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From The Locker Room: Allen, Jennings, Patterson, Ellison and Others on Bears Win

Posted Dec 1, 2013

Minnesota Vikings Defensive End Jared Allen

Q: Tell us about how you guys played defensively?

A: We just rallied, they really only had two big plays on us. I thought we did a great job of keeping the top on the defense. They got a couple runs out on us, but when it came down to crunch time we really stepped it up. We were able to hold them to a long field goal, and fortunately he missed.

Q: You were able to get them back after what happened in Week Two, how does that feel?

A: It is nice, we didn’t expect it to come down to this but it feels good to get a win no matter what, especially in the division.

Q:  You guys are still fighting to get wins?

A: I know it sounds redundant, we say it all the time, but it is professional football. We get paid a handsome wage to come out and put it on the line each week. The difference between being 3-8-1 and possibly 6-5 or 7-5 is in our case three or four plays where we have lost on the last second of the game. The talent in the NFL is so equal, that any team could win at any moment. The difference between a losing season and the playoffs isn’t much. 

Minnesota Vikings Wide Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson

Q: It looks like they found a new way to use you in the backfield, have you been waiting for that all year or is it something that’s come out the last few weeks in practice?

A: To be honest we’ve been practicing that since Week 2 and we’ve never had a chance to use it and the time was called now.  I’m just trying to be like AP back there, I told him “You better watch out I’m coming through.” 

Q: How good does a win feel?

A: It feels great.  I give all the credit to Blair; he missed one but we still trust him, came back with him, he got the win for us and it feels great.

Q: Cassel, what’s he like in the huddle for a young guy?

A: He’s great, he’s just like Christian but he’s a lot more experienced and this is like his ninth year in the league, he’s a great leader.  He comes to me all the time during practice, games and he just talks to me and tells me to keep my head up and stay focused in the play book. 

Q: What was the emotion of overtime like with the back and forth, the missed field goal, the penalty and the missed field goal?

A: It wasn’t great, I felt like we were going to get another tie.  Like I said Blair did a great job for us he gave us the win, so I have to give all the credit out to Blair.

Minnesota Vikings Wide Receiver Jerome Simpson

Q: How do you feel about Cassel?

A: He’s a veteran quarterback. He’s always poised and we just had to make plays for him. Just coming in there like that, he has to have that confidence and us as receivers, tight ends, and running backs, we just have to go out there at catch those balls and find that rhythm.

Q: Can you imagine a home game where you have so man “Oh man we’re going to win” moments or “Oh man we’re going to lose” moments in the same game?

A: Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever been in a situation like that, especially with a facemask call like that to win the game. It was up and down but we kept the faith and got a win.

Q: On the 4th and 11 play, what did you see there?

A: Just running the inside route, staying on the move. Cassel threw a strike and I just had to catch the ball and make sure that my yardage to get in position to win this game.

Minnesota Vikings Kicker Blair Walsh

Q: What do you attribute your missed field goal to?

A: Just trying to kill it. With the 57 (yards), I haven’t hit many long ones this year and haven’t been in the rhythm, so I just tried to overcompensate for something I shouldn’t have.

Q: Did you need to relax a bit before kicking the 34 - yard field goal?

A: I was still amped up for the 34 - yarder. I knew with our operation and my ability that we were going to make it. 

Q: What’s going through your mind when you think you won the game?

A: The life of a kicker is going to have a short memory. I came on the sidelines, looked at Jeff (Locke) and said, “It’s gone and done with. We’re going to have a chance to win this game.” Even when Robbie was going up for his attempt, I just had a feeling we were going to get another chance and we did. So we stayed ready the whole time on the sidelines and that helped.

Minnesota Vikings Wide Receiver Greg Jennings

Q: The passing game seemed to struggle in the first half, and then came alive in the second half. 

A: There are two halves to every game and we just wanted to make sure we stayed in it, locked in and were able to execute.  We got some good plays called in the second half and guys stepped up and made a lot of plays. 

Q: What was going through your mind when you kicked a field goal, fireworks are going off, guys are going off and then you see the flag?

