Vikings Running Back
Q: Are you starting to get that feeling of the “same old”, you guys have lead with one minute to go, does it make it more frustrating that these aren’t game you should have lost?
A: Yeah, it definitely makes it more frustrating with those games you have right there in your pocket. It’s frustrating, but we need to just regroup and bounce back. We can’t let this direct us in a different path, so we need to just come back next week in London and get that first W (win).
Q: The back- to-back three and out series that the offense had, how much did that hurt?
A: It hurts, it hurts a lot. Offensively when we talk about creating drives and putting points up on the board, when you have those opportunities and you don’t capitalize. I don’t feel like we as an offense made some plays, but we weren’t able to make enough, especially when it counted the most.
Q: Sitting at 0-3 now how do you collectively circle the wagon and make sure that the season doesn’t really fall off the cliff?
A: We have a mature bunch here with great leaders. We know these games that we’ve lost, we know how they’ve played out, and so we just have to stay confident and keep swinging, but just keep swinging a lot better. We will approach it with that mindset and attitude, we’ll be okay.
Q: What are you seeing differently that you didn’t see last week with these first three games? Are the holes not there, are they stacking the box, why are the yards not where they were from a year ago?
A: They are stacking the box a little more and those guys on the other side of the ball are pretty good, so you’re going to have a game every week with the 50 here and the 40 there. We have to come out and be consistent, all of these short runs of 5 and 6 yards, that’s what you ask for is the run game being efficient. That opens it up for the pass and that happened to us today, we just had opportunities that we just did not take advantage of. That’s just what it comes down to.
Q: How are you feeling physically and in terms of readiness?
A: I feel good. I feel like I’m ready. I think I’m doing a pretty good job. The scary part is that I still have a lot of potential to fulfill. So I’m excited.
Q: Talk about your progression. Have you felt yourself climbing the steps?
A: I think so. It’s a process- the transformation. The new defense, getting my feet back under me. It’s all been a process. I have been steadily been getting better each game.
Q: How much has learning a new scheme slowed things up?
A: Not too much. At the end of the day, it’s football. You have an assignment and you have to execute that assignment whether it’s the A-gap or the B-gap. It doesn’t matter. It’s all about executing your assignment.
Q: (Referencing a play) It seems like you were reacting and not thinking at all.
A: A lot of it is preparation. For most of the good players in this league, the reason they make good plays is preparation. They study and they know and when they see something, they take a calculated risk. Sometimes it pays off. Sometimes it does not.
Q: Do you think a guy like you can rely on your instincts? (Looks better in a game rather than a practice field)
A: Absolutely. I am an instinctive guy. It is my strength. When I practice, it’s preparation for the game, but it’s all about doing it in the game.
Minnesota Vikings Linebacker
Q: What does the game in London mean?
A: It’s just another game next week. Being in London doesn’t change whether it’s harder or not. It’s hard because we are 0 and 3 now not because we are going to London.
Q: How frustrating is it to lose two tough ones like that in a row?
A: It’s tough. All losses are tough. It wasn’t worse than Detroit. It’s a tough loss. You don’t want to lose any games.
Q: In general, what do you think needs to be corrected defensively?
A: We just need to play ball. I don’t think anything needs to be corrected. Just play football.
Q: What’s the key to making defense work?
A: We need to play the defense. If you’ve got them in front of you, you make the play.
Q: What were your thoughts on the Browns?
A: They did a good job. We knew they had a good front and they played a good game, put some pressure on us, and you know hats off to them.
Q: There has obviously been a lot of criticism around, but what responsibility do you feel you take?
A: As individuals all we have to judge is ourselves and how we played, that’s all you can control. So I look at myself and I have to do a better job of everything in the game, and I can do that by doing what a professional football player does, reviewing the tape, correcting my mistakes and working hard in practice.
Q: Is that the kind of sense you get from the rest of the offensive line?
A: That’s the way it is on the entire team.
Q: Despite on how
A: Absolutely, every single one of us, Christian especially, he is our quarterback and our leader, but we are focused on winning, so we can’t get caught up in all that other stuff. If it’s that’s directly involved with winning a football game it just kind of rolls off, that’s what happens during the game and that’s what happens after the game, we will focus on what went on out there, and obviously we will watch the tape and correct our mistakes and we will work on those things next week in practice. It’s not a complicated formula, what we do week-in and week-out,whether you win or lose, you just focus on next week’s game because that’s all you can control.
