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Locker Room Reaction After Sunday's Win

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

It was a really, really good win today. I'm really proud of how the team responded. I told somebody after last week's lost it felt like we were 0-10, not 0-1. We had to really dig down deep and fight and practice and study. We had a lot of grouchy players last week, grouchy coaches and I thought we answered the bell today. I was proud of the fans. They showed up and they were loud; we're going to need them again next week. This was an awful good victory under the circumstances. I know you never think there's must-wins at the beginning of the year like this but to have a division team at home and after a loss last week, it was very, very important for this football team to go out and play like they did.

Q: You said you didn't recognize that team last Monday night. You saw a lot more today, does that make what happened the other night even more baffling when you look at the big picture of where this team is today?

A: It was very uncharacteristic last week. I don't know, I'm still wondering why we played like we did. Coach [Bill] Parcells called me last week and said, 'Hey Mike, it's human nature. Everybody's been talking about how good you are and how bad they were and all that kind of stuff.' You know, we can't take the cheese this week either because people will be saying nice things about us this week. We have to make sure that we continue to work the way we work, study the way we study, go out and practice. I told the team last night, I said, I've been around a lot of different teams and I've never been around a team that practices and works like this team. This team works like a champion football team. But we have to go out on Sundays and we have to do it. We have to win on Sundays in order to do those things. I'm awful proud of them today.

Q: The run defense especially seemed to be night and day from six days ago.

A: It was, night and day, yes. It was more like we expect. It was different schemes and different plays they ran, but we were in the right place, we were physical, we swarmed the ball. I think at the end of the game we ran out of some gas rushing the quarterback and really, the play that Harrison Smith made on the two point play, that was a huge play because basically at that point the game is over with. I was proud of the offensive line, how they came out, they were physical, Adrian [Peterson] ran the ball well today. He's got to hold on to the ball better but he ran with a vengeance today.

Q: Captain Munnerlyn said that when he came in on Wednesday he expected you to rip the team and said you actually just hardly showed them any tape at all and wanted to move on. Why did you decide to take that approach?

A: Sometimes I don't know why I do things. Everybody was mad. I had told them, I mean I didn't sugarcoat anything. I was up front and honest with them but I'm smart enough to understand that was one game and we didn't play like Vikings play. We did have a short week and I knew if it lingered on, that going 0-2 to start the season and losing a division game at home would not be a good thing.

Q: How do you feel Teddy Bridgewater bounced back after the uncharacteristic game on Monday? Also maybe comment on some of his key runs.

A: The one he scored on was a terrific run. We didn't block the defensive end; we missed him so he had to juke about three people to get there. The kid is such a competitor and a great winner. I don't think he was as accurate as he could have been today. He threw the ball high a few times but you know I see him every day in practice and he might miss three throws a day. We'll continue to work with that but I love everything about him, everything about this kid. He's a winner.

Q: How did it feel to see Adrian Peterson have the day he had after everything as strange as it's gone the last 12 months?

A: It's good for Adrian but it's good for us as well and it's good for the fans. They're used to seeing this big 28 come in there and barrel them down. There was the one 3rd-and-1 that he ran over somebody to convert on that. We did that early in the game, we converted 3rd downs which helped us score points. You go back and think about things and I do that in retrospect, he played in one game for me last year and missed a lot of time. We go in, we got the offense that we're doing and we move on to where we are and then we get him back and don't play him in the preseason and try to figure out, okay, how does this team win? How do we win with this team with this particular group of guys? I think we're starting to get a good feel for everything that we can do collectively as a group offensively.

Q: Have you started to see the impact he has even without the ball whether it was the reverse to Jarius Wright or the touchdown run in play-action; it looks like the O-line has really try to buy in on him?

A: Well I'm sure they're going to especially when he started the way he started. Hey, how about the play that Teddy [Bridgewater] made flipping him the ball when he was getting sacked to flip it to Adrian [Peterson]. That was an unbelievable play.

Q: Didn't Adrian Peterson miss the block on that play?

A: Ah, but he made the run.

Q: What do you attribute Adrian Peterson being able to get more rushing yards this week than in Week 1?

A: Well, he had a lot more carries but we blocked a lot better. We stuck with it. I don't know, I'm already past Week 1, we're on Week 3 now.

Q: What do you attribute the fumbles to?

A: I don't know, we'll have to look at it. He told me he needs to settle down a little bit. He's trying to probably do too much and probably get out a little high with it. It will be a point of emphasis this week. They were grabbing at it a lot at the end especially but we can't turn the ball over.

