Eager camper: A Q&A with Vikings coach Mike Zimmer

  • Article by: MATT VENSEL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 24, 2014 - 12:27 PM

New Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is ready to take on the challenges of his first training camp.

Mike Zimmer’s preparation for his first NFL training camp as a head coach didn’t end, even when he fell asleep.

“It seems like every night I dream about football, even when I’m off,” the new Vikings coach said.

The Vikings report to Minnesota State University Mankato on Thursday to start camp. Since being named coach in January, Zimmer has spent pretty much every waking second — and apparently a lot of sleeping seconds — thinking about reviving a team that went 5-10-1 last season.

Zimmer talked last week about variety of topics, including top draft pick Anthony Barr, second-year speedster Cordarrelle Patterson, what excites him about these Vikings and, yes, that three-way competition at quarterback.

Here’s the Q & A with Zimmer.

Q This is your first training camp as an NFL head coach. What needs to happen for you to consider this successful?

A I have an idea of how we want to improve each day, and to be successful, really, there are three areas: We need to make sure we find the right starters, [find out] who the substituted guys are and continue to build depth. Obviously, we want to be disciplined and tough coming out of training camp. But there’s a fine line, and we need to make sure we get out of there healthy, too.

Q How much of your focus will be teaching and how much of it will be player evaluation and installing your schemes?

A All three will be the same. We’ll continue to teach every day. There are some things in the systems that we will have to continue to build on from where we were, just to get them introduced in case we decide to use them during the regular season. The other part is perfecting the things that we are doing.

Q You have trumpeted that there will be competition at pretty much every position. Are there any camp battles you are particularly looking forward to?

A I’m interested in seeing some of the guys that I didn’t see in the spring. At the safety position, [Andrew] Sendejo and [Jamarca] Sanford, I really don’t know much about them. That will be interesting, just to see where they are at and where they compare to other guys. And it will be interesting to see the young guys that we drafted and how they progress when we get the pads on. Football is a different game when you start playing with the pads instead of shorts. Some guys show up more, so the physicality part of the game will show up a lot, I believe, in the training camp part.

Q In the spring workouts the media was allowed to watch, Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater got the majority of the reps at quarterback. Does Christian Ponder have a real chance to start? And what are you looking to see from whoever wins the job?

A Actually, I think Christian has done a very good job in the time that we’ve had him and how much he has improved in that amount of time. We’re going to try to give everyone a fair shot, and preseason games will help determine it. We want someone who is going to take care of the football, lead the team in the right direction and when called upon be able to win football games. To me, the starting quarterback also comes down to what kind of team we have — the defense, how good we are there, and the offensive line. Those things are all important to understanding who the quarterback may be, as well.

Q When making that decision, how much does what they have done so far weigh into it, how much does what they do in camp weigh into it and how much does how they perform in the preseason games?

A I think all three. We’re not going to forget what they did in the spring. But we’re going to continue to evaluate them each day as we get going. The preseason games will probably be a little bit more of a judge, when we’re going against other people.

Q When would you like to have a starter in place?

A I have an idea in mind, but I’m going to keep that to myself right now.

Q Do you think Cordarrelle Patterson is ready to take a big step forward as a downfield receiver? What is the challenge of balancing an expanded role for him on offense with what he does as a returner?

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 47 3rd Qtr
LA Clippers 50
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 70 FINAL
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close