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

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

A We want our best players to get their hands on the ball as much as possible. We’re not going to keep him from returning kicks because he is such a dangerous weapon there. He’s been a very hard worker, he has improved his route running since we’ve been here and things are going to change for these guys in training camp when we are able to start playing bump-and-run. For him to take the next step, we’re going to have to see how he gets off a jam and the things that people will try to do to take him away.

Q Are defensive linemen Sharrif Floyd and Everson Griffen ready to step into bigger roles?

A They’ve both had good springs. Again, I think it’s going to come down to how they look in pads and how they perform in those situations and what kind of stamina they have, how many plays they can play during a game. And a lot of the time when you’re dealing with young guys, how do they have process information during the course of a game? Sharrif has a lot of ability. Right now, he’s trying so hard to be perfect on every single snap. He just needs to relax and let it free-flow a little bit more.

Q How much are you looking forward to seeing what first-round pick Anthony Barr is ready to do? He wasn’t around in the spring very much due to NFL rules.

A Yeah, obviously a lot because we only had him for four or five days. So that part, how much he can progress within the system, how much he can handle without us overloading him mentally? But it should be exciting to watch him, and [David] Yankey and [Scott] Crichton also.

Q Is Chad Greenway a realistic option to start at middle linebacker?

A It’s a possibility. We keep working him in there. We’re just trying to find the best 11 players we can and then figure out where the rest of the guys are going to fit. It’s not out of the question, but time will tell a little bit more on that.

Q What about the battles for the third cornerback spot and, as you mentioned, the other safety spot alongside Harrison Smith? What do you covet most in the secondary?

A Consistency. They’re going to have to be mentally tough. They’re going to have to contest balls; we’re going to have to be closer in coverage than we have been. And then we’ve got to tackle. Typically, the worst defensive teams are the ones that tackle the worst. So we’re going to have to be good tacklers on the back end. I don’t think we’ll make a lot of mistakes mentally because we’re fairly simple in what we try to get accomplished, so I don’t worry much about that. But they do have to be in the right position, be able to tackle and contest balls.

Q What excites you most about this year’s team?

A I think that maybe everyone is underestimating us. I love to prove people wrong, and hopefully our team will want to be the same way. It’s easy to sell the guys on proving people wrong. Saying that, we can’t talk about it. We’ve got to go out there and do it.

Q What makes you think this team can get back to the playoffs this season or that you can at least get these guys heading in that direction?

A They work hard. I think they’re hungry. I think they’re paying attention. They’ve been intent on trying to do things right, in meeting rooms and at [Organized Team Activities]. They’ve been trying to please with everything we’ve asked them to do. That’s exciting for a new coach. It’s also easy for players when things change to want to try this or try that. I’m sure there will be some rocky times, but we’re going to work through it.

Q Is the team still actively looking at avenues to improve the roster — whether it is through a trade or free agency — before Week 1 rolls around?

A Every day. Every day. There is not a day when we don’t try to improve the roster. And [General Manager] Rick Spielman does a great job of that. He’s on top of it all the time, and we talk frequently. But we’ve had discussions about that already going into training camp.

Q How much are you looking forward to getting your first season as an NFL head coach officially underway?

A It seems like every night I dream about football, even when I’m off. It will be fun to get going again and try to figure out how to win with the team that we have and what strengths we have and how we can accentuate them. I’m excited about our coaching staff. I think they did a great job in the spring. And we’ll continue to coach our rear ends off to try to get better every day. And I think the players are excited, too.

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Kansas City - J. Vargas 7:07 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
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NY Jets
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Kansas City
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Tampa Bay 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Florida 8:00 PM
Arizona
Washington 9:00 PM
Calgary
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
North Texas 21 4th Qtr 7:53
Rice 31
UAB 17 4th Qtr 0:42
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 4th Qtr 0:37
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 0 4th Qtr 4:49
Wisconsin 52
Minnesota 24 4th Qtr 2:09
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 4th Qtr 1:08
SMU 10
North Carolina 21 4th Qtr
Virginia 27
San Jose St 17 3rd Qtr 12:40
Navy 24
Northern Ill 14 3rd Qtr 4:58
Eastern Mich 10
(25) UCLA 17 2nd Qtr 8:02
Colorado 0
Akron 14 2nd Qtr 6:20
Ball State 6
Massachusetts 20 2nd Qtr 6:26
Toledo 14
Ohio U 7 2nd Qtr 8:23
Western Mich 21
Ga Southern 20 2nd Qtr 10:25
Georgia State 10
Kent State 0 1st Qtr 1:27
Miami-Ohio 7
Oregon State 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Los Angeles 0 1st Half 35:00
Seattle 0
D.C. 3:00 PM
Montreal
Toronto FC 6:30 PM
New England
Portland 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Colorado 9:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
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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 Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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