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  • Writer's pictureJoey Jarzynka

Vikings HC Mike Zimmer Quotes 4/23/20


Q. How excited were you to get Justin Jefferson in the 1st round, a lot of people thought he might be gone by the time you picked at #22?

A: Justin’s a good player. He’s a guy we really, really liked. The offensive staff really liked him. Tough, competitive guy, goes up and gets the football, hard worker, a lot of contested catches he makes. Really good player and good kid. Played in a very similar offense in college so I think he will fit in well.

Q. What did you like when you watched Gladney play?

A: Gladney reminded me of a lot of guys that played similarly for me in the past. Very good acceleration. Tough, competitive kid. Wants to challenge receivers. Good in and out of the breaks. Long arms. So you know, I know he's a shorter guy, but I think he makes up for it with his toughness and his length.

Q. Who are some of those guys he reminds you of?

A: Yeah, I don't really want to say. They are good players.

Q. He's been compared to a Terence Newman-type player, is he like him?

A: Yeah, maybe. I don't really want to compare him, I just said.

Q. Are you happy to get a cornerback in the first round?

A: Yeah, we knew we needed some corner depth. You know, but it was more about being, you know, at the right price where we got the guys. You know, we didn't want to reach for a player when the receiver was coming down to us, we felt really good about that. We liked him and had a grade on him. As it worked out in the end of the first, we were able -- we had a couple corners, two or three corners on the board that we liked.

Q. How important with Gladney, his experience traveling in the slot as a nickel defender, just the flexibility that gives you where you play him potentially next year and what you might do with Mike Hughes, Holton Hill, etc., how important was that in selecting him?

A: All of it is important. The hard part for a young guy coming in to learn the nickel and the corner, it's a lot of work, and especially with the shortened off-season, it's going to be harder for him. But I do think he has the skill-set to play in there.

Q. How did everything work on your end logistically? Telecast looked like it went pretty smoothly. How did you feel in this strange situation?

A: Yeah, it actually went pretty smooth. Other than some static once in a while, but it wasn't any big deal.

Q. How do you feel looking ahead in the Draft? You got a couple extra draft picks and you're tied with Miami with 14 for the most in the draft. You have a lot of flexibility in things you can do tomorrow and moving forward?

A: Yeah, we do. That was part of the thoughts. Second and third round picks, there's a lot of good value there still. Gives us some flexibility to move around, move up, move down if we like a guy or if we've got a number of guys we like there. There's still quite a few guys on the board that we like and the more that we can hit on these guys, I think the better the Draft will be.

Q. You said in the past, you'd rather tell a young cornerback, ‘whoa’, than ‘go’. Does that phrase apply to Gladney, do you think?

A: Probably. When we called him, we get him on the phone and he said, "I’ve been waiting for you guys to call." That's part of the things that you like about him is he's a competitor and wants to get out there and go. All the virtual classroom stuff in the shortened off-season could be an issue, but we need to get our hands on these guys at some point and get them ready to play for the season.

Q. Not having much time to mold these rookies and with your lack of depth at corner, do you feel you might have to push them a little bit or is that a concern?

A: Yeah, I mean, that part isn’t a concern. It's just -- so for instance, our coaches put together tapes where they are going to work on position-specific skill sets when they go out there, and we sent it to them before all of this for their voluntary workouts and they can go out and a cover-2 corner, that day we’re working on cover-2, he can do all those movements and do all the foot position-specific movements. But the hard part is, you know, we can't be as specific with them because we are not coaching them doing those things. So we'll have to go from there. But when we -- when I started thinking about how this off-season was going to work, I started thinking back on the days where, you know, they didn't have OTAs. They had one minicamp and they had a longer training camp, but they didn't have OTAs and all this other stuff. To me, it's going to be how we adjust better without having OTAs and getting ready for training camp and when we do get into training camp, understanding what is important with our guys, and what's important with what we have to teach them and what we have to do to get ready, as opposed to, you know, numbers and numbers of things.

Q. As a team that's chasing the Packers again, what were your thoughts at 26 when you saw the Packers trade up and kind of look to the future?

A: I think [Aaron] Rodgers should retire (laughing). That will be the next headline, yeah.

Q. He could be playing for the Vikings in four or five years?

A: I'm not going to say that. You know, I don't know what was going on in their minds. We just worry about us. We're trying to get guys to beat them.

Q. Since we haven't had a chance to talk to you for a while, what's your take on losing so many veteran players over the past month, a number of them starters and key reserves?

A: Yeah, that's part of life in the NFL. Guys move on, and we had to do what we had to do with salary cap issues. We really appreciate all those guys that played for us. But it's our job to get these young guys ready to play.

Q. To come away with two players like this who might start in their rookie years, how do you feel about how round one shook out and being able to fill some of the needs this team has early on?

A: Yeah, and Rick and I talked about it beforehand and we obviously know where we have holes in the team. I said, "Let's go get good football players and not worry about it." We'll figure out how to play them and how to use them to our advantage and all that stuff, because I think it's important for the franchise and everybody else that, you know, we take the right kind of guys. We take good, competitive guys. You know, in some ways, it's exciting, new blood. When you're coaching back in college, you had to do these kind of things. You had senior guys graduate and you had to get younger guys ready to play. It's not really new.

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