To kick off the 2018 NFL season, the San Francisco 49ers will travel to Minnesota to face the reigning NFC North Champion Vikings. Ahead of the season opener, here's what members of the Vikings are saying about the 49ers in Week 1.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer on facing the 49ers in Week 1:
"Getting ready for the regular season here. Should be a really good test for us. I think Kyle Shanahan does a great job at play calling and scheming and getting the guys in a lot of different spots. Their defense is very solid and fundamental. Big guys up front, linebackers can really run, some good corners. It will be a heck of a test for us."
Zimmer on what he saw from Jimmy Garoppolo in 2017:
"He took really good care of the ball. I thought he was accurate with his throws. He threw under distress well a couple times. He moved in the pocket well."
Zimmer on what he saw out from Garoppolo out of Eastern Illinois:
"We looked at him very hard… A lot of similar things. Good arm, guns it in the seams. Moves in the pocket, plays confidently and free."
Zimmer on the noise from U.S. Bank Stadium affecting opposing quarterbacks:
"I hope it's loud. I hope it affects them. I think that it makes it a little bit harder for the communication for them. Hopefully we get some false starts and things like that. But it also makes communication hard for us as well."
Zimmer on DeForest Buckner being a threat to the Vikings offense:
"He is really good. He is a guy that we are going to have to know where he is at all the time. We are going to have to pay special attention to him. He is a very, very good player. All of their defensive line is very good, but he is really good."
Zimmer on the 49ers ability to sustain and generate a pass rush:
"Well they do a really good job in coverage. They're a defense that makes you be patient. Offensively, they're tough to run against because they've got eight guys in the box typically all the time. Coverage-wise, they make it difficult to throw the ball vertically down the field."
Zimmer on the 49ers success on first downs last season:
"They have a really good running scheme that they use and play-actions off of it. Inside short post, then you've got some big shots to Marquise Goodwin. All those add up when you're getting six or seven yards a pop and then the running game they stretch you flat in so many ways and then they have play-actions off of it. The fullback in my opinion is a great player. He does a great job, so all those combined and they pretty much stay in one personnel group probably 70 percent of the time."
Zimmer on Kyle Shanahan's use of a fullback:
"I don't know if there is a resurgence. Fullbacks are hard to find. If you don't have one it makes it more difficult. They have a bunch of tight ends and sometimes they use them as fullbacks and things like that. They obviously found a really good one who has been to two Pro Bowls now. I think he's a good blocker, he's a good receiver, he lines up all different places, so the versatility for that spot, instead of just being a pound it up in there and run leads on linebackers, that's the biggest thing."
Zimmer on Marquise Goodwin's athleticism:
"I actually watched him workout. I was down working out a safety at Texas and I watched him work out. I came back and said, 'Man, this guy is really fast.' Catches the ball good and he caught a touchdown pass against us when I was in Cincinnati I believe, and Buffalo. He's got such great speed, and that's always been there, but now he's become an all-purpose receiver. He goes over the middle, he catches underneath balls. He's improved a lot."
Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo on the size of the 49ers defensive line:
"Yeah, a lot of size. Not only size, but speed up front as well. We're going to have to do a great job of staying square on those guys and getting some penetration and I think we'll do that."
Defensive coordinator George Edwards on challenges the Vikings face against the 49ers offense:
"We got a very tough opponent offensively who really does a lot of good things matchup wise, a good balance of run and pass. They're very efficient on third down and in the red zone, so we got our work cut out for us. We're looking to keep working through it to meet the challenge on Sunday."
Edwards on the 49ers use of Kyle Juszczyk:
"Yes, there's no doubt about it. He can be the only back in the backfield, you can see him out at the number one receiver, the number two receiver, see him in motion, on a shift. He's got a lot of different jobs and does very well at all of them. He's good at blocking, he's good at receiving, and he's good at block protections, so he is a new dimension for them. It should be good, with us having to work all those shifts and motions [in practice]. It makes you work and kind of makes you think to the adjustments."