Q: All the touches for him today, how much of that was just a function of feeling he needed to be more involved and how much was dictated by the game?

A: We had some more runs that we started the game with. As you get going into the game, you get lathered up, you get going a little bit. We blocked well, I thought we blocked the front good and he made some good cuts. There's a couple times he bounced outside and there's a couple times he probably shouldn't have bounced, the one time he tried. He's a great weapon to have. 

Q: How important was it for you guys to come out with the first two possessions where offensively you guys marched down and scored and the defense to give them basically nothing?

A: Without talking about last week again, I think that the way that we came out committed in this football game to try to attack them on both sides of the ball was important. The way that we started, we talked last night about starting fast. We converted a couple 3rd downs to get that done. 

Q: After you got the 1st down after challenging the spot you pumped your fist, was that out of excitement?

A: Well, we had, there was what, a couple of them that went against us and I'm like, 'come on just give me one'. At that stage of the game, 1st downs were extremely important and to miss it by that much, we could eat some more time off the clock, we could continue to drive, all that stuff. That's kind of why I challenged the second one, too. He just told me, they just could not have the correct angle to look at it. I thought Teddy [Bridgewater] did a great job on that one with the composure that he had. We're going to try to be aggressive and if I get some wrong, I get some wrong.

Q: What do you do to clean up some of the penalties and what do you say to Anthony Barr?

A: That was not a very smart penalty by any stretch of imagination. I expect our guys to play with more poise than that. I'll have to look at the hands to the face and the one that Harrison [Smith] intercepted, I was told that Xavier [Rhodes] had a pretty clean play on the play. I was watching the replay. There was a couple times where the quarterback was scrambling around and we weren't rushing very good at the end of the ball game. I think guys get sloppy when they get tired so I will make sure to communicate my feelings on that.

Q: How do you think Xavier Rhodes did against Calvin Johnson?

A: I know he had 10 catches for 83 yards, I think he did a good job against him. He had one or two penalties and when you have got two big, physical guys going against each other they get wrapped up sometimes but I think Xavier [Rhodes] did a good job. Calvin Johnson is a tremendous, tremendous football player and there were times that we were helping Xavier. The one 3rd down, he shouldn't have let him catch that one, on the slant that he hit. I think overall throughout the course of the ball game I thought he did a really good job. He limited his catches to short ones and we hit the quarterback early too which I think was a factor.

Q: Could he do anything more on that touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson?

A: We could have kept the quarterback in the pocket, probably could have helped a little bit. I do think that, I mean it was a great throw and catch and he [Xavier Rhodes] said that he saw his feet touch, his toes touch. It was, I don't know, I'm watching our right defensive end getting held at that point [wink].

Vikings Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater

It was a great job by the guys today responding to Coach Zimmer's message and we wanted to put San Fran in the past and come out here and start fast today and we did that today. Guys did a great job, defense did a great job of giving us a short field and we got out to an early lead.

Q: You said last week that you were too excited. What was the feeling like at the start of this game?

A: It was a great feeling and we were prepared coming into this game. We spent a lot of time just getting ready for this game. We knew how important this game was, our first divisional game against a playoff team from last year and it was against a team that knows us well. We spent a lot of time just preparing for those guys and today we just did a great job of coming out and executing.

Q: Did you feel calmer today?

A: Definitely, and like I said, we spent a lot of time just focusing on Detroit and focusing on ourselves, getting back to what we do well and it showed today.

Q: Did you take Coach Zimmer's criticism from the last game to heart or did it fire you up in any way?

A: Definitely, and I love it that Coach Zimmer is tough on me. He's tough on all of the guys and it just shows that he cares about us. He wants us to give our all and play at our best every week. Last week we didn't execute the way we were supposed to, but this week we did a great job of putting last week in the past and coming out and starting fast today.

 Q: Do you feel like you're playing more instinctual and confident as evidenced by that flip to Adrian Peterson for a big gain?

A: Yeah, definitely, and I'm just trying to play the game as it comes, not trying to overthink things and just react. It's been allowing me to just play faster and today was an occasion where Adrian just appeared in my vision and instead of taking a sack, I figured I could flip the ball to Adrian and he would make a play and he ended up making a big run for us.

 Q: How do you think your offensive line matched up against the Detroit defensive line?

A: I think we did a great job today and we [the quarterbacks] spent a lot of time with the offensive line this week breaking down different looks for Detroit and we were all sound and prepared for this game.

