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Opponents on Steelers

Vikings are talking about T.J., Ben and Minkah

The Steelers are on the road this week, taking on the Minnesota Vikings on a short week on Thursday Night Football.

For both teams the work is condensed, but there is still plenty of work taking place on both sides.

"We're getting ready for a big game against Pittsburgh," said Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer. "They've got a terrific defense. Very stout 3-4 (defense). Second in the league in three and outs offensively. (Ben) Roethlisberger can still fling it all over the place. Big strong back. Good on special teams.

"So, were going to have to play good."

The Vikings know they have their work cut out for them this week, and talked about several Steelers, including Roethlisberger, T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick.

* * *

Coach Mike Zimmer on T.J. Watt:
"He is a game wrecker. He's not by himself. They have some other guys too. But he's a game wrecker. He always seems to make the big plays. A terrific rusher. He is very violent and physical."

Zimmer on Watt being in the talk for Defensive Player of the Year and what that takes:
"Number one he is smart, a great rusher, quick off the line of scrimmage. Good power. Then I think he sees things really well. Most great players have really good vision. They see a lot of different things. He fights through chips, understands where the protection is going, things like that."

Quarterback Kirk Cousins on Watt:
"I think there has to be an awareness of where he is. You have to give a player like that, who has been so productive, respect and understand where he is at."

Zimmer on Coach Mike Tomlin:
"I don't know him great. I know him from competing against him. He has always been a gentleman. He has always stood for the right things. He's been on the competition committee, so we've had some conversations. I think he does things the right way. His team plays the right way. I have a lot of respect for him."

Zimmer on the Steelers having just three coaches since 1969:
"That's how it should be."

Zimmer on if Ben Roethlisberger is any different this year than he has been in the past:
"Really not much honestly. He is really good at seeing the pressure, where the hots are, getting the ball out. Maybe he doesn't run quite as much as he used to. He was never really a runner, but he is a strong physical guy to get on the ground. He still throws a deep ball great. Very smart and savvy with where he wants to go with the ball. He does a lot of checking at the line of scrimmage.

"I don't see much difference in him. Good arm. The passing game is very similar to what it has been for a long time. Maybe a few more RPOs, but he's good."

Zimmer on Roethlisberger being in command at quarterback for so long and if that indicates a strong belief in him:
"I am sure they believe in him. He has been there for so long, it's the longevity of what they have been able to do. They've also been good on defense. Tomlin does a great job. For all of the time when I was in Cincinnati and played against him he was a tough out."

Cousins on Roethlisberger and if he knows him well:
"I unfortunately haven't gotten to intersect with him as much as I would have liked. I remember I went to a college game of his when I was in high school, he was playing at Miami of Ohio. I followed him growing up in the Midwest, he was playing in the MAC.

"I watched him win two Super Bowls. He's going to have a Gold Jacket someday. There is a lot of respect for what he has done. I have also extra respect for somebody who has done it for that many years, and not just a good stretch of five or six years. To do it for 18 years is so impressive. A lot of respect for him and his journey." 

Zimmer on Minkah Fitzpatrick:
"They've changed a little bit what some of the schemes they are doing now. He is very instinctive, can come off a guy. We have to be careful of where he is at all of the time."

Wide receiver Justin Jefferson on Fitzpatrick:
"I definitely watched him at Alabama. He is a great player. He is a ball hawk."

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