Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was on a conference call early Tuesday morning with the Bay Area media. I’m not sure if it was him not wanting to be there, or if he wasn’t thrilled with the questions, but Zimmer’s answers were a bit...short. Here is the transcript.
“Um, maybe a little bit. I don’t see the similarities, really. I mean, there are some, but it’s different.
What stands out getting ready for the 49ers
They’re an excellent team. They run the ball with physicality. They have three great runners, several tight ends; Kittle is obviously outstanding. Garoppolo is making great decisions. Defensively, they’re very aggressive, especially with their front guys, and the secondary plays really well.
How Kirk Cousins played in the Wildcard round and if Zimmer learned anything about his quarterback
He’s been with me for 33 games now, so I didn’t learn a lot. He’s played really well the majority of the time, regardless of what the rhetoric is out there. I thought he played really good in the game last week.
On the Vikings upcoming travel schedule and if Zimmer will try and get his guys some extra rest-Branch
Uh, yeah, we’ve changed the schedule up a little bit.
On the job Robert Saleh has done this year and how the 49ers defense has evolved-Biderman
Obviously, he’s done a great job. They have really good players, five first-rounders on the defensive line. They’ve got really good guys on the backend. We liked Jaquiski Tartt coming out. The other safety [Jimmie] Ward, we liked him coming out. [Richard] Sherman has always been a really good player, so they have really good players. Warner, he’s been really good. We liked him also coming out. They’ve done a really good job drafting. They’re playing really well with a lot of energy, really.
What allows Sherman to play at such a high level?
He’s a great competitor, and he’s very tough, and he’s very smart. You add those three things, and that adds to a lot of athletic ability.
On the challenges of dealing with a tight end like Kittle and what unique issues he poses
He’s great with run after the catch, and they use him on a lot of screens. They use him on rockets; they use him all different ways. He’s very nifty in the passing game. He’ll give you a head fake and a shake, then break the other way. And he’s got great speed. Combine those three things with his run after the catch ability and the way he can get open in routes, and it makes him very difficult.
On how different Laken Tomlinson looks compared to when he was a Detroit Lion and if it’s due to a different scheme/opportunity-Branch
No, I think he’s playing really well. He’s always been a physical guy. A guy that’s done a nice job in pass protection. Their whole offensive line is a tough, physical bunch. I think he fits in there well.
What makes Cousins a good leader?
He’s a guy that studies real hard. He prepares really well. I wouldn’t call him a rah rah leader, but he’s a guy that tries to do the best he can, and he’s always the first one to give credit to somebody else.
What has made Dalvin Cook so impactful this season, especially with his high carry count?
Well, he runs with physicality. He’s got great vision. His ability to run through tackles and flip tackles and not allow one guy to make a tackle has been really big. He catches the ball well out of the backfield. He’s a great kid.
How has Garoppolo improved as the season has gone on? -Biderman
He’s doing great. He’s making quick decisions; he gets the ball out in the right place. On the moving passes, he does a great job of finding the guys. They do a great job with their scheme as far as getting guys open in the passing game. I think he’s been really effective as far as making the throws. He’s good in the pocket, and he’s taking care of the football.
Is being another big road underdog going to be a point of discussion for you and the team? - Branch
No, we’re just trying to prepare to play the very best we can play. We don’t really worry about what other people think about us. It’s all about preparing for San Francisco, who is a great football team.