From The Locker Room: Allen, Greenway, Robison, Smith, Williams and Others On Sunday's Win

Posted Dec 29, 2013

Vikings Defensive End Jared Allen

Q: It is your last game at the dome. Do you think it is your last game as a Viking?

A: I don’t know. However it falls, I know that the last six years here have been amazing. I could not have asked for more from this organization and I could not have asked for more from this state. It has all just been a blessing for me, for my family, and more so just how much I’ve grown as a man. When I came here when I was 25 compared to how I am now has been life changing. Since then I’ve met my wife, I got married, and now I have a daughter. It has just been an absolute blessing. I’ll take some time to reflect. This isn’t just a one-sided decision so we will see. I will have this conversation with everybody and we’ll see where it goes. However it works out, it will work out the way it is supposed to.

Q: Have there been any conversations or negotiations this year?

A: No, the conversations that we have had are between us and I’d like to keep it that way. I’ve always told you guys that I’ve always been on the same page as them. There’s no rug that is going to be pulled out from underneath anybody. I am not naïve to the business side and neither are they. The relationships here with the management and the coaches have been nothing but great. I’ve made some great friends so it will be a conversation about where they are going and where I see myself going and if it is on the same path great but if not we will part ways but we will do it with the best intentions for everybody.

Q: How much of a release was it to get double digits?

A: My life kind of changed for me in Green Bay. We had a chapel service and they basically just gave a message on selling them out on what you’re doing and not letting certain situations control your mindset. That night I had two sacks in that game. My rush was better and looking back on film I saw some things that I was doing a little differently. I just focused on being here and having the last moment. Sometimes you let the circumstances of a bad year or circumstances that happen in your life get to you and it doesn’t become excuses. I was just able to put that aside and finish the way I wanted to finish here. I knew once I started doing that, the double digits would come. If you just stay grinding and go out and play as hard as you can then everything will be okay.

Q: Was he the Chaplin that was here today?

A: No, it was Tony Peterson. He went to the University of Minnesota. He was a gold medal wrestler when they had the Olympics in Athens. He talked about how he flipped the switch in the Olympics and how he came for the silver and he ended up winning the gold. It was a really good message and story that really stuck with me. I don’t think I could have gone on with my career if I would have had the mindset I had when I was younger. Every drive, every snap, and every play you don’t want to take for granted. You just have to go out there and be aggressive on every play.

Q: Were you trying to angle yourself in there?

A: We had that play all week. That play actually has been there for two weeks. So I tried to get out there and shock them.

Q: How did you end up being the intended receiver, was it a planned play?

A: Yeah, we just didn’t get in the goal line position last week, but we got in the situation this week and it was an intended play. I did it a couple times in Kansas City. Cassel and I could have made history. We could have been three for three. I mean those kind of stats, Tony Gonzalez, watch out.

Vikings Linebacker Chad Greenway

Q: Thoughts on Coach?

A: He’s been consistent with his message, week in and week out through the tough season we’ve had. It kept us together through the season. For coach, we’re going to have his back. I mean he’s our coach; he’s been with me my whole career. A lot of relationships, a lot of time spent in meeting rooms and everything else.

Q: What kind of emotions go through you now with this last game knowing that there could be changes, whether it’s with the roster or coaching staff.

A: Roster changes are going to happen; that’s obvious. We have guys whose contracts are up, guys who I’ve played with for a really long time. Really have a working relationship with these guys and it’s difficult. It’s difficult to know that they’re most likely going to be in other cities playing ball or they’re going to be back home. You never know. You’re never guaranteed anything in the NFL, so you just have to take it in.

Q: Is it odd thinking that you may not have Jared, Kevin and you may be playing with an entirely different defense?

A: I don’t want to think about that until something happens or doesn’t happen.

Q: Do you have a sense that Leslie is going to be out?

A: No, it doesn’t come up.

Vikings Defensive End Brian Robison

Q: As you look back on the season as a whole, what comes out? Is it just disappointment or what kind of emotions do you have or how do you evaluate it?

A: Obviously it wasn’t the type of season we wanted to have and definitely not the type of season we expected to have. Things just didn’t go our way and we didn’t capitalize on opportunities that we were given so that is something we will have to do during the  offseason. We do what we have to do during the offseason to make sure that when those opportunities do arouse during games we capitalize on them.

Q: With your defensive efforts you didn’t end up breaking the franchise record for most points allowed in a season. What are your thoughts on that?

A: Well you don’t want to be associated with being the worst in the franchise. We are already tied for the worst record here so obviously that is huge for us now.