A: I didn’t even see the flag; I was so ready to get in the locker room.  Then I heard my name being called and having to go back out on the field.

Q: How about Cassel coming in and the job he did in the second half for you guys?

A: I can’t speak enough in high regards to what he did.  I’ve said this in the past, he approaches every week as though he’s the starter, and so when it’s his opportunity to step up and make plays he’s ready.  He prepares like a pro should prepare every week.  My hat goes off to him.  I can’t say enough about him and he’s a great guy to have in your back pocket. 

Q: Are you ready for another quarterback controversy with the way he played?

A: That’s up to the coaches, but Matt played well and hopefully Christian’s healthy.  We got a win and so we’re going to celebrate this win.

Q: Is there sometimes a certain receiver has certain chemistry with a quarterback?  You and Matt seem to have something going.

A: I don’t know.  We talk a lot, we sort of see the same things and you know he’s been in the game a long time so he’s seen a lot of defenses and understands what they’re going to throw at him.  I think that we share that same mindset when it comes to that, but it’s one of those things where he kind of just finds the guys.  He came in today and played excellent.

Minnesota Vikings Defensive Back Xavier Rhodes

Q: Was this a pretty emotional win?

A: Yeah, we came together as a team; we are looking at our flaws and mistakes and try to correct them.

Q: You had guys continue to leave the game, tell us how that has affected the secondary?

A:  We believe in one another, we have confidence in each other, and we strive to get better.

Q: What was your feeling when Chris Cook left the game, and the secondary was down to three cornerbacks?

A: It hurt us, but the backups have to be ready. You never know when it is your turn, and when it is your turn you have to be ready.

Q: What happened when you had to come out during overtime?

A: My back tightened up, that was about it.

Minnesota Vikings Defensive End Brian Robison

Q: What was the feeling when Blair Walsh was able to angle Devin Hester out of bounds with: 20 left and a chance for them to win the game?

A: Hester is almost always dangerous, but we believe in our special teams and he finally broke one today. Sometimes that is going to happen, but that is what you plan on those guys being able to do when adversity hits, and someone has to go tackle him and give the defense a chance to make a play and that is what they did.

Q: Seems like so many times you have it won, then something happens and the game continues?

A: Seems like every game. It has just been the story of our season. Bottom line is that we just have to keep fighting and do what we did today and try to come out victorious.

Q: What does it say about this team coming off the overtime game with Green Bay and having another one today and not losing either one?

A: We are never going to quit fighting. No matter how bad things get, not matter how good they get, we are going to keep fighting and not give up.

Minnesota Vikings Tight End Rhett Ellison

Q: What goes through your mind when you get a facemask call?

A: That I really screwed over the team and that I made a big mistake. You just try to erase it and move on to the next play. These guys didn’t give up, so I couldn’t give up and we ended up pulling out a win.

Q: Did you think it was a penalty before you saw the flag?

A: No, I didn’t know because I was more worried about Hester and I didn’t even think about my inside hand, so I had no idea.

Q: Do you know if you grabbed his facemask?

A: Obviously, I must have. There’s no way they would call that if I didn’t.

Q: A lot of stuff happens when you’re on those kick plays, it’s hard to see what’s going on?

A: I’ve been coached to see where I hit, I just took my eyes off the target and focused on Hester on the outside.

Q: When Blair made the field goal, what were you feeling?

A: Like an elephant off my back. I don’t know, it was just a miracle I guess. It was an amazing team win. These guys on the defense, I feel like I should take them all out somewhere. I owe them big time.

Minnesota Vikings Defensive Tackle Kevin Williams

Q: Are you surprised they kicked it on second down?

A: It was clearly makeable; I think he just pushed it. I don’t know what happened. He got nervous I guess.

Q: What was the reaction to the Ellison penalty on the field goal?

A: You look out there and see the little yellow flag; I have never seen a facemask on a field goal before. It was up and down, we had to go and stop them again but then he missed it. It is good to get the win.

Q: At any point did you feel like you were going to get your second tie in your career?

A: No, both teams were in positions to win. We should have won it when we were first in the red zone.

