Following today's 38-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the message in the Vikings locker room was simple – this kind of performance isn't acceptable. From Head Coach Mike Zimmer on down, Minnesota relayed the message that this wasn't the expected effort from the entire team and a short week is a good opportunity to bounce back.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
It wasn't very good on any phase of our football team. Seattle did a good job, I give them credit for the way they played, beat us in every phase.
Q: How much of an impact was it to lose Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr so early in the game?
A: It didn't help, other guys have got to play.
Q: Did Anthony Barr just re-aggravate what he was dealing with?
A: He probably aggravated it, I don't know.
Q: Are you surprised you weren't able to do more against Seattle's defense?
A: Well, we kind of got away from who we are a little bit once the score got to 14-0. Then threw an interception, it was a poor throw by Teddy [Bridgewater]. Then it was 21-0 at halftime. We still couldn't get anything going offensively. We didn't block good, we didn't throw the ball good today.
Q: Are you concerned about Teddy Bridgewater?
A: No, I don't think so. No.
Q: When you're missing three defenders, is it natural that a team might be demoralized?
A: I don't think they think about that, I hope they don't.
Q: Did Russell Wilson show you what you expected with his ability to move in the pocket?
A: Probably better. He moved around good in the pocket, he's hard to get down. We hurt ourselves with some penalties defensively as well. They did a good job on the nakeds and the boots.
Q: What's your view on the Brian Robison penalty?
A: I don't know.
Q: Are you concerned about your run defense?
A: I'm concerned about a lot of things right now.
Q: Why do you think they were able to have success running the ball?
A: Honestly, I think that it was the other things that hurt us, it wasn't so much the running game, I mean the quarterback running hurt. The boots the nakeds, things like that, those hurt us way more than the running game. The 2nd-and-9's hurt us today because they got it to 3rd-and-1 then they got a first down, that's what hurt us today.
Q: What did you see in some of the broken contains on Russell Wilson?
A: Some of it we just followed down too far in the run. Some of it he did a good job off of it. It's hard for me to think of all of them today.* *
Q: What's your biggest concern right now?
A: Offense, defense, special teams, because none of it was good.
Q: With a short week, how much extra urgency is there to put this game behind you?
A: We can't let today's loss become two. We can only lose one today, we lost one, so let's go on.
Q: Did you see any signs during the week that you might have an uncharacteristic performance?
Q: Would you elaborate?
Q: Any positives at all?
A: It's over.
Q: Is there a sense of how far this team needs to go to reach the championship level after losses to Green Bay and Seattle?
A: Yeah, we're not quite as good as what we think we are. Especially if we don't play the way we're capable of playing we're definitely not as good as what we think we are.
Q: Was it tough to hear opposing team's fans chant in your stadium in the closing minutes?
A: Our fans chanted in Atlanta. It's tough seeing the score. Watching the game, that was tough.
Q: Three national telecasts, three losses is there anything to that?
A: No, I don't think so.
Q: Did you give any thought to taking Teddy Bridgewater out the last couple of series?
Q: How did Seattle's defense compare to others you've faced this year?
A: They're pretty good. They were good today.* *
Q: Thoughts on Cordarrelle Patterson's touchdown?
A: I don't have any thoughts on it.
Q: Is the offense built to come back from decent - sized deficits?
A: Not if we don't protect it isn't.* *
Q: What was your thought process on your final offensive drive of the first half, it looked as though you weren't trying to push it down the field?
A: We were trying, we had two timeouts, we tried. It was 3rd-and-20 or something. At that point we had gotten penalties I think didn't we?
Q: It looked like there weren't any receivers open down field on that?
A: Yeah, that's part of it, some of the coverages that they play.
Q: Is the bigger concern pass protection or the way that Teddy Bridgewater is throwing and finding people downfield?
A: Well, the protection doesn't help. I think he can do a better job throwing the ball, too.
Q: Adrian Peterson only had eight carries, do you wish you would have stuck with that longer?
A: Yeah, probably.
Q: When you say "we're not as good as we think we are," did you see anything during the week where maybe guys are feeling too good about themselves?
Q: Is that a type of problem you can address on a short week?
A: Well, usually when there's an issue I address it when I see it.
Q: Do you have to expedite your Arizona preparations, do you start that tonight?
A: Yes. We've started already, but we're going back to the office to work.
Q: What was the explanation that you received on the Brian Robison roughing the passer?
A: The explanation I got was that they warned one of our players on a previous play and when the guy was down, he was down, you should let him go.
Q: Is it tough for Brian Robison in that situation when Russell Wilson tried to run?
A: Terry McAulay is a good official. I told him that after I talked to him.
Playing on Thursday night gives this game a short shelf life and that's good news for Adrian Peterson, who says the Vikings can quickly get back on track.
Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson
Q: Is it tough for you guys when you're such a big part of the offense to stage a rally when it needs to happen?
A: No, but it happens. You don't want to go in down 21 at halftime, but we should be able to bite down and come back in some type of way. We just weren't able to do it.