Q: How well has Patterson been doing?

A: I think his tape speaks for itself. Doing the things he is doing and the only player in the league with multiple rushing, receiving, and kickoff return for touchdowns so I think the sky is the limit for him.

Vikings Safety Harrison Smith

Q: Is the Dome as loud as any place you’ve played?

A: Yes, the fans get wild and the Dome keeps all of the noise in, so they definitely help us out on those third downs. 

Q: There’s a lot of limbo going on with the players and coaches.  What’s that like to go through as a player?

A: There’s not much that you can do about it, you just go out there and play as hard as you can and try and do as you’re coached.  That’s something that I’m not in control of, so I just show up every day and try and do my job.

Vikings Defensive Tackle Kevin Williams

Q: You guys never laid down for Leslie Frazier did you?

A: No, without a doubt and that’s one thing we’ve preached all season.  The games haven’t gone the way we’ve wanted them to, but we have to continue to fight and do your responsibility, be where you’re supposed to be, do your job and that’s one thing we’ve hung our hat on and played hard all year.

Q: Whether you’re back or not, you’d like to see Frazier back here?

A: He’s done a great job with us.  When he stepped in a couple years ago he got us a couple of wins in that bad season and the playoff season last year.  The wins didn’t go the way we wanted this year, but he’s hung in there and he’s encouraged us as well.  

Q: This isn’t your final year as a Viking is it?

A: I wouldn’t say that.  Hopefully I’ll play a couple more; that’s my hope and dreams, but it’s a business and you have to see what happens when free agency hits. Who knows what will happen.

Q: That season long record for points, how much emphasis did you guys put on that this week? 

A: We didn’t break it right, so that’s good.  There wasn’t any thought about it, I saw it printed somewhere, but no one paid any attention to it.  We just wanted to come out and put on a good showing, if the score was 38-35, or 13 points, whatever it was.

Vikings Wide Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson

It was a great for us, great memories in the Dome. It was a great way for us to go out with a win this year and get ready in the offseason. We got the win so there is a lot of motivation for next year.

Q: What happened on the opening kickoff?

A: I don’t want to talk about that, but I was getting a little too happy, I was ready to break a record or something. They did a good job, they saw me on the other side and they kicked the ball to Chase (Ford), Chase got it and I told him to just take a knee.

Q: In your seven games here do you have a favorite moment?

A: Probably today, coming out with a win. They are planning to blow it up, or whatever they are going to do with it. This is a great memory for us to leave the Dome with a win, it couldn’t be any better.

Q: Would you walk us through your rushing touchdown, it looked like a designed pass?

A: Just like last time we were in the Dome, it was supposed to be a pass, I saw Greg (Jennings) covered at first and I was thinking about running. Then he got open, and I told him when I scored that I was sorry, I saw you get open at the end but my mindset was that I was going to run.

Q: Did Greg Jennings give you a hard time about it?

A: Nah, he tells me all of the time that I’m a special player, you can’t take that out of you, just keep doing you and you’re going to make plays, just do what you do best.

Q: Do you wonder what you could do if you were a bigger part of the offense?

A: No, you really can’t think about it like that. Coach Musgrave, he is doing a good job putting me in the offense, no matter if it was late in the season, so I really can’t say what I would have done if it would have been that way the whole season, I probably could have got hurt, I don’t know so I don’t even think about it like that.

Q: How does the body feel?

A: I’m still young, the body is feeling good, no injuries or anything, so the body is feeling great.

Q: How do you feel about playing the next two seasons outdoors?

A: I really don’t want to play outside, it’s kind of cold up here in Minnesota. My family came up this weekend, they said that they probably weren’t going to come back because it was too cold. So playing outside, I wish it wasn’t true, but you have got to do what you have got to do and this is my job, so I can’t say no.

Q: How much did you enjoy your first year in the league, it looked like you were enjoying yourself?

A: You have got to enjoy your job. I’m a guy, I like to have fun, I’m always happy. You will probably never see me down, unless something bad happens, so I enjoyed my first year. There are great memories here in the Dome, we couldn’t do it without the fans behind our back 100%, each game I’m enjoying it and always smiling just trying to make plays and trying to help my team out.

Q: What’s your biggest priority this offseason?

A: The biggest priority is to do the right thing, don’t get into trouble. We have a lot of time off, some guys they get into trouble sometimes. I would just like to keep my head clean, make sure that I’m hanging with Greg (Jennings) J. Wright (Jarius Wright), Jerome (Simpson), hang with those guys and I’m really going to keep my head clean.