Q: Did you feel more in sync in your second week with Adrian Peterson behind you?

A: The season is still early and each week – this is a week to week league – you're either getting better or getting worse. We want to be on the upside. We want to try and get better each and every week and I think we did a good job of that today. We contained and developed chemistry as an offensive unit. We're still battling some injuries and things like that and it's only our second game of having Adrian back. We're excited. He was able to eclipse 100 yards today and we ran the ball well today, protected well. We just had a good performance offensively.   Q: What was different today with your offensive line compared to last week?

A: The confidence. I continue to say we spent a lot of time just focusing on Detroit. We knew that they're a different team this year and different faces, but the scheme is still the same. We knew last year we struggled a little with protections and things like that. We just wanted to come into this game and just focus on it, converting third downs, protecting the quarterback and executing on offense. We did a good job of that today.

Q: Did it ever cross your mind on how much Detroit was able to get after you last year?

A: Not at all. I try to put games like those in the past and today my hat goes off to the guys that performed well today. Defense gave us a short field all day, special teams did a great job, so it was a good team win.

Q: Do you think you're an underrated runner?

A: I think so. I think I still have some running ability but I try not to be in those positons, but it's good to have it in your bag or two, and I just had to use my legs a little today and maybe throughout the course of the year, I'll have to run a little more, but hopefully just hand the ball to 28 and he makes plays for us.

Q: Would you walk us through your touchdown run?

A: Touchdown? I scored a touchdown today? I don't remember my touchdown today. No, but it was just one of those plays, there was an open lane for me to just run, and I took advantage of it. It was like a walk in the park.

Q: Does that throw defenses off when you are able to use your legs?

A: I think it changes the rush lanes for defenses. Instead of just being able to rush me, or rush the passer whenever taking a straight drop, if I'm rolling out in the pocket or throwing on the run, different things change their rushing lanes. It kind of throws defenses off a little. Also, the offensive line does a great job of picking up different stunts and things like that. 

Q: Did you see the defense focusing in on Adrian Peterson to help make the Jarius Wright end-around so successful?

A: Adrian [Peterson] started hot, so if I'm a defender, I'm trying to stop Adrian also. Once I handed the ball off to Adrian, the defense pursued to Adrian and he flicked the ball to Jarius [Wright], and Jarius just made a play.

Q: What can scoring a touchdown for Zach Line do for his confidence?

A: It's very good to see Zach [Line] get in the end zone. I was more excited for him than he was, probably. I wish I could have ran and spiked the ball for him. His excitement showed once he spiked the ball, the ball went about 20 feet in the air. I'm happy for Zach, he's a guy that works extremely hard and he's always positive. Whether he's taking two reps in practice or 20 reps in practice, he's a guy who's always positive and those type of guys we love to have on this tea

Q: Was your head-first dive a result of learning from last week where you slid and almost didn't earn the first down?

A: Oh yeah, definitely. I just told myself I won't make the same mistake twice. Last week it could have cost us. This week I knew that hey, the first down is right there, just dive head first. Don't give them anything to judge, that's what I tried to do today. 

Q: It looked like you took a pretty solid shot on that play. Does declaring yourself as a runner by diving head first ever cross your mind?

A: No, not at all. Try to bounce right back up. I tell myself no hit is too hard for me. Our strength and conditioning staff does a great job of preparing me, preparing my body to have to take a hit if I have to. It was one of those situations where it was a must have and I tried to get the first down.

Q: What do you attribute a better third down conversion rate to?

A: I think our coaching staff did a great job of preparing us this week for third downs. Coach Zimmer's message was to convert third downs. I think we were 50% today on 3rd downs and chances are when you're converting third downs, you're keeping drives alive, you're going to get points. That was an emphasis. Offensively, I think we did a great job of understanding the game plan on 3rd downs, understanding what Detroit was going to do on 3rd downs and executing.

Q: Would you take us through your third down conversion to Mike Wallace, it looked like a pretty tight window?

A: It was one of those throws where you just have to put everything you have behind it. Mike did a great job of getting separation from the defender and made a tough catch.

Q: Do you ever think about your goal of hitting 70% completion percentage when you look back at the numbers?

A: Not at all. I'm out there just playing the game. If I'm hitting every pass throughout the course of the game, then chances are we are executing well on offense. It's all about just having overall success as a team, as a unit, and today I think we did that.

Vikings Safety Harrison Smith