Q: Do you chalk this up as just a bad Sunday?
A: I felt like we were out of sync. Definitely give credit to Seattle; they did a good job of coming in and forcing us to do things differently. They were just the better team. They were more aggressive, more physical, and they outcoached us as well.
Q: Obviously the run game was not in the plan, but is that frustrating for you when you have five touches to run the ball in the first half and eight overall? Even though it's not the game plan, it must be your nature to want to just take the ball and break one anyway.
A: Yeah, of course. I felt like, as one of the leaders on the team, and seeing how the running game has been all season, you definitely want to be able to go out and establish the run and then let things feed off of that. I finished with eight carries, and it's tough. I feel like we need to sit back and evaluate some things again and get back to where we need to be.
Q: Outcoached how?
A: In so many different areas. And outplayed in so many different areas for us players as well.
Q: Is eight carries too few for you in your mind?
A: What do you think? It is what it is, I'm not going to dwell on it because we have a long season ahead of us. So we'll come back, get our minds right. Like I said it's a short week; we have Arizona to think about. They are just as equal of an opponent as Seattle.
Q: They seemed to win the line of scrimmage?
A: Yeah, they did a good job of creating some pressure. I feel like we kind of played into their hands, and once we got down it was tough for us to rebound and get into doing what we do, how we play here in Minnesota.
Q: That makes it tough on you when you don't get the holes.
A: Of the carries I had, there is two I would like back that I could have possibly did a little more on as well. I look at that as a missed opportunity, and those are on me. That could have changed the outcome of the game as well.
Brian Robison notched his 8th career multi-sack game of his career, but it wasn't enough as Russell Wilson eluded the Vikings defense. Missing four defensive starters for most of the game wasn't an excuse for Robison.
Vikings Defensive End Brian Robison
Q: Was Russell Wilson more impressive then you thought in today's game?
A: Nothing that we haven't seen. He just made plays today. Bottom line is their whole team made plays today and we didn't.
Q: Was the tackling maybe the most surprising part of todays game?
A: Yeah, we missed a lot of tackles. Against a good team like that, you can't do that. Yards after contact is a big thing in this league. So when you get guys around you have to gang tackle or whatever way to get him down.
Q: On your penalty today, what did you see? You had a conversation with the referee. What did they tell you about it?
A: They just told me that they felt like he was down. They said I lifted him up. I don't know. It is what it is.
Q: What makes Russell Wilson so good? You're almost on top of him and then he just slips right past you.
A: That's just the type of player he is. He is quick. You have to be so in tune to which way he wants to escape. He makes moves and just goes with it. A lot of times it is hard to contain a guy like that. Hats off to him. He made a bunch of great plays today.
Q: With Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith getting hurt again in today's game, what kind of challenge is it for you guys with it being a short week coming up?
A: Next man up. Let's go.
Q: How much of a difference did those injuries make today?
A: I mean the score was what, 38-7? We got our teeth kicked in no matter what, so it doesn't matter.
Veteran leader Chad Greenway wasn't pleased with the performance, as he feels it's not indicative of what this Vikings team is.
Vikings Linebacker Chad Greenway
Q: With all of today's injuries, what are your thoughts on playing on Thursday right away this coming week?
A: It is what it is. There are injuries across the league. Every team goes through injuries.
Q: What in your mind happens to this team when playing in big games because you guys have had some clunkers this season in those games? Is this a young team still learning?
A: Obviously we had some bad losses this season. Games we shouldn't have but we have completely laid an egg. Obviously we have to put it on ourselves. It's something we are doing. Preparation or focus during the game. I think as leaders we went through this week where we did some things that is not normally us. We have to make sure that doesn't happen week after week. It's hard to grind through a full season and play perfect all the way through. Obviously we haven't done that. This week was brutal. Obviously we don't want to put that product on the field of who we are. This was a game that we really needed to win. We can't have these games that are must - wins and lay eggs. We can't dwell on this. We just have to move past it. Again, quick turnaround this week, which everybody gets a taste of. It's part of the NFL so we're no different than anybody else.
The Vikings mantra after the four losses this season is that these games can't compound one another. After the game, it's time to move on and focus on the next one. QB Teddy Bridgewater reiterated the message following the loss.
*Vikings Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater *
Tough loss today. There's not much positive you can take away from this game, but we just have to bounce back. We have a short week to prepare for Arizona. We were in this situation two weeks ago to the loss to Green Bay, and I think we responded well against Atlanta, so we just have to bounce back, learn from today and not let today happen twice.
Q: What has been the key for you bouncing back from the three previous losses as the quarterback?
A: Just having a short-term memory. We know that each week you get a new opportunity to go out there and prove yourself, and that's what this league is about. It's a week-to-week league and we understand that. We have a great coaching staff who will definitely get us prepared each week after whether it's a win or a loss.
