Every week during the regular season we get an opportunity to talk with the opposing head coach via conference call. This week it was Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer. I also scanned the Minnesota media websites and the Vikings website to see what else Vikings players and coaches are saying about this week's matchup with the Lions.
Here's what they had to say:
1. Running back Dalvin Cook suffered a shoulder injury in Minnesota's 37-30 loss in Seattle Monday night. Cook is currently fifth in the NFL in rushing (1,046 yards), so any potential time he misses would be a key loss for the Vikings' offense.
However, Cook told Vikings.com on Wednesday: "I'll be out there on Sunday. I feel good, actually. Better than I expected."
When Zimmer was asked about Cook's status for Sunday on the conference call, he simply said, "we'll see."
Meet this week's opponents, the Minnesota Vikings.
2. The Vikings are trying to do their homework on Lions quarterback David Blough. There's not much tape to go on, obviously, but Zimmer said one of his coaches did coach Blough during the East-West Shrine Game Blough played in coming out of Purdue earlier this year. Zimmer said he got a pretty good scouting report from that coach.
"He has our ultimate respect," Zimmer said of Blough.
3. "You have to be pretty immature to overlook (the Lions)."
That was a quote from Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins on Wednesday when asked about this week's matchup with the 3-8-1 Lions.
He quickly referenced their game recently against the 4-8 Denver Broncos in Minnesota. That was the game Minnesota fell behind 20-0 at halftime and needed a franchise record second-half comeback to beat the Broncos 27-23.
"Every team is really good and they have highly paid highly skilled players," Cousins said of the Lions. "We barely beat them in Detroit. Barely. You'd have to be pretty clueless to ever use the word overlook."
4. Whether or not the Vikings will have Cook will be determined later in the week. If they don't, the Lions certainly can't sleep on rookie running back Alexander Mattison. Zimmer admitted Wednesday they didn't know Mattison was going to be this good this early in his career. Backing up Cook, the third-round pick out of Boise State is averaging 4.8 yards per rush.
5. Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes is having a down year, but he vowed Wednesday he'll play better down the stretch, starting Sunday against the Lions. The seven-year veteran, and former All Pro, has just three passes defended this season. He has allowed four touchdowns, and opposing passers have a 132.6 passer rating when throwing at him. He's currently graded as the 121st best cornerback in the NFL by Pro Football Focus.
Rhodes said he doesn't know why he isn't playing as well as he's used to playing. He will certainly have his hands full with Lions wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr., who both lead the league with nine touchdown receptions apiece.
6. Like he's doing with Blough, Zimmer said he's trying to do his homework on Lions running back Bo Scarbrough as well.
"I talked to a guy this morning that saw him at Alabama when they were recruiting him, so again we're trying to do all the homework we can on every one of these guys," he said.
"But I think he's added a lot to their run game, along with (J.D.) McKissic. I think he's done a nice job getting first downs and moving the chains as well."