Edwards on moving guys around to create favorable matchups against Mike McGlinchey:
"I guess we'll have to wait until Sunday to kind of figure that one out. That's one that of course you know their personnel and how things match up, but schematically we look at the skill set of our players and try to put them in the most advantageous places to be successful. All I can say is that going into a game and looking at each situation, we're trying to get them in those situations."
QB Kirk Cousins on Kyle Shanahan being instrumental in his development into the NFL:
"I could be here a long time talking about how did Kyle develop me as a player. I don't know that my answer could do it justice. He certainly had a big role in my going to Washington and my development as a player and much of the way that I play the position to this day is a result to the way he taught me as a young player."
Cousins on his former offensive coordinator game planning against him:
"I think he certainly has some familiarity and that can help. But at the same time, I've thought about this before with other situations. I've gone against this defensive scheme several times. It doesn't make you feel like you've got it all figured out. If knowing certain players or certain coaches was the difference maker, then you wouldn't see some of these guys have success so much when their coaches leave. You tell your team some level of personnel ability and background and where they're coming from and the way they play the game. But at the end of the day, you've just got to go out and play."
Cousins on what he saw against the 49ers last season with the Washington Redskins:
"Nothing stood out too much. So much is scheme related as well and we haven't been in the same scheme together for years. So there's been a lot of evolution and change that has happened. So it's harder to alert your guys to certain schematic stuff because it's not all the same. We'll see what they have for us on Sunday certainly."
Cousins on what he's seen from Jimmy Garoppolo:
"Because we had played them and we had played the entire NFC West by that point when he was playing, there really wasn't any tape for me to watch of him. I think the record on the production speaks for it self. He's earned where he is right now. I think he'll be a great challenge for us on Sunday... Anytime you can win the amount of games he's won, help lead a team like that. Certainly the Patriots loved him. He was a high pick. Anytime you can be all of those things, you do everything well, it's hard to single anything out. He's one of those guys you're looking for to quarterback your team. And when you get one, you want to make sure you keep him."
Cousins on what he expects from the 49ers pass rush:
"Going against a Von Miller can be very tough. But at the same time, if he was the only guy you were concerned about you could scheme things to make him double teamed and make his life tough. When you have a whole defensive line with a lot of depth, which many of the defenses in this scheme have, it makes it tough because you end up 1-on-1 with somebody who is a very good pass rusher and you've just got to hold on the best you can. The NFL pass rush is a real thing and no matter who you play or what week it is, those guys are coming."
Cousins on whats stood out about the 49ers defense in 2017:
"What I respected about their team, even when we played them last year when I was at the last place I was at, they hadn't had a win at that point. And yet, they played with great effort. They played with great teamwork and great love for one another you could tell. Anytime you have a tough start to the season and finish as strong as they did, it shows that your locker room is really strong. It shows that your chemistry is really strong. That says a lot about their team and their locker room and their leadership. because its hard to turn a corner like they did. I think the character of their team was really shown in that last stretch of the season."
TE Kyle Rudolph on game planning in Week 1:
"We try to do the best we can to get to know the 49ers as a defense through studying last year and their preseason games. The biggest thing you can take from preseason is watching personnel. Watching how guys play guys that you expect to play against. But you're always going to have surprises in game 1. We call them unscouted looks. Things that we didn't really expect. It's just a matter of how we adjust on the sideline and in between drives and halftime."
RB Dalvin Cook on the challenges the 49ers defense provides:
"They've got a bunch of long rangey guys up front on the defensive line. Their linebackers are very active. They're very mobile guys. Their secondary, they're fast. They're long. They're rangey too. All of that is going to play a part with us just doing our assignments. They're big upfront. They play with a chip. They're downhill guys. They want to get involved. So we just have to match their intensity at the beginning of the game and continue through the end of the game."