Minnesota Head Coach Leslie Frazier

Just a wild football game that I’m so glad that we came out on top. Just a terrific job by our football players. Just very, very proud of the way they played and battled through adversity and overcame so many different situations during the course of that game. We knew going in it’d be that type of game where it would come down to maybe a final play. Seems like we’ve been in so many games like that this year and this time we found a way to make some plays in clutch situations on offense, defense and special teams that allowed us to win this game. But you have to congratulate our coaches and players for just persevering and blocking out any distractions and just focusing on this one team, this one ballgame during Thanksgiving week. Just extremely proud of those guys and the way they played. Christian Ponder left the game with a concussion, so we’ll have to see what happens with him during the course of the week. Greg Jennings, we weren’t sure if he was going to be able to play in the ballgame last night. He was sick with a stomach virus actually throughout the day. We had our walk through on Saturday, he went through some of it and was really sick throughout the afternoon. We didn’t even bring him to the hotel last night and he came over this morning, asked him if he thought he’d be able to go and he said, “Coach I’m going to try and go. I’m going to do the best I can.” And then goes out and plays a heck of a football game for us in that second half and in the overtime as well with some big plays. Chad Greenway got banged up in this ballgame. He’s played probably this entire second half of the season with broken bones in his wrist. For him to battle the way he’s battled to show up every day. I asked him one day in practice, I said, “I know you’re in a lot of pain; you’re in that cast. Why do you do what you do? You could have went to the trainers and said, ‘I need a week off.’ “He said, “Coach, I love playing the game so much and I want to help this football team in whatever way I can.” And that attitude kind of permeates our entire team. They want to do whatever they can to help our team be successful and when you have guys like Greg and Chad battling it helps with some of the young guys. Good win for our team. Can’t say enough about Adrian [Peterson], our offensive line, our defense stepping up and making big play after big play. Jared [Allen] coming up with the big sack fumble, wish Kevin [Williams] would have fallen on it, but it worked out at the end. Blair [Walsh] with the big kicks to win the game. I thought the first one was to win the game but turned out we needed another. Matt Cassel coming in in relief and doing the things he did shows why we signed him in the offense to be able to do the things he did today and was fabulous in a lot of ways. Proud of our guys to be able to enjoy our Christmas party tomorrow night. It’ll be a lot more fun coming off the win.

Q: What was your thought process after the penalty on Blair’s made field goal and going out there and trying to get more yards for the 2nd attempt?

A: We were like on the fringe of what we thought we needed to get for a field goal so we wanted to get three or four yards. We thought we could get that and we lost yards. So that was the thinking, just get him three or four more yards, make it a little bit easier kick but it didn’t work out. 

Q: What does it say about Adrian Peterson having that sore groin and still having the carries he did and his performance in the 4th quarter.

A: You’ve watched him play throughout his career. He’s amazing in so many ways. Even last year playing with a sports hernia at the end of the year and to come out now with a groin that’s sore and really inhibits him in a lot of ways to continue to battle through it and perform the way he performed. It’s just amazing. I don’t know if medically you’d ever say a guy could carry the ball 35 times, rush for 211 yards dealing with what he’s dealing with, the hamstring earlier in the season and now the groin. He’s amazing.

Q: Did you even think he’d be able to get to the 10,000-yard mark today?

A: I never even thought about it during the week. Someone, I don’t even know where I saw it that he needed 100 and whatever to get it today. But it was always about winning this game so I never really thought about it all.

Q: Now that he’s got it what does it say about him?

A: It’s just so impressive when you consider I think he’s one of the youngest running backs to ever achieve it, I think 3rd quickest of anybody who has ever done it. It’s a testament to his greatness. He’s rare. There’s a lot more to be done in his career. He’s the best, he’s the best in pro football, reigning MVP.

Q: What were your emotions after Blair Walsh hit the field goal that was negated by the penalty?

A: I was just like, “hard to believe that this is not game over”. I thought we were getting ready to go shake hands and go in and talk to our team. For our players to bounce back and not let that discourage him  and to come back and play the way they played, just so proud of those guys being resilient in amidst of adversity. Instead of throwing their helmets down and complaining about the official’s call, they lined back up and played and gave us another chance and fortunately we ended up getting a win.

