Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, Teddy Bridgewater, Mike Zimmer weigh in on Broncos [Denver Post]

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The Vikings (2-1) take on the Broncos (3-0) in a Week 4 matchup at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday. No current Broncos player has faced the Vikings in Denver; the last time the two teams’ met in Denver was December 2007.

With the Broncos’ undefeated record on the line, here’s what Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer and Vikings players have had to say about the Broncos to both local and Denver media:

MIKE ZIMMER, COACH

On Peyton Manning:
“I think he looks pretty similar. He’s been throwing the ball down the field vertically I think more in the last couple weeks. He’s made a bunch of plays at the end of ball games to win really all three of them. He looks the same to me. I don’t know. I have a hard time remembering week to week, let alone years.

“He’s really tough, he’s really, really tough. The Hall of Fame quarterbacks are always really tough, it doesn’t matter who it is, but he’s extremely tough to go against, he’s tough to beat, you’ve got to be on top of your game. He’s a great competitor, so it’s a big challenge.

On Manning’s pre-snap cadence:
“He changes up a lot. He changes a lot of things — he changes the hand signals, he changes the communication that they have. I try not to get our guys too involved with that because then they start listening, kind of what you’re talking about, listening to calls, listening to plays and then they don’t play. I think it’s really hard to do — like last week, they’re all no-huddle and I didn’t allow our guys during the week at all to worry about things that were going on at the line of scrimmage because we’ve got to do what we do.”

On the criticism of Manning’s arm strength:
“It’s hard for me to know about his arm strength or anything like that. All I know is that I saw him throw a 25-yard comeback with a 10-yard drop on a perfect throw on the sideline. I’ve seen him make plays down the field at the end of ballgames to Demaryius Thomas. But you’re right, he’s extremely accurate, he gets the ball out very quick and he sees an awful lot of things. There’s probably not a blitz that we can devise that he has not seen. There’s probably not a coverage that we’ve run that he has not seen, and I’m sure that he’ll go back and he’ll look at tapes of when we played him before just like I’ve gone back and looked at his tapes.”

On keeping younger players from being in awe of Manning:
“It’s more about focusing on the job that we have to do and the job that each one of these guys has to do. I do think there’s a little bit of that when you have a young guy going against a guy like Peyton Manning for the first time in his career or even Adrian Peterson. Guys that are going up against Adrian are like, ‘Hey, this is Adrian Peterson here.’ The one thing that the players are always aware of at least, young guys are always aware of great players because they hear so much about them, they’ve seen them on tape, they’ve seen them winning playoff games and things like that. We’ll just keep trying to keep them focused on what their job is.”

On Broncos inside linebackers Danny Trevathan and Brandon Marshall:
“Back when we were playing the 3-4 we had a little bit bigger guys, but these guys are much more mobile. I think that they’re better in pass coverage. I think they get to the perimeter better and they have a lot of guys up front that can help them. Plus, a lot of things that Wade does with his pressure and coverage stuff helps anyway.”

On the Broncos’ defense:
“They’re aggressive. They play tight coverage, bump and run, they have got not just two good rushers, they have four rushers — the guys inside can rush, the two guys on the outside are obviously special rushers. The two linebackers can run. They’re giving up 18 percent on third downs. They can be suffocating.”

ADRIAN PETERSON, RB

On if Manning is no longer effective:
“It doesn’t look like it to me. He’s had some struggles, but we all do, young and old. He looks good to me. They thought that he was done in Indianapolis, but he came back and ended up beating them actually the next year and made it to the AFC (divisional round). It’s so funny because in the world that we live in, you get caught up in whatever is said on TV or what’s printed on paper. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true, but when you’re hearing this over and over again, people tend to start believing it because people are saying it. I look at that and it’s really ridiculous to me.”

On the challenge of blitz pickup against the Broncos:
“It’ll be a load for us. Von Miller and guys that are standing up — they’re good backs. They’re the No. 1 defense for a reason. We just have to make sure that we’re on point starting with our front, but as far as the running backs, making sure that we’re hearing our calls and making sure we’re dialed in on each play. I know that they’re going to present something new to us. We can control what they’ve already done and they’ve presented on tape just by preparing, but just keep an eye on them and make sure that our communication is on the same page, execute and be physical. That’s going to be the most important thing this game: being physical to let other the other guys know that, ‘Hey, I’m going to come back with the same force to strike you again.’”

On if he grew up a Cowboys fan and watched DeMarcus Ware:
“Yeah, I grew up a Cowboys fan, without a doubt. When DeMarcus Ware was there, I was able to check him out. He was a force. He’s still a force to be reckoned with. It’s going to be exciting just to see him again and play against him and make him get his money’s worth.”

On who is a better NFL running back than him:
“Um, um. (Long pause) Peyton Manning’s got some nice moves.”

On if the last year changed his enthusiasm for football:
“Just a little bit in the sense of what’s really important. I love the game and I love the organization. I guess just going through what I went through, when it comes to the game — the football and how everything was handled in the NFL — it definitely makes you look at it more so as a business. With that, you can kind of lose some of the love, which I feel like I did, but I just kind of have to sit back and tell myself, ‘Be the guy that you’re really playing it for.’ This business is a business. Don’t cheat your teammates because you’re not as passionate or that love is not the same due to how things were handled in your particular case. That was something I had to pray about. I’m in a much better place now.”

TEDDY BRIDGEWATER, QB

On getting the ball out quickly against the Broncos’ defense:
“They’re playing some great football right now, and everything starts up front with those guys. Those guys have, I believe, 11 sacks, which is first in the NFL right now. We’re aware of that, we’re going to do some things to try to slow those guys down, try to allow us to play fast.”

On Denver’s edge rushers:
“Those guys are fast and they get off the ball very fast. They do a great job of timing the snap counts. They’re real sound and we know that that defense runs through those guys. Those guys play with a ton of confidence. We know it’s going to be a challenge for us up front, and even on the back end those guys are playing some great football. We’re just going to approach this game with the mindset that we have to go in, be physical and play fast.”

On what he looked for when he watched Manning play:
“He was always in command at the line of scrimmage, it was always like a chess match when you played Peyton Manning. He’s always making checks, audibles at the line of scrimmage, getting himself in and out of the right plays. Protecting himself. He’s a guy who plays extremely fast and he’s been playing at a high level his entire career.”

On Denver’s altitude:
“I’m no scientist or anything, so I don’t want to look much into the altitude or anything like that. I’m just going to go out there and adjust as the game goes on.”

On how much he pays attention to the opponent’s star cornerback:
“You pay attention to it. Like I said, those guys are playing some great football right now, both of those corners, even (Bradley) Roby when he comes in. That entire secondary, they’re playing fast, playing physical, they’re aggressive. We know that coach (Norv) Turner is going to put together a scheme that allows us to execute at a high level. Whether it’s just taking what the defense gives me or taking one-on-one matchups. We’re just going to go out there and execute.”

Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, Teddy Bridgewater, Mike Zimmer weigh in on Broncos

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