Q: Coach Zimmer was unhappy about almost everything about the game. Would that pretty much summarize his message to you guys after the game?
A: Definitely. Like I said, there's not much positive you can take away from this game. We have a short week and we just have to prepare for Arizona.
Q: What was the problem offensively?
A: We just couldn't get anything going. Hats off to Seattle, two-time defending NFC Champions. Those guys played some great football today. They did some things on defense that just stopped what we were doing. Sometimes we stopped ourselves today too.
Q: Did giving Adrian Peterson only eight carries throw everything out of sorts on the offense?
A: I wouldn't say that. We try to be a balanced offense, but each week the game turns out differently. We knew Seattle was going to prepare to defend the run, so they did a good job of that. We just have to be able to make adjustments and continue to play on the move.
Q: How hard is it to dig out of an early hole when you're primarily rushing offense?
A: We just have to understand the situation and at that time, we just had that mindset that it was one play at a time. You can't win the game in one play when you're down like that, so we just have to take it one play at a time. But Seattle did a good job with just holding their lead and not let us get anything going.
Q: How much of it was protection issues and how much was you just throwing the ball better?
A: We just have to continue to work in that area. That's something that we've been focusing on to definitely get a fix.
Q: How do you guys recover and move past this loss on a short week?
A: We have to have a short-term memory. We have a short week ahead of us and we have to just take that approach and we have to play with a chip on our shoulders. We can't be content with where we are right now. We have to learn from today and put it in the past.
Q: Is there anything to not playing well in games that are covered nation-wide?
A: No, we just didn't play well today and got stopped.
Q: Coach Zimmer said your team is "not as good as you think you are," what do you think when you hear a quote like that?
A: I agree with Coach. We aren't as good as we think we are. We have a group of guys who continue to work hard and they're eager to be great. That's the thing I love about this team. Pretty sure the guys will be at the facility later today and early tomorrow and just try to make corrections and adjustments to play for Arizona.
Q: When you look at the film this season, have you seen open receivers down the field that you feel like you should be getting the ball to?
A: Our system that we're running here, it allows us to make big plays. But teams know that this is a big play offense, so they try to take away those deep threats down the field and make us complete the ball underneath the coverage and things like that.
Q: What happened on the interception?
A: The ball just got away from me. [Stefon] Diggs did a great job on the route, offensive line did a great job on the protection. The ball was a little high and it was out of reach for Diggs.
Q: Is that something that bothers you for a while or do you try to move past it quickly?
A: We have no choice but to move past it quickly. We have a game here in four days and we can't let this loss linger into the next week, so we want to put this game in the past and shift our focus to Arizona. Like I said, we have a short week ahead of us and we're getting ready to face a pretty good Arizona team also. We just have to make adjustments, get guys healthy and come to play Thursday.
Q: How did Seattle's defense compare to other teams you've faced this season?
A: They're definitely a great group and as a unit that's been competing together for some time now. I think they had eight starters back from last year's team that ended up losing the Super Bowl, but they're a group that has a ton of chemistry and it showed today.
Q: When that ball sails on you, is that a technique thing or did you not have room to step up?
A: It just sailed. Not technique or it wasn't that I didn't have space to step up. Ball just got away from me. It happens. You try to avoid it, you try to cut down on it, but Diggs tried go up and make the play, but it was too high.
Q: What was the general message from Coach Zimmer to the players after the game?
A: We just can't let this loss linger to the next week. We have to come back and be focused this week, we have to get that stinger back and play with that chip on our shoulders.
Vikings Wide Receiver Jarius Wright
Q: What did it feel like out there today?
A: Honestly it just felt like we were kind of dead. I'm not familiar with the team that we were today. You can't take anything away from the Seahawks, they're a great team and a great defense and a great offense. So they did their thing today, and we didn't play like the Vikings.
Q: Is that game plan or emotional?
A: You just never know. We just weren't the guys that we could be, and our offense weren't the guys we can be. We just have to come back, regroup, and start over again.
Q: You haven't let losing streaks go on very long. This team has been pretty resilient, and it's shown this season.
A: Well you know I don't want to say it like this, but sometimes we need a loss to get us back on track, not that we had a big head or anything like that. But if you ask me, we were kind of embarrassed today, and you never want to show that on film or on a Sunday.
Vikings Guard Brandon Fusco
Q: What was the message from Coach Zimmer in the locker room?
A: We have to have a quick turnaround. We can't let this linger. We can't have this turn into two, three, four losses. We're in a good position still right now. We just have to have a quick turnaround and get this thing going again.
Q: Was Coach Zimmer pretty calm with his postgame message?
A: Yeah, he's always pretty calm. He is an aggressive style coach where he sometimes likes to yell. But really he is pretty calm and just tells how it is. We didn't do things today like we usually do.
Q: Was there point in the game where you guys thought it was unraveling for you guys?
A: Yeah, we just couldn't get the running game going and it made us one dimensional. It's hard for the coordinator to call plays when the offense is one dimensional.