Q: What does Matt Cassel do to get your passing game going?

Well he did a good job with all of the 8-man fronts we got today. When we went from the first snap to the last snap it was safety in the box, safety in the box, and you’ve got to be able to hit some of those out routes and some of those slants when that happens otherwise it’s like running up a brick wall even though we were able to get some runs at times it’s hard to sustain drives. He has the ability to make those routine throws on a consistent basis and that’s what you have to be able to do with the way our offense is structured and having the back that we have.

Q: With what transpired today what does that do the quarterback situation going forward?

A: It’s unfortunate that Christian got injured, great that Matt came in and did the things that he did and we’ll sit down on Monday and see where we are and figure out where Christian is health wise over the course of the week.

Q: What is it about Matt Cassel that seems to bring out the best in Greg Jennings?

A: They definitely connected well in the time that Matt has been in there going back to that Pittsburgh ballgame. Just Matt being able to find a guy that he trusts, I would imagine, and getting the ball in his hands. Greg doesn’t let him down. He makes some big time catches.

Q: Cassel maybe made a game-saving tackle on his interception. Was that part of the reason behind signing him in the offseason?

A: How’d you know that? That’s pretty impressive. That was something that Bob Hagan had told me about, that he could tackle well so we wanted make sure we signed him based on that.

Q: How do you think the secondary played after Chris Cook was ejected?

A: It seems like we settled down. There were two back-to-back big plays. The third-and-14 we were in great shape, a ball you’ve got to knock away and we don’t knock it down and they make a terrific catch and Chris ends up getting ejected from the game. After that, it looks like our guys settled down. We’re playing a lot of different people in the secondary, a lot more snaps than we’d like to be playing them and they were standing up and they were finding ways to hang in there.

Q: Was it disappointing for Chris to lose his cool there dealing with all of the injuries in the secondary?

A: Yeah you’ve got to keep your composure, especially at the corner position. There are going to be times you get beat. You can’t let that stuff get to you. You’ve got to line up and play the next play.

Q: Do you think that even if Christian Ponder is healthy that Matt Cassel will be the starter next week?

A: Well, Matt did a good job in relief, there’s no doubt about it. We’ll monitor Christian’s health throughout the week and we’ll sit down as a staff and talk about what’s the best direction to go.

Q: So if Christian is healthy he is still a consideration for the starting spot?

A: Of course. He has to be a consideration.

Q: What is the determination in how much you use Toby Gerhart?

A: We went into it thinking that we’re going to get Toby in there a little bit more than we actually ended up doing, but as the game was going on and some of the things Adrian was doing and he kept saying, “I feel fine, I’m OK,” we left in him in there and it worked out. We went into it thinking we were going to utilize Toby a little more, we talked about it during the week. But the way Adrian was running and the fact that he said that he felt good and we didn’t notice any limitations in the way he was running we just stayed with him.

Q: Did Devin Hester taking the touchback for most of the game play into consideration to kick to him at the end of regulation?

A: The touchbacks definitely made a difference, the fact that he was not bringing it out had a lot to do with it. It probably wasn’t the wisest thing to kick to him at the end of the ballgame and that’s why in overtime we kicked it short. But that had a lot to do with it, the fact that he wasn’t bringing it out.

Q: Do you think there is any chance that Adrian Peterson could end his career as the greatest running back ever?

A: In raw numbers, sure. And he’s still very young. I can’t imagine ever getting away from Adrian being the featured guy in the offense, so as long as we can put some more pieces around him, and that’s something we have to do in a hurry because he isn’t getting any younger. Yes, I could see him numbers-wise reaching that plateau as the greatest running back all time.

Q: Aside from numbers?

A: We watched Mr. Payton play and I’ve talked to Adrian about that a few times.  Adrian is, in today’s football, the best running back in pro football. Walter, he’s pretty special. That would be a good argument to have, who is the best of all time. I’m love the fact that Adrian is on our team and we don’t have to defend him. He’s incredible.

Q: What about Blair rebounding to kick the game-winning field goal?

