Prior to practice today, Mike Zimmer met the Vikings media. He addressed the young players who have stood out to him, but mostly focused on his dissatisfaction with the defense’s competitiveness thus far.
Questions and Zimmer’s responses are only edited to omit shorter answers, less relevant questions and verbal pauses.
Kevin [Stefanski] talked about looking for players who flash…Can you point to a position group or player who’s stuck out to you that maybe was down the depth chart a little bit?
Brandon Dillon [undrafted rookie out of Marian]. I think he’s done a nice job at tight end. He’s a guy I think has shown some good things, for being an undrafted guy. Kris Boyd [seventh-round pick out of of Texas] has done a nice job. I like his skill set number one, but I also like how he’s really paying attention, trying to get finer points of the position down.
What have you seen from Ade Aruna so far? What impressions has he made on you being back from injury?
He’s doing a good job. He’s still kind of working his way back, coming back off the injury. I think a lot of that has to do with just continuing to get confidence in his knee. But he shows flashes. And a lot of these young guys make some mistakes here and there. I think he’s got a chance. He’s very smart. He’s very coachable. He’s a really good kid.
What have you seen from Tyler Conklin and what he can bring to the offense?
I really like Tyler. He’s a big guy, he runs well, he catches the ball pretty good, he’s working on his blocking. He’s going to be a factor in our offense this year, I believe. He’s a good kid, he works hard, smart. He’s done a really nice job.
What did assuming a starting role on a full-time basis do for Anthony Harris’ confidence?
I think Anthony’s always had confidence in his ability. He’s a very smart player. He’s actually moving better right now. Last year, he was gimping around a little bit with some minor little things. I think he’s doing a good job. But we got to play better on defense than what we’re playing right now. We need to play a lot better. Offense has got a lot of grit and fight and I haven’t seen that much out of the defense yet. That’s what my major concern is at this point.
What is it [about the defense] that irks you the most?
As I’ve told a few of them, they’ve been together quite a while now. They think they’re pretty good. So maybe we just go out and practice and it’s not the intensity level we need to do. They’re not making mistakes because they’ve been in the same defense for six years now. It’s a little bit of, maybe, complacency. “Hey, we’re in the top-five defense every year, blah blah blah, whatever.” They need to get more competitive. All these situations, the offense has won every time. If they want to be great on defense, they need to play with a chip on their shoulder. I haven’t really seen it yet.
–Sam Smith is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Vikings and Deputy Editor for Full Press NFL. Like and Follow @samc_smith.
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