Coach Mike Zimmer is back at Winter Park today after a couple of days away from the team. After the morning walkthrough, which was held indoors, Zimmer chatted with reporters. Here are some of the highlights:
— Zimmer spoke about the loss of right tackle Phil Loadholt. He said it is a tough loss, but he thinks “we’ll be fine” on the offensive line. “Obviously we’re going to miss Phil,” Zimmer said. “He’s a great guy in the locker room and he’s good on the field. But I feel good about the things that we’re doing with these guys right now and where they’re at.” Zimmer feels the starting group, now sans Loadholt, has been developing chemistry and confidence.
— Zimmer said the Vikings aren’t close to deciding whether they will start Audie Cole or Eric Kendricks at middle linebacker. “We’ve still got a long time to go before we have to decide,” he said. But Zimmer likes what the rookie brings to the table. “He’s active and productive. I like a lot of the things about him. I like his enthusiasm, his effort. He’s got great speed,” he said, adding. “I like the way he’s going. We’ll find some jobs for him to do.”
— Outside linebacker Anthony Barr participated in pre-game warmups Saturday night but was held out of game action. With Barr continuing to practice, Zimmer said we can expect to see him this weekend against the Raiders. “He’s feeling good right now,” he said. “We should get him some reps this week. You can tweet that one. We’ll get him some plays this week.”
— Zimmer isn’t sure how long offensive tackle Carter Bykowski will be out. The Eden Prairie native injured his shoulder against the Buccaneers.
— Safety Anthony Harris has had a quiet preseason. Zimmer believes the rookie free agent has been tentative. “He’s still young and learning,” he said. “I don’t think he’s totally cut it loose yet. But he’s doing a good job.”
— The Vikings will have their depth at cornerback tested once the regular season begins. Jabari Price must serve a two-game suspension and Josh Robinson isn’t expected to be back from his torn pectoral. But Zimmer says he is comfortable with the depth on the second half of the depth chart. “I like our corners,” he said. “I think we’ve got a lot of good corners that have a chance.” He specifically mentioned Josh Thomas and DeMarcus Van Dyke.
— Zimmer was asked if the team’s performance against the Buccaneers and Monday’s practice were enough to get the sour taste from that sloppy final practice in Mankato out of his mouth. “The three fumbles were about the same as Mankato, I thought,” Zimmer said. “We had a couple silly penalties that we’ve got to get fixed. We’ve got to stop doing those kind of things if we’re going to be a good football team.” I’m going to take that as a no.