A: Blair has made so many clutch field goals for us going back to last season and to be in that situation a second time after missing the long one, to come back and put it through the uprights is a testament to his strength, his mental toughness as well and our guys up front protecting. He’s one of those guys who you feel very comfortable putting out there when it’s reasonable for him to make a kick and he came through for us.

Q: Did Erin Henderson’s lack of playing time have to do with his incident off the field?

A: It was more about Audie [Cole]. I thought he played another good ballgame. I’ll take a look at the tape to verify it but everything that I saw from the sideline, he looked like he did everything that we would want in that position, so good job by Audie Cole.

Minnesota Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson

Q: Whats the range of emotions when Blair Walsh kicks the field goal, the fireworks go off and then you see there is a penalty?

A: It sucks, it really does. You’re at an all-time high because you thought you got the victory and then we were sitting there waiting to see what the call was, then you’re at an all-time low. Ultimately, we were able to give him another opportunity and he nailed it.

Q: What does the 10,000-yard milestone mean to you, and seeing that you’re the third fastest to do it?

A: It really means a lot. A lot of guys over the years have contributed to it. I was saying earlier, Matt Birk, Steve Hutchinson, Bryant McKinnie, the guys from this year, Sully (John Sullivan), my fullback through the years. Just to be in that elite group, it’s truly a blessing. God has really blessed me to be surrounded by some great guys to help me get to that goal. I sit here and I’m just humbled.

Q: After 35 carries are you pretty tired, or could you have gone more?

A: I could have gone more, yeah, yeah. I condition real hard and actually I get stronger as I go. I could have went for 50, maybe 55 carries.

Q: Do you know what the most carries you have ever had in a game is?

A: I think I surpassed 40 before, maybe in high school.

Q: Do you feel like you had an advantage over the Bears towards the end, with them being on the field so much?

A: I think so. Anytime (it’s an advantage) you’re well-conditioned. The guys up front as well. Looking at those guys toward the end of the fourth quarter and overtime, I didn’t see too many guys with hands on the hips. I looked on the other side and those guys kind of looked winded. Conditioning plays a big part because once you get tired you start making mental mistakes and start slacking behind and it can cost you the game. Fortunately, our group was able to continue to push and make the plays when we needed them and ultimately come out with a big W at home.  

Q: Were you surprised at how Matt Cassel was able to come in and be so composed?

A: It doesn’t surprise me at all. You go back to Washington, he played the same way. He’s a savvy vet, a great leader and a guy that you know when he is in there you’re going to get everything he has. When you got a guy like that you can’t question him, you just go.  

Q: So many of your runs last year were homeruns; today it took a lot of carries to get to 200 yards. Is there any one run that stands out to you?

A: I would say the last run before the field goal. It’s so funny, because I actually think I could have scored on that play, but my mindset was hold on to the ball and get as many yards as possible. I don’t know how many yards I got on that play but we got closer and were able to get good positioning for (Blair) Walsh to make a game-winning field goal.

Q: How do you feel now and how does that compare to how you felt earlier this year?

A: My health is pretty good. I’m feeling good. I’m just continuing to do things I need to do and push to next Sunday.

Q: Do you feel you have that extra gear right now?

A: What do you think? Did you see it out there, huh? Like I said, I’m going to continue to work on my body, strengthen my body, let my body rejuvenate and it’s another push to Sunday.

Q: When you found yourself down 10 in the 4th quarter, how did you rally the guys to pull out the win?

A: I was talking on the sideline with Sully (John Sullivan), and some of the guys and telling them, ‘hey, we are going to have opportunities.’ The defense is going to make and plays, and they did. The defense made plays and we were able to get the ball offensively and march the ball, create some drives and ultimately put some points on the board. It really came down to guys not giving up. Guys continuing to have the faith and that’s what Coach Frazier always harps on. You have got to believe, you can’t tuck your tail and run, you can’t give up no matter how it looks you have to continue to fight. That’s one thing that we have done all year. Our record doesn’t show it, but you guys have heard me say it time and time again I haven’t seen guys quit. When I look in their eyes there is fight there. Today was a perfect example of that fight that we have inside of us.

