Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was the defensive coordinator for the Falcons the last time the franchise had an interim head coach, in 2007.
The Falcons (0-5) and interim coach Raheem Morris are set to face the Vikings (1-4) at 1 p.m. Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Here’s what Zimmer had to say to the Atlanta media on a conference call Wednesday:
Q: What do you see on film from this Falcons team?
A: I think they are a very talented team. They’ve got a lot of big-time threats all across the board. (Defensive tackle) Grady Jarrett is terrific. He’s one of the best three-techniques in the league. I’ve always liked (strong safety) Keanu Neal. He and (middle linebacker) Deion Jones are big-time playmakers. Offensively, I think they’ve got some big time weapons. (Wide receivers) Julio (Jones) and (Calvin) Ridley are big time threats. I think they’ve added a lot with (tight end Hayden) Hurst and (Todd) Gurley. They’ve got five first-round draft picks on the offensive line. They are talented.
Q: How’s it coming together for the Vikings? How tough was it losing linebacker Anthony Barr?
A: It was tough losing Barr. We lost him and (Danielle) Hunter, that’s two really good players on defense. We’re getting better each week and obviously that was a heart-breaker last week (losing 27-26 to Seattle.)
Q: Do your worry about your team’s psyche in trying to rebound from a tough loss like that one to Seattle?
A: I don’t think so. We’re pretty resilient. We’ll go out and give a good effort this week.
Q: How’s rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson playing for the Vikings?
A: Justin is doing a great job. He’s been getting better every week. He runs good routes. He catches the ball well. Good kid. Hard worker. I really like having him.
Q: How do you game plan for all of the Falcons' weapons on offense?
A: It’s really difficult when they have got so many guys that can make big plays. Ridley, I think he’s been outstanding throughout this course of the time. We all know Julio and what a great player that he is. They’ve been taking good care of the ball. Gurley gives them another dimension. I think Hayden Hurst adds a lot to the versatility that they have on offense. Ryan has always been able to make all of the throws. He has a great arm. They are trying to get the ball down the field. So, that makes it extremely difficult, especially with a young defense like we have.
Q: How are the rookie cornerbacks, Cameron Dantzler and Jeff Gladney, developing for the Vikings?
A: They are getting better. Gladney has been doing a good job and so has Dantzler. They are getting better each week. They are just young right now.
Q: The Falcons are an interim situation. How tough is it for teams in an “interim coach” situation to try to go out, rally and keep playing like you and Falcons had to do back in 2007?
A: Professional athletes are always going to try to go out and play. They’ll give a great effort this week, I’m sure.
Falcons' next four games
Falcons at Vikings at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18al trial
Lions at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday Oct. 25
Falcons at Panthers at 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29
Broncos at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8
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