Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, September 7, 2017
How do you guys prepare when you're looking at a rookie left tackle?
"The best answer is we go back through college tape. We go through the preseason. Basically just try to (scout) like we'd prepare for anybody else."
What sticks out to you about Zach Line coming back to Minnesota for the season opener?
"I really do not have a reaction to it. To be honest with you, I am trying to prepare for the Saints."
What did you guys like about Dalvin Cook that made you guys draft him?
"We thought he was explosive, he catches the ball well, (and) he has good pass protection (ability). We thought he was a good back coming out. I think it was important for us to have him at that position."
Why do you think Terrance Newman has been able to remain so effective this late in his career?
"Probably genetics. He's a great kid. He works hard (and) studies. He's a kid that takes football serious. He does a lot to maintain with his body. You'd have to ask him. He is kind of a freak of nature."
You were with the Cowboys when they drafted him, right?
In what ways have you seen him grow, change, whatever the case may be?
"When he was there, he was a young guy that was very competitive. He was a Big 12 sprint champion (and an) indoor sprint champion at Kansas State. He's just a really good player. He's matured a lot and (is) understanding a lot (more) about the game (as he's gotten older). (He has an) understanding about technique and coverages and becoming more of a leader."
How difficult was the decision to part ways with Adrian Peterson?
"All those kind of decisions are difficult. He was a free agent. Anytime that you have good players that leave, it's always difficult."
When Adrian Peterson says, "he wants to stick it to his former team", is that bulletin board material or is that just part of his personality?
"I'd bet Drew Brees wants to stick it to us. I don't worry about any of that stuff."
How would you like to see fans greet Peterson on Monday?
"Honestly, I haven't thought of it. All I care about is how they are with us. It's really up to them how they decide to do it."
When (Sean) Payton came to the Cowboys what were your first impressions, working with him for the first time?
"He is a heck of a coach, smart. We got a chance to go against each other every day at practice (on offense and defense). He was very innovative. Sean's not changed much. He's a fun guy to be around, great guy."
Do you remember Bill Parcells calling Sean Payton Dennis the Menace?
"You'd have to ask Sean about that. I'm not going to comment on that."
What is your relationship with Sean Payton right now?
"Good, we talk once in a while. If I have a question I'll call him, but it's not like we're working together anymore, but we have a good relationship."
Does the experience working together give either of you an advantage?
"I don't know, he kind of knows me and I kind of know him. That was however many years ago, ten years ago at least. We got a chance to go against each other in practice, but it's a different deal. We've played against each other before so I don't know that there is an advantage either way."
How tough of a place is U.S. Bank Stadium for opponents to play there?
"Well it really depends on how we play. If we play well, it's a tough place to play, it's loud and the fans are great. It's a beautiful stadium."
How much do you change your defensive preparation with Drew Brees out?
"Well a little bit obviously. Snead is a good player and made a lot of catches for Drew (Brees), but Drew has a lot of weapons. That offense hasn't been number one in the league for the last three years because of one guy, so they are always tough to defend. Whether they have Willie Snead or anybody else. They have good running attack, they've got a good offensive line and they have Ted Ginn Jr. (Jr.) who's an explosive guy, Michael Thomas who does a great job, (Coby) Fleener. They have all kinds of weapons, so he (Drew) may be disappointed he has one less, but he's still got a lot of bullets in that gun."
What challenges does the three-headed backfield in New Orleans present?
"I don't know. All three of them are good players. I think each one of them will have different sets, skills that they use, but it's hard for me to say what they didn't have before because I haven't played them in three years."
Does the fact that two of the Saints' top two receivers from last year aren't going to face you pose a challenge in the film room?
"I think Drew Brees makes it extremely difficult to prepare for."
I much do you think your defensive ends are a strength for your team?
"I think they're good players. Everson Griffen's a good player, Danielle Hunter, Bryan Robison, all three are good players. They do a nice job rushing the passer and Andre Patterson does a nice job in preparing them to rush. I only know my guys, you have to ask Sean (Payton) what he thinks of those defensive ends I guess."
Why do you think your defense was as effective as it was as a whole last season?
"We played together as a team usually."