Q: The way you have played the last couple of games does the slow start bother you?

A: Of course it does. But, when I do that I kind of refocus and get back on the things that we can control now. You can control getting a win today and we did that. We have got to control getting a win next week and finishing the season strong.

Q: With the Bears’ defensive injuries how do you compare this game to the first time you played them this season?

A: It was different, obviously. Anytime that you lose starters in a guy like (Lance) Briggs and the guys up front with the injuries, but those young guys stepped in and they made some good plays. Bill Musgrave talked this week about wanting to establish the run game and take advantage of those guys and the offensive line stood up to it and we were able to be balanced offensively, move the ball in the run game and the pass game, Jerome Simpson, (John) Carlson, (Greg) Jennings, Jarius Wright, there were guys that were making plays and we were able to be more balanced today. 

Q: How many ties do you think the Wilfs have given you over the years?

A: I’ve got a couple. I look forward to getting a couple of more as well.

Q: As your career continues and you keep putting yourself in company with some elite running backs, how do you compare yourself to the guys you continually get compared to?

A: Jim Brown, Eric Dickerson are the guys that I looked up to, the guys that motivated me to be better than them and I still have a long way to go. I’ve reached this mark and it’s great, give God all of the glory for blessing me and to be in a position to accomplish all of the things that I have accomplished so far, but I still have a long way to go to surpass those guys, and that is what I look to do.

Q: If we would have told 16- year- old Adrian Peterson that he would be named with those guys, what would he have thought?

A: You’re right. I would have believed it. This has been my mindset since I was young, to be the best to ever play. You have got to believe it in order to accomplish it. So you have told me that I would have been like, “Hmm, he is thinking what I’m thinking”.

Q: Do you have any advice for Derrick Rose and his knee issues?

A: Call me, give me a call.

Q: What did you think of Cordarrelle Patterson’s touchdown run?

A: I might need to watch out, he’s something special. I have been able to sit back and really watch him. For a rookie, he is going to be real good. He already is real good, but the potential, the sky is the limit for that young guy. He is a special player.  I know talent, he has it.

Q: Does anything surprise you anymore with the tie last week, the missed field goals, rushing for 10,000 yards?

A: Not at all, not at all. It was definitely a roller coaster today, up and down with emotions and how things were going. The missed field goals and when they set up to kick the game winning field goal, I was like miss it, miss it, miss, miss, miss, and it goes to the right edge and misses, I was like, “Thank you Jesus”. We are going to make it count this time. That is what it is all about. It’s a game of inches. This game is a perfect example of that, and missed opportunities. We had a few, they had a few and ultimately, we made it when it counted.

Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Matt Cassel

Well, first and foremost I think I’m a little bit tired. Wow. That was, emotionally, such an amazing game. I’m proud of how these guys responded today and our team responded. We have a resilient group of guys in this locker room who are dedicated each and every day to coming in and keep working hard. I know this season hasn’t gone exactly how we wanted it to, but it’s a testament to the guys in the locker room and also speaks about the character of this team, the way the continued to fight. Today was a great win. It was fun to come into the locker room and enjoy this experience. Like I said, I’m just proud of how we performed and continued to fight today.

Q:  How did you guys hold it together through all of the twists and the turns in the final minutes?

A: You just have to continue to push forward. This is an emotional game. There’s ups and downs, there’s ebbs and flows. For us, I think that we just continued to push forward no matter what the circumstance was and at the end of the day we came out on top and that’s what playing this game is all about, getting that W at the end of the day. It feels good to get that victory.

Q: As a backup quarterback, how do you handle the mentality of coming in cold when your number is called?

A: I think it’s, for me now that I’ve been doing it for a little while, it’s about always being accountable to your teammates throughout the course of the week. I’m a firm believer in practice preparation becomes game reality and by that I mean that you have to put in the work during the week and when your number is called you should be prepared come Sunday. And I’m not saying by any means that it was perfect. There are going to be a ton of things that I watch on film and go ‘Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I did that or this,’ There’s always room for improvement, but I’m just excited that I was able to help this team to victory today. We had a lot of guys contribute in that room. The offensive line was outstanding, Adrian Peterson obviously had another 200-yard game for him, the receivers did a great job so offensively it made it easy for me.

