A few of the highlights from coach Mike Zimmer’s press conference held not long ago ….
– On why the team released long snapper Cullen Loeffler at this point in the preseason: “Basically, it was to get the timing down between the center, holder and kicker and punter.”
– On whether the decision had anything to do with kicker Blair Walsh missing three field goals and a PAT on Saturday night: “No, they were good snaps the other night. … A couple of them were high. There were about two of them on the extra point and field goals that were a little bit high. They were manageable for sure. Releasing Cullen Loeffler had nothing to do with what happened the other night. It was the process of what happened in training camp this whole time.”
– On why Kevin McDermott won the long-snapper battle: “He was faster with his snaps. He was more accurate with his snaps. We charted every one.”
– On whether there was a common thread in Walsh’s misses on Saturday: “It looked like he rushed one, but other than that, no, not really.”
– On linebacker Anthony Barr’s first preseason action coming off knee issues that sidelined for the first two games: “He did all right for the first time out. He didn’t do anything real spectacular. I think he needs to get back into the game tempo a little bit more. There were a couple of times when he didn’t flash like he normally flashes. I think physically he’s fine. It’s just the extra burst you need to have during games.”
– On rookie second-round draft pick Eric Kendricks’ first preseason start at middle linebacker in the base 4-3 defense on Saturday: “I think he did good. Yesterday, [defensive coordinator] George [Edwards] and [linebackers coach] Adam [Zimmer] and [General Manager] Rick [Spielman] and myself sat down and put all the middle linebackers on a tape and watched every play. Just to get a gauge to see where we’re at throughout the whole course of the preseason. As for the other night, [Kendricks] fitted one thing wrong and then they ran basically the same play later and he got it right after we corrected it on the sideline. For the most part, he did all right.”
– Zimmer said he’s made a decision on who will start at middle linebacker in Saturday night’s fourth preseason game at Dallas. But he wouldn’t share the information because he said he hasn’t told the players yet. Audie Cole started the first two preseason games. Kendricks, the preferred candidate, started the third one. Whoever starts the fourth one, bank on him being the starter heading into the preseason since the Vikings are likely to rest several starters in the preseason finale the next week.
– Being this close to the first cutdown date, Zimmer said the team isn’t likely to fill Loeffler’s spot on the 90-man roster.