Ahead of their trip to Santa Clara for a season-opening appearance on "Monday Night Football," several Minnesota Vikings fielded questions about facing a new-look San Francisco 49ers squad.
Among the discussed topics were the return of NaVorro Bowman, the dual-threat ability of Colin Kaepernick and how different the team might be under Jim Tomsula. Go here for full press conferences from Vikings.com.
HC Mike Zimmer
(on Bowman) "He's a great player. To go in there and have time off and do the things that he did coming back from an injury, we're kind of hoping Adrian (Peterson) does the same thing when he comes back. I think he's a guy who you have to pay special attention to on their defense because he does a lot of great things for them."
(on Jim Tomsula) "I've known of him for a while. He's a guy who's going to get them to play hard. You can see that on tape on both sides of the ball. They play extremely hard. They've always done that when he was on defense. I can tell he wants to be an up-tempo offense. They're getting in and out of the huddle very quickly. So those things are all, from what I can tell, his stamps on the way things are."
QB Teddy Bridgewater
(on 49ers defense) "They're a group of guys that fly and know how to get to the football. They tackle well in space, and those guys are assigned well in zone coverages. We know that it's going to be a challenge for us. They have a new coaching staff and different personnel from a year ago but they do a great job. They know how to get to the quarterback. This year they have NaVorro Bowman back, he's the leader of that team. And you can tell his presence is felt when he's on that football field."
(on Kaepernick) "He's a great guy. I've had some time to watch him play, and he throws the football very well. I'm excited to hear that he worked with Kurt Warner because Kurt and I are good friends as well. Kurt actually mentored me a little coming out of college, and I'm pretty sure he did a good job with Colin. Can't wait to play him."
RB Adrian Peterson
(on if he followed along with Bowman's recovery) "I haven't had the opportunity to talk to him, but I reached out to him once or twice when he was going through the rehab. Just watching him this preseason, man, it doesn't look like he is coming off an ACL injury. With that, I have so much respect for him because I know how hard it is to get up every morning and push yourself to get back to 100 percent. The way that he's playing is testimony to the hard work he has put in. I'm happy for him."
(on the challenges of facing the 49ers in his first game back) "After the game, just really seeing how my body is going to feel from the pounding. The one thing I know about their defense is that they fly around to the ball. It's a physical defense, which I love. Even though the players change, the scheme they run is the same. Of course there will be new things that they throw at us in the first game, but it's all we can do is to watch the film and get prepared."
OC Norv Turner
(on 49ers defense) "I thought they played very well in the preseason. I thought they were very sound. They didn't give up many big plays. We have to prepare for what we're looking at on tape. People talk about the players they've lost, but when looking at them, they still have a group of guys who play at a high level and play extremely hard. You have to be able to put together long drives. You have to be sharp because they're still a pretty good defense."
DC George Edwards
(on Kaepernick) "He's definitely a guy who can make a lot of plays with his feet whether he's scrambling or throwing on the run. He's probably one of the elite guys as far as moving around in the pocket and being able to keep the play alive. He's made a lot of plays in the preseason and last year – especially on third down. We're definitely aware of it."
The 49ers and Vikings have played 41 times in the regular season, with Minnesota holding a 21-19-1 advantage. San Francisco, however, has won four of five postseason meetings.
(on Anquan Boldin) "He's an excellent route-runner, he's very aggressive and he's willing to go block. He's a complete receiver. We've told our guys that. He's been consistent throughout his career. Just very astute with getting in and out of the cut and getting open. With the quarterback buying time, he'll re-work his route too."
DE Everson Griffen
(on Kaepernick) "We just can't let him get outside the box and scramble and let him create plays with his feet. He'll hit you deep if you let him go out there and scramble. Our biggest thing is to keep in the pocket and hit him where it hurts."
CB Captain Munnerlyn
(on Kaepernick) "He actually knocked me out of the playoffs a couple years ago when I was in Carolina. He's a dangerous threat. He can scramble and get the ball out pretty fast. He can throw the ball a mile, so you've got to keep guarding your guy."
(on Boldin) "Anquan Boldin and Steve Smith are the two receivers I've seen in this league where I've said, 'Man, those are some tough cats.' He's got a defensive mentality. He's going to hit you before you hit him. He's a tough matchup, but I'm going to see a lot of him on Monday. He's a slot guy, I'm a slot guy for this team so I'm excited to go out there and compete."