Some highlights from coach Mike Zimmer’s press conference held not long ago …
– Asked when he wants to make his final decision on the starting right guard position, Zimmer laughed and said, “Yesterday.” Mike Harris, the career tackle, has been given the first opportunity to win the job and has been with the first-teamers throughout the first week of camp. By all accounts via the coaching staff, the big fella has done a solid job of keeping his pads low, which is difficult for taller guys used to playing tackle. The team, however, can’t make a solid call on Harris until they see him in at least one preseason game. “It’s more important to make the right decision than it is to make the fast decision,” Zimmer said.
– Upon further review of yesterday’s practice tape, Zimmer said the team “looked pretty good.” He didn’t feel that way at all coming off the field yesterday.
– The Vikings will practice inside Blakeslee Stadium from 7:15 to 9:15 tonight. It won’t be a scrimmage, but the intensity always seems to elevate a notch when up to 10,000 fans partake in a night practice. “Tonight is good for the younger players,” Zimmer said. The atmosphere helps the coaches judge how players respond when they’re under more pressure. In these situations, Zimmer said, “Some guys might spit the bit while other guys get out of the gate and run.”
– Gerald Hodges will be added to the mix at middle linebacker starting tonight. Normally an outside linebacker who backs up both Anthony Barr and Chad Greenway, Hodges might also be the third-best linebacker on the team. The coaches want to find out if he has what it takes to play in the middle. Zimmer said if Hodges continues to take his coaching well, he could be a very good player in the NFL.
– Guard David Yankey saw a some reps at left tackle in today’s walkthrough. It’s unlikely that he’d end up being the backup there, but Zimmer wants to see some new looks. “I told [offensive line coach] Jeff Davidson to start moving these guys around a little bit,” Zimmer said.
– Zimmer said he has told middle linebacker Audie Cole to “cut it loose a little bit.” Cole is running as the first-team middle linebacker. Zimmer said he’s doing a good job but needs to unleash some of the aggressiveness that he’s shown in games when given opportunities to play.