 6 years old. They understand the King’s English, and they comprehend basic life skills and concepts—don’t pick your nose, wash your hands after you poop, and say please and thank you, stuff like that. You reinforce it, over and over again, until one day they do all that stuff without being prompted. And you’re thinking ‘hell yeah, this parenting shit is easy’. Then one day, for no reason, they come out of the bathroom smelling like they fell into a goddamn outhouse, while their booger hook is so far up their nose you think they’re scratching the back of their eyeball while they’re yelling GET ME A GODDAMN JUICE BOX, and you’re like ‘watch your fucking mouth okay maybe that’s on me but what in the name of Dr. Fucking Spock is happening? JESUS THEY FORGOT LITERALLY EVERYTHING IN THE SPAN OF THREE SECONDS!’

You don’t stop loving your kid, but you start from scratch. It happens. And you blame the bad genes on the in-laws, because they make Charles Manson look like the next Dr. Phil.

Q: How did you assess the defensive backs that are battling for roster spots?

What Zim Tzu said: We had way too many guys grabbing jerseys, which created a lot of pass interference penalties. So that’s a big area that we got to get cleaned up. As far as that, there were some good and bad, really, on all of them. Sometimes they were in the right position, sometimes they weren’t. Our reroutes, when we were in cover two, weren’t as good as we need to be. And it’s hard to say – this guy, he might have been good on this play, and the other guy [not], so it’ll work itself out.

What Zim Tzu meant: I assess them all as unemployed very soon.

Q: The fullback position seems to be important to the offense. How would you evaluate the two fullbacks in Friday’s game?

What Zim Tzu said: Both of them did well. I think they’re both athletic, former tailback guys, that are smart and tough. C.J. [Ham] is very important because there are a lot of things that he can do. Khari [Blasingame] is a very good athlete. Those guys are hard to find.

What Zim Tzu meant: We are going to keep two fullbacks on the roster and you will like it.

Q: Did it seem like the offensive line was starting to gel?

What Zim Tzu said: Yeah. I know a week ago I was talking in the staff meeting, and I said we need more team pass, because we got to work on pass protection. We’ve been working so hard in the running game, and it wasn’t real good. But the last few days I’ve been seeing a lot of improvement in pass protection. The other night in the ball game, the one time that Kirk [Cousins] scrambled actually was a miscommunication. C.J. [Ham] had the guy, and he didn’t realize it until late. But as far as the five guys up front, Rashod [Hill] had a holding penalty on the first play, but the way they’re keeping the pocket clean, I was very encouraged about that part of it.

What Zim Tzu meant: I mean napalm is a gel. As long as the dispensing nozzle and igniter are pointed in the right direction we’ll be okay. If it’s not it’ll be 2016 again.