Q: How many touchdowns did you think you would get, did you have a number you wanted to get to?

A: I really don’t, that’s God. I couldn’t do it without the grace of God. I’m a praying guy, I like to pray, it happened. Nine touchdowns, I wish there could have been more, I wish I could have broken some more records but I’ll go with nine touchdowns this year.

Q: What has Coach Frazier meant to you?

A: Coach Frazier, he’s an amazing guy on and off of the field. Every time I was walking through the locker room, he would always pull me aside and talk to me about life, not about football, just talk about my family, see how they are doing, see how I’m doing, he means a lot to me. He’s a great coach, he doesn’t yell at you, he will sit down and talk to you and tell you the things that you need to do. He has been there since day one and I appreciate him.

Q: Would you rather be known as a wide receiver or a kick returner?

A: I would rather be known as whatever they label me as. I just like to get the ball in my hands, like I said I just like to do special things when I get the ball in my hands. I just feel like Flash, so I call myself Flash.

Q: You will play here, TCF Bank Stadium and the new Vikings Stadium, is seems as though you’re becoming the face of this offense with Adrian Peterson do you feel excited about that possibility?

A: It’s hard to say, I really don’t have a comment for that.

Q: Does all of the uncertainty with the coaching staff make it tough to come in and perform day to day?

A: It does not, like I said, this is our job. We have been dreaming about this since we were little, you can’t worry about what’s going on with the coaching staff. Some of us guys know we are going to be here, some are going to be free agents, so we have just got to do our job and do what’s best for us and come out and perform every week.

Minnesota Head Coach Leslie Frazier

Great win to close out the Metrodome, Mall of America Field. So proud of our players, just battling and just being able to focus on this game and not focusing on anything else. This being Christmas week we were concerned about the distractions of some of the things that go on when your family comes in town and how that can get your mind off of what we had to get done, but to our players credit, they focused on what we had to do to get a win today and did a terrific job all the way around. Just extremely proud of our guys.

Q: How good is Cordarrelle Patterson going to be in the future?

A: I think he’s going to be pretty special. He stays healthy, the sky is the limit. He’s a very talented young man without question. That’s obvious. He can be one of the all-time greats before it’s over. 

Q: Did you talk to the Wilfs? What was their message?

A: Yeah, I did. Their message just before the game or yesterday, just go out and battle and try and get a win and we got a win. 

Q: How quickly do you think that your situation will be resolved?

A: Not sure about that. I have a contract, our staff has a contract through 2014 and I hope that the Wilf family will honor that and give us a chance to come back next season and try and get our quarterback situation fixed, try to get the depth of our roster along with some other errors that need to be fixed. I hope they’ll give this staff the chance to finish what we’ve gotten started. We’re only a season removed from the playoffs. I think our guys are still playing hard and we’re under contract. We’ll see.

Q: Do you feel like you’ll have to start once again with the quarterback situation?

A: Matt did some things here at the end of the year that gives you some hope but lot of conversation has to go into it. There’s a lot of review that needs to go into it as well. It’s a quarterback- driven league and if you don’t have that position functioning the way you need to, I don’t care what you need to do in the other areas of your team, you’re going to be fighting uphill. It’s something that has to take a lot of discussion and make a decision on what’s the best thing to do.

Q: FOX reported that you might be fired tomorrow. Are you alarmed or concerned when you hear that?

A: I don’t get concerned with reports about my job. I can’t control reports about my job. But I can control being able to prepare our football team to go out and play like they did today. That’s something under my control.

Q: What did you tell the team in the locker room following the game?

A: Just told them how proud I am of what they’ve done this season to battle through adverse moments to finish the 2nd half 4-3-1 against some quality, quality opponents who are battling for playoff spots. The two toughest losses we had were the Seattle game and Cincinnati game and they are very, very good teams at home this year, outstanding teams at home. Just told them how I proud I am of the way they’ve battled. Special group of guys. There are a lot of times they could have thrown in the towel and they didn’t. They kept battling and today is great evidence of that.

Q: Have you talked to the Wilfs and gotten any clarification on your job status?

A: Probably better to let the General Manager or the Wilfs answer that. They’ll voice their thoughts at some point, I would imagine.

Q: Is it pretty standard to talk with the Wilfs after the season?

A: It is.

Q: Will that happen tomorrow?

A: I have not been told that that’s tomorrow so I can’t say that.

Q: You came back out of the locker room to talk to the players and thank them as they walked in. What prompted that?

