New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, September 7, 2017
When you look at this Vikings defense, what sticks out?
"Number one, I think they're extremely good tacklers. That's from the safety position to the corner position down to the defense. Mike (Zimmer) does a great job of communicating what he is looking for. From a technique standpoint, they tackle well. They provide a lot of challenges in regards to the looks they give you in some of your third down and nickel protections. I think they rush the passer extremely well. They have been one of the better defenses now for the last two or three years. Mike's done a good job in creating that defensive culture."
Specifically, with those edge guys, how tough of a challenge do they present as a group to your offensive line and your offense?
"The defensive ends? Yes, those guys both get up the field quick. They get off the ball. They are close to being the top of the league in forced penalties at home. They are very good and very challenging in your protection."
How much progress have you seen from P.J. Williams this offseason?
"I think he's one of those guys that's stayed healthy and I thought he had a great camp. He continues to gain confidence in what we're doing from a scheme standpoint and confidence in his ability to play his technique."
What do you think about his ability to bounce back after the injuries he's had these past two years?
"The injury (concussion) this past season happened while he was playing. I think he has shown that through training camp (staying on the field). I think he has had a real good (training) camp. I think he's ready to go out and play. I'm sure (he's) anxious just like everybody else."
What kind of role do you expect to see from Dalvin Cook?
"We knew Cook, in the grade zone, for the most of everyone, (us and others thoughe he) was going to be in the first round. He's listed as their starting running back. He is explosive, equally as a receiver and a runner. There are a handful of things he does and he does extremely well. I think he provides that flexibility and versatility. We had him graded extremely high. For us, our focus was on the middle and later rounds of this draft from a running back standpoint. But he's one that has that versatility."
What does it say about Terrence Newman, who continues to play at a high level entering his 16th season?
"I was in Dallas when we drafted Terrence and he is someone that is very consistent and he's smart and he understands what the defense is trying to take away and what they're trying to concede. When you get a player, especially at that position that has played that long, that never happens without intelligence. In other words, it never happens and he's someone that takes care of his body and he's someone that is a fantastic athlete."
How much are looking forward to seeing Alvin Kamara play in the opener?
"I think that's a case where your rookie class and some of your new players (are playing for the first time and) you're anxious to see them respond, get acclimated, especially on the road in a tough environment. I'm sure it won't be without error and you have to settle in and see them play consistently. We will have a number of young players playing."
Has Alvin Kamara already started to provide the team with an edge in that satellite back role, with the Vikings having to prepare for what he can do?
"That'd be normal in gameplanning. He has versatility and we just talked about the runner they have in (Dalvin) Cook, (with whom) you see the same type of versatility. Now, philosophically what you want to do offensively and how you want to use those players is probably a different situation down here when you have (Mark) Ingram and (Adrian) Peterson. It's just a matter of what you're trying to do offensively. We look real close at all the preseason tape and prepare that way accordingly."