Q: Without looking at the film today what are some of the adjustments that need to be made?
A:That’s a difficult question without looking at the film, we will just have to take a look at that first.
Vikings Defensive End
Q: How can you explain the game?
A: The explanation is that our two-minute drill terrible right now, I’m not going to stand here and sugar coat it for you guys. We had an opportunity, they weren’t in the greatest field position, they got the ball at the 50 yard line and needed a field goal, but we gave them the touch down. Our two-minute drill is actually terrible right now and it cost us, in my opinion three game
Q: The second half was different from the first, you got pressure, and blitzed but just got away from that in the two- minute drill?
A:The second half we gave them seven points at the end of the game, same thing we did last week. The first half was terrible, we need to be more consistent and we can’t give them 24 points in the first half, then hold them to seven in the second half and you lose. We have got to play better defense.
Q: How do you explain this Browns team having such a chaotic week with everything that has gone on?
A: Sometimes through chaos comes order, and obviously the Browns came out ready to play, everybody was guessing on how they were going to come out. They were physical down the field, their backs were running hard, and I think everyone was crazy for (under) estimating these guys. But again, we had our own issues to deal with and we obviously got to get them cleaned up.
Q: Do you maybe think that you guys weren’t ready for this?
A: No, I don’t think so at all. Look at the first drive, we go down and we score. Three and out and then they answer. Hats off to them they played a hell of a game. We didn’t come up in the end when we needed to.
Q: That third string quarterback was pretty good?
A: He played a good game, so my hat’s off to him. He made a lot of big time throws.
Q: How tough is this loss?
A: I mean it’s just as tough as any loss. 0-3 is not how we saw our season starting. There is only we thing to do and that is keep plugging away, so that is the only choice right now.
Q: Does it make it tough going to London next week?
A: Like I said, it’s not what we had in mind, there is only one way to go about next week. Keep working and try to get a win
Q: Do you miss Antoine Winfield much?
A: He’s a great player, but I’m not the judge of that. I just play ball, I don’t have a say in any of that.
A: A couple of guys got dinged up, but a bunch of other guys stepped up and played well. Like I said, that last play, I didn’t make a play, so put that one on me.
Vikings Middle Linebacker
Q: It’s the second week in a row the defense has the game in its hands at the end, but the offense also put it in your hands a lot.
A: We had a chance to go out there and win, it doesn’t matter what happened on the other side of the ball. What they did or did not do, what they were able to accomplish or not. Once the punt happens and we take the field on defense it’s on us to make sure we get our job done and take care of our responsibilities in order for us to be able to win. You guys can talk about the offense and what they did, but on the defensive side we’re going to look at being able to finish the games out and being able to come out with a win at the end.
Q: It seemed like the defense was fighting injuries constantly throughout the whole game.
A: It’s part of the league, it’s a part of the business and in this league it has to be the next guy up and when he comes up he needs to be ready. You never know when your number’s going to be called, when it’s going to be your turn, so you just need to make sure you prepared day- in and day- out so you’re ready when you are up you can go out and perform.
Q: You had 2 sacks and 1 interception, did you feel like you had to put everyone on your back and kind of lead that way today to set the tone?
A: I never really look at it like that, the coaches gave me some opportunities to go out there and make some plays. When you’re put into those situations you need to go out there and make them. It’s not really on me to put the team on my back or put the defense on my back, I just try and lead the best way I know how. As far as being the middle linebacker goes I just try and make the plays that go my way.
Q: The craziness with the fake punt and the fake kick.
A: The pulled out all of the stops, kudos to them and their coaching staff for having the guts and the moxie to go out there and call those plays, those aren’t easy situations. That fake punt that they ran, they ran it in their negative territory, in their own backyard basically so we come up with a stop there and our offense ends up with great field position, but they were able to go out there and make plays. Like I said, their coaches called it, and they had a hideout player on us with that field goal. Kudos to those guys to find ways to come up with points and create points when they were there.
Vikings Safety Jamarca Sanford
Q: You’ve done some special teams work in the past, what do you think has happened in the past couple weeks with some of the break downs?
A: Nothing really, the other team is part of the NFL too, so they get paid to make plays too. We just make plays at times but times we don’t execute when the time is right so all we can really do is keep fighting. We opened up at home today and are now 0-3, and we are the only ones, the ones in the locker room, that can make a difference so we just have to keep working together and go back to the drawing board tomorrow and be ready to take off to London and be ready to take on Pittsburgh.