A: Well you know that the team is going to be different a season from now. I just wanted to thank those guys for what they’ve done this year and the way they have battled every single week to give us a chance. We didn’t always get the ball to bounce our way. I think somebody told me the other day that we were like 52 seconds away from being a 10-6 team fighting to win our 10th game today and we just haven’t completed some things that would have helped us but it’s not because they haven’t given us everything that they have. I wanted to thank them.

Q: How did you think that the defense played today and the role they played?

A: It’s always good when your defense plays well. We’ve had some moments where we played well this season. It’s good to see some of the guys who wouldn’t ordinarily be on the field – Shaun Prater, Marcus Sherels – and help us the way they did. Just guys playing hard and making plays when we had opportunities to make plays.

Q: With so much emotion into the season and now it’s over. Is it hard for you to dissect everything with your situation?

A: We’ll you’re right. There’s a lot that goes into these ballgames as you prepare. It’s unlike basketball or baseball where you have a game the next day or back-to-back games or three or four games in a week. There are a lot of things that go through your mind as you prepare for games and I’ve tried my best to focus in on what we have to do and you heard my comments earlier in the week when I thought we got distracted last week and I wanted to deal with that our team. If I get distracted, I know they’re going to distracted. In our business the margin of error is so small. You can’t get distracted in order to have a chance to win. I just have a lot of belief in my abilities as a coach and have a lot of belief in the guys on our team, a lot of belief in our staff and for that reason you don’t have to walk in fear. You just know that things are going to work out.

Q: What does this mean to you as a coach winning the last game at the Metrodome?

A: Just happy for our fans. We have great fans here in Minnesota. So happy we won the last game at the Metrodome at Mall of America Field. That’s something I’ll always be grateful for, the support I’ve received here in Minnesota and for us to be able to get a win in the last game at Mall of America Field, that’s a nice gift for our fans as we enter the new year, nice way to say Happy New Year to our fans.

Q: Are you proud of your resume at this point?

A: Absolutely. I’ve done everything I can do in my tenure here as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. I just know, as I’ve mentioned earlier, in our league you need to get that quarterback position fixed. You can talk about defense, you can talk about offense, you can talk about special teams. To answer your question, absolutely, yes I am.

Q: Do you have any regrets that you didn’t turn to Matt Cassel to start earlier in the season?

A: Like I’ve said before when I’ve been asked that, when we made those decisions early in the season regarding our quarterback, you’re making decisions based on – in my mind – the short term and the long term. When we decided to stay with Christian, there was a reason why we did that at that time. In retrospect, there was a reason why we did that at that time. Now in retrospect, you can look back and say well maybe you should have done this, but we’ve talked about why we did what we did and if it worked out there would be no second guessing. It didn’t but we knew why we did what we did.

Q: When those decisions were made who was making them?

A: I think you guys have heard me say this before. I think you asked me who made the decision regarding Josh Freeman. In this position, when you’re talking about the quarterback position, you don’t make these decisions alone. The quarterback position, this is a franchise position. It’s a collective decision. At the end of the day, I’m the head coach but when it comes to the quarterback, it’s not like inserting an offensive guard or a wide receiver or tight end. That’s a completely different matter so believe me there were discussions in each one of those situations.

Q: You mentioned Josh Freeman’s situation. Is that how you handled every quarterback decision? Or just that one?

A: Any time we made a quarterback change – I’ve been in the league too long and been around football too long. You don’t want to make decisions regarding the quarterback without ownership and the general manager being involved in some degree. You can make  suggestions but they need to sign off on it. This is the franchise. It’s not the center position, it’s not the guard, it’s the quarterback. So yeah, we discussed each one of those moves.

Q: Do you think that you’ve gotten a complete evaluation on Christian Ponder?

A: Like I said earlier, there is going to be a lot of discussion, a lot of film to be reviewed, a lot of conversation regarding what happens going forward at the quarterback position and obviously it’s a big decision that has to be made, but I don’t think that at this point it would be wise to declare one way or the other. There is a lot that needs to go into this decision, so there is a lot of time and a lot of things that have to go into it.

Vikings Quarterback Matt Cassel

Well, it was a great win for us today. Obviously, any time you are able to close out the Metrodome like that. It was outstanding. There were a lot of alumni here. I am sure that a lot of our fans have had great experiences here, so we were happy to get a win today against a division rival. On paper it says that we were not playing for much, but we definitely were playing out there. You could tell that everyone gave his heart. It was an exciting win.

Q: What have you seen in Cordarrelle Patterson’s growth from training camp to now.

