From The Locker Room: Patterson, Allen, Jennings and Others Talk After The Eagles Win

Posted Dec 15, 2013

Vikings Wide Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson

Q: When did things turn a corner and it all started to get easier for you?

A: You just have to work hard. When you don’t see good things happening, you can’t let that get on you. You just have to work hard at practice with guys like Jerome Simpson, Greg Jennings, and Jarius Wright. This is the NFL and there is nothing easy about it.

Q: No Adrian Peterson, and you get forty-eight points while Matt Asiata has three touchdowns. Could you have drawn that up?

A: Not at all, we missed Adrian out there. We told them that we have their back.

Q: Opponents are not kicking to you. Does that affect you at all?

A: Not at all, we start with the ball at the thirty-five yard line, and it helps our offense. If they keep doing that each game, then we will let them continue to do that.

Q: What does Cassel bring to the huddle?

A: He brings his leadership. This is his eighth or ninth year in the league. He has been a backup, but every chance he gets; he steps up and does his thing. He is a great leader in the huddle, on and off the field. I am glad we have him.

Q: Were you trying to throw the ball on that sweep play?

A: I was trying to throw it, but Greg Jennings wasn’t open. I couldn’t throw it, so I used my best ability to find a hole and get the first down.

Vikings Wide Receiver Greg Jennings

Q: What is it about the chemistry you and Matt (Cassel) have, does it go back to training camp?

A: He’s a very smart quarterback.  He has a lot of poise back there and he tries to make plays down the field with his eyes and his arm. 

Q: It seemed like a big key today for Matt (Cassel) was being able to step up in the pocket, is that a big difference?

A: Absolutely, just like I said being poised and understanding that his offensive line is going to perform a wall around him, give him that opportunity to step up in the pocket and make a throw down the field. He takes advantage of that, and we saw that today the way he spread the ball around. 

Q: You’ve played with two of the best quarterbacks the league has seen in many years, did you realize you just caught the most passes you’ve caught in a game?

A: Yes, I’ve never been a guy to have a whole lot of catches, but I’ve never been a big stat guy either.  I’ve had a great run with a lot of good guys throwing the ball. Obviously Brett (Favre) and Aaron, (Rodgers) but this afternoon with Matt (Cassel) he was feeding the ball to a lot of guys and I just happened to be on the receiving end of quite a bit of them.

Q: As a receiver what goes through your mind when you’re wide open like you were on that long catch and you know if he just throws it you’re going to get a touchdown?

A: I wasn’t technically wide open initially.  It was funny because I was running a route and I saw nothing on the backside and my route wasn’t technically supposed to be over there.  I was supposed to keep it a little higher the way they play their defense, but I looked back and I saw Matt (Cassel) look at me and shed a tackle, step up and throw the ball.  It was a great throw from Matt (Cassel) and I just did the easy part, catch the ball and get it in the end zone.

Q: Do you talk much in the huddle about being open on certain plays on a specific route. 

A: Not at all.  If a guy says that a corner is squatting and different things like that, I’m one of the more vocal guys who will go back and tell Matt (Cassel) and specifically my position coach and then Bill Musgrave.  I want whomever the corner that is squatting to get taken advantage of and that so happened to be Jarius (Wright) when he caught the deep ball down the right sideline.  We had said that a couple of times if the corner is squatting or sitting, so we sent Jarius right by him and he caught a long ball.

Vikings Defensive End Jared Allen

Q: This has been a coaching staff that you have been with for a long time. I imagine you have a lot of confidence in them?

A: This staff has changed, but we have been with Coach Frazier a long time. He was here when I arrived. We have a good personal relationship. I have enough on my plate to start worrying about other people’s stuff. My job is to win football games. After we watch the film, we will put this game behind us. The focus is on the Cincinnati Bengals and trying to get a fifth win. We just need to keep fighting, and knock a few more people off along the way.

Q: What does this say about the second half of the season?

A: I think they have done a good job of getting self-motivated people in here. When we have a lot of guys fighting out here, and we are not going to make the playoffs, it shows we have a lot of character on this football team.

Q: What do you have to say about the secondary being banged up, and they were still able to limit their guys?

A: I think they played their butts off. I think they only had a couple big plays on us, and they tackled well. I think they played a heck of a game. I haven’t been able to watch the film, but they gave us time to get a rush.

Vikings Running Back Matt Asiata

Q: I am sure it was tough when you were not able to play, but how do you look at it now?

A: I look at it as a blessing, just getting the opportunity to show the coaches what I can do and help this offense out.

Q: In your dreams as a kid, did you picture scoring three touchdowns in the NFL?

A: No, my dream was to make it to the NFL and I wish my dad was here to witness it.

Q: What is it like to go through a season and keep grinding away behind guys like Toby Gerhart and Adrian Peterson, finally getting the opportunity and coming up the way you did?

A: I came in with the same mentality as if they were playing. Come out and execute the plays, and play hard.

Q: Did it feel different waking up this morning, like this might be your opportunity?

A: To be honest I woke up pretty early this morning. I had a lot of butterflies and came ready to work.

Vikings Tight End Chase Ford

Q: Take me through that third down catch, what happened there?

A: Coach Frazier always talks about the next man up. When you get your opportunities to make a play, you have to make it. I just made the play. 

Q: When John Carlson and Kyle Rudolph were healthy, you were barely playing at all.

A: I was not playing at all, mostly because I was on the practice squad when everyone was healthy.

Q: This must be a big break for you?

A: I tried to make plays when my number is called.

Q: A lot of guys on the team who aren’t exactly on the cover of the media guide made plays today. What was the mentality with so many players injured?

A: It is just next man up, we had two running backs that got action that didn’t before, and they made plays. That is what you have to do when you are a team.

Vikings Linebacker Chad Greenway

Q: I know you talked earlier in the week that you didn’t really care. It’s all about you guys damaging someday else’s playoff.

A: Yeah, I mean they were playing hard today and if we were playing the Bears or something like that it obviously means a lot more. We need to win. If anything, you need to put a smile back on your face and go back to work, especially with the way last week turned out. There was just a great all- around team effort today.

Q: You guys lost a lot of close games this season. What’s it mean to get a win like this late in the season with the record that you guys have?

A: Well thinking about our organization from top to bottom and the coaching staff, I think the leaders and the teammates we have in here are great. I mean nobody has quit all season. It’s been a tough season. We don’t get any breaks until the end of the game, and we have been in every ball game for the most part. We look back on every weekend at Leslie saying, “Great effort, great effort” but you really look back and appreciate that as a guy on the team. There are guys busting their butts every week. The guys are just stepping it up to play great football.

Q: There is already talk about finding a replacement for Frazier. As a player, how would you respond to that in terms of how you guys have done?

A: I think a report is a report. We have two weeks left now, two games left of the season.
The coaching staff has done a great job at keeping us focused and maintaining what they want to do in a consistent message and they will maintain that throughout.  You can’t stop those things. When your team has four wins, it’s going to happen. It’s the NFL. It’s just the business we are in. It will happen if you’re a player that isn’t playing up to par as well so it’s just the business we are in. You have to move forward and whatever happens, happens.

Q: With that said, it sounds like you very much appreciate the staff that is here for you.

A: Yes, I have been with Leslie for seven years out of my eight in the NFL so there are guys here that you create good bonds with that you have been around for a long time that have done a great job coaching. It is not my decision to make one way or the other but I appreciate the things they continue to do for us to put us in the best position to get wins.

Vikings Wide Receiver Jarius Wright

Q: Some of the key players were injured and you guys persevered talk.

A: Yes sir, we knew that with a couple of the running backs down that we would have to step up and make some plays out wide.  The two running backs that we had out back there played great, on run and on pass protections.  For those guys to step up like they did, it was amazing, and it really helped our passing game. 

Q: What about the passing game?  Matt Cassel stepping up and by far the best performance of the season by a Vikings quarterback.

A: It started with a great week of practice.  Our record does not reflect the type of team we have here.  Cassel played great, we believed in him and he believed in us, when you have two things like that it’s going to work.

Q: Do you think that since he’s a veteran it’s the reason that he’s had success since he’s been in there, how do you explain the success he’s had?

A: Cassel has been in the league for a while and he’s very good at reading pre-snap coverages and knowing where to go with the ball.  I think that Cassel being a veteran definitely helps out with reading coverages.