Q: Does a game like this show that you should be in the conversation for the starting quarterback position?

A: You know what, I don’t make those decisions. To be quite honest, my job is to go out and get prepared each and every week and whatever coach asks me to do, do it and put my best foot forward. I might not always agree with it, but at the same time my job is to go out there and be prepared and be accountable to those guys in that locker room.

Q: It seems like you and Greg Jennings have a connection. Is that true?

A: Greg and I hit it off since we got here both coming here as free agents. He’s such a tremendous man, he works hard, he’s a very smart football player. It’s been great for me to be around a guy like that, a guy who continues to motivate himself to get better each and every day. We just have a great relationship. We love talking football, we both have families, small children. I was just at his daughter’s birthday party yesterday, so it’s just a lot of fun. Greg’s a great player so it’s been good.

Q: On the 4th and 11, can you take us through that play and what you’re seeing?

A: It was crunch time there. I thought the offensive line did a heck of a job holding up and we had a backside in-cut against split-safety coverage and that’s where the read took me. (Simpson) did a good job of winning and we were able to hit it and continue to move forward on the drive. Anytime you’re caught in a situation, the great part about it is just the fact that you have four downs in that situation so any given play can make the difference and it just happened to be that that play was for 15 and we converted on fourth.

Q: Can you talk about Adrian Peterson and how he played today?

A: He’s got tremendous heart. All the physical talent aside, he works at his craft and works tremendously hard. He puts in the time, he puts in the hours and I think that is really what’s so special about him.

Q: Can you take us through the play when the ball bounced off Rhett Ellison’s hands and was intercepted?

A: The play was, I think it was cover one, I knew I had man-to-man and I was trying to get him the ball quickly. Unfortunately, Rhett’s done a tremendous job for us, and unfortunately it went off his hands and they were able to bring it in and thankfully we were able to stop the linebacker from running down the field.

Q: That was a pretty angry tackle on your part on that interception?

A: I was upset. I was playing with anger. I hope he felt that, too (laughs). He was probably like, ‘I just ran him over, that was great. One more opportunity to hit him.’

Q: What was the key to the rhythm on that game-tying drive?

A: Like I said, guys just continued to fight and continued to get open. It’s about making the right read and the offensive line was doing their job, the receivers were getting depth in their routes and we had the ability to push forward no matter the adversity that got in our way. Also, our defense did a tremendous job not giving up and continuing to fight. Like I said, it was just an all-around great team victory and it’s great to come in the locker room after a win.

Q: What’s it like have to stay sharp despite not having the season go the way you wanted?

A: That’s a great question. I think that, for any of us, this is what we get paid to do. Our job is not to come in and complain or worry about this that or the other, who’s playing, who’s not playing. Our job is to go out, prepare and put yourself in the best position possible to be successful on Sunday. If you’re worried about all the other minute, it takes away from what you can do and you don’t do your job as well. I’ve learned that over the years. It’s not something you don’t learn with experience. Our job is to go out and be ready and accountable to those guys in the locker room.

Q: What did Christian Ponder tell you at halftime or after the game?

A: I got a chance to talk to Christian after the game and unfortunately he sustained that hit and was knocked out of the game, but at the same time Christian is a great player, a great guy and a great teammate. He came up and congratulated me and I gave him a big hug and I told him to get back soon.

Q: With four minutes to go and you had the ball in overtime, were you thinking here comes another tie?

A: It’s been two long weeks for us, there’s no doubt about it. I think that all of our mentalities were we have to get out of this things with a win no matter what it takes. The lineman in the huddle, everybody they were as fired up as ever in the third quarter when I came into the game. They were all yelling and hooting and hollering, so let’s go get this thing. It was fun to be in that huddle.

Q: After you came into the game how do you think the team did both passing and running?

A: Like I said, we had a very good second half and there’s going to be room to improve, but at the end of the day it all comes down to getting the W and it was great to get a win.

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