A: Cordarrelle Patterson has done a tremendous job throughout the year growing as a player. Obviously, he has tremendous physical attributes. He’s big. He runs. There was never one time this year that I remember when the first player to come in contact with him made the tackle. He has all the physical attributes that you look for in outstanding players. It’s just him learning, playing a little football, and learning on the football field. He went to one year of junior college, one year at Tennessee and now he is in the NFL, so for him, I think that the sky is the limit as long as he continues to work and continues to grow.

Q: Will you look back on this season and wonder what the season would have been like if you had been quarterback all year?

A: No, people have asked me that a lot, but the fact is, you stay in the present. Every football season brings its own challenges, brings its own adversities. This season was no different. I am excited that when I did get the opportunity I was able to contribute some wins and play well. I am excited about moving forward and what the future holds.

Q: What will it take for you to come back?

A: It’s way too early to think about that, but at the same time, I love playing for the Vikings. The fan base here is absolutely amazing. The team was special. It was a great team to play for. I really enjoyed my time with my wife, myself, my kids, a great community and everything else that goes along with it. So, would I love to be a Minnesota Viking? Absolutely, without a doubt.

Q: What else will go into making your decision?

A: I am sure that there will be multiple things that go into my decision, but right now is not the time to think about it. I am going to enjoy this win. I am going to sit down with my wife after the season. Right now it’s been a long season, but it was an exciting way to end it. We’ve got a lot to celebrate.

Q: There are reports that Leslie Frazier might get let go. Do you have any comments?

A: I don’t. I enjoyed playing for Leslie Frazier all year. He came in each and every day with a demeanor to try to get his team ready to play, and I respect that about him. He was consistent in how he went about his business. There was never anybody hanging his head, especially in his case, when something went wrong. He always continued to motivate and push our players forward. As you can see, nobody in that locker room quit at any point in the season. Some games didn’t turn out the way we wanted them to turn out, but I think Leslie (Frazier) is a great coach.

Q: Do politics that occur behind the scenes determine your fate as a quarterback in this league?

A: That’s part of this position. There’s going to be times where you think you should play and it doesn’t happen that way, but I think that, as a player, you just have to be ready when your opportunity comes and take advantage of that and play well and play consistently. When you do that, you put yourself in position to continue to stay on the field because it’s hard not for coaches, the organization or politics of it all, not to play you when you continue you play well.

Q: As players how do you stay focused when things aren’t going very well?

A: The thing is, you have to have a larger perspective on things. We’re all blessed to play this game. We’re one percent of the population that’s lucky enough to come out here on Sundays 16 weeks out of the year and play in front of the fans that love us and everything else and it’s a blessing. You take that approach and you don’t look at it as, ‘Oh man, I’m getting slighted here.’ If you take that approach and you put that prospective and you go out there and you do your job and say, ‘I’m thankful to have this opportunity and be doing what I’m doing.’ 

Q: This being the last game here, was that discussed a lot in the locker room?

A: I think it was absolutely discussed this week. I think that just the fact that we wanted to go out and send the Metrodome out in a good way and these fans have had such great experiences and the players that have played here, the great players, the alumni that was here. It was a great day for us to go out there and get a win because I think that’s what everybody deserved.

Vikings Cornerback Marcus Sherels 

Q: You have a lot of Dome memories, is it weird to see this thing go?

 A: It really is. I grew up in Minnesota all my life and I’ve seen the dome all the time. It’s going to be missed, but I know we have a great stadium coming ahead.

Q: What are your thoughts on Coach Frazier and moving forward?

A: Coach Frazier is awesome. His whole staff is great. They do a great job of coaching and they care about us. On a personal basis, I don’t know, we’ll see.

Vikings Running Back Matt Asiata

Q: Are you a free agent after this year?

A: Yes, we’ll see what the offensive guys have to say about this, but it’s out of my hands. 

Q: Do you want to stay here in Minnesota?

A: Of course.  This is where I started, and this is where I’d like to build up, with this organization.

Q: What did it mean to get that long run and go over 100 hundred yards rushing, considering the fumble?

A: The fumble, they made a good play on it. I spun and the last guy hit me.  I give it up to my offensive line and Jerome Felton for opening up the holes for me and trying to gash the defense.

Vikings Tackle Phil Loadholt 

Q: Does it hurt to see who’s playing for the Championship today?

A: Yeah, we played some tough games this year. Rough year for us, but we have the right guys here and I think we have something to build on and come back next year.

Q: How do the guys feel about the coaching situation moving forward?

A: We just have to focus on this week and this time. Now that this week is over, it’s not really up to us. We just go with the flow and whatever happens, happens.