Q: On defense what do you think has happened in the past couple weeks with drives that other teams have made on you?
A: We have got to step up and make plays as a defense, especially on the last series of a game, defense is what needs to go out there and make plays. The last couple of weeks we have come up short and we just need to continue to keep working and not complain because it won’t make a difference. We just need to keep working and stay together.
Q: On that field goal that they faked, you were the one that kind of spotted it.
A: Yeah that was a bit of a communication problem and they did a good job on their behalf on getting up to the line and not giving us time, and we weren’t able to get our personnel right. It was a good play by them and have to give them credit. It was a no huddle play and got back to the line of scrimmage real quick and we didn’t get a chance to change our personnel.
Minnesota Vikings Defensive End
Q: You are in a bit of a hole in terms of this season, is there any way to fix this?
A: Yeah, we just have to win next week. All we can do is concentrate on the next game, and that is the Pittsburgh Steelers in London and we have to win it.
Q: The feeling is pretty low here right now, can you explain it?
A: It is frustrating, I do not think any team thinks that they will come into the season and be 0-3. I especially did not think it but yet here we sit scratching our heads at why we are 0-3. Bottom line is we have to figure it out and win next week.
Q: What makes that two-minute drill defense successful?
A: Stop them; it is as simple as that. When you get a team in a two-minute offense and they are behind, you have to find a way to stop them. Whether it is rush and get to the quarterback, whether it is the defensive backs covering, or whether it is the linebackers coming up and making tackles, you have to find a way to get it done and we are not doing it.
Q: Jared Allen talked about the two-minute drill defense, was that kind of the back-breaker?
A: Yeah it was what propelled them to win the game; they put up more points than we did on the last drive. I know these answers are kind of redundant, but I do not know what to tell you. We just have to figure it out and win next week.
Minnesota Vikings Defensive Back
Q: Every team preaches next man up, but how hard was it for you to come in and be effective in today’s game?
A: Our coaching staff does a great job and gets everyone ready that is on the roster. Unfortunately Chris Cook went down and I came in and tried my best to help the team.
Q: You had the big play on third down and you went back to catch a punt; then they really took you by surprise. Those were killers?
A: Yeah, that was a good call. It was a big play in the game, and we just have to be ready for it.
Q: I guess they surprised you, looking back they were going for broke right from the beginning?
A: They had a bunch of trick plays up their sleeve, and they got us on a few of them. We will be ready for them next game.
Q: No player chomps at their own individual achievements after a loss, but in the condition you were in, you have to be happy with what you did?
A: I gave up a few plays, but I have to go back and watch film and learn from that.
Q: Guys were hurt in the secondary and that never helps, and at some point it has an effect?
A: Unfortunately Chris Cook went down today, and he is a great player, but like you said next man up. That is why we prepare and that is why we practice.
Q: That drive at the end of the game, that really turned things, one stop there and you could have won the game?
A: Yeah it is disappointing, and we have to do a better job, but we will be alright.
Q: You guys go to London, and just try to turn things around immediately and just forget about this?
A: Yeah we are a team, and we will never give up. We will be ready for next week.
Minnesota Vikings Defensive Tackle
Q: What does it mean to lose 3 games to start the season?
A: It’s tough. Today we had a game that we hoped we would win, and we let it get away in two minutes again. We were in a good position to win it and we just have to hold up our end during the end of the game.
Q: Is it about mental breakdowns? What do you see?
A: I don’t know. We will have to look at the tape. They did some good things that countered what we were doing, and they made some plays. They got the ball where they had to, and they made some throws. So, we have to give them credit.
Q: What’s been frustrating?
A: Not finishing. We need to finish. We need to finish the game. We cannot just play for a half, two quarters or three quarters. We have to play the whole game and finish.
Q: As far as momentum, it looked like you had shut them down until that last drive. Does it make it worse that you lost control then?
A: Yes, It’s a little tougher to swallow when you get down to the last three minutes again. Like last week, we let it slip away again. We have to try to eliminate that. We talked a lot about situational football this last week, and we just didn’t get it done. We need to play harder. We need to try to be more sound and smart.
Q: What did you think with the defense going into the line drive?
A: We thought we were in good position. We kept getting in long situations. With the last drive, they got the ball out pretty well. Like I said, they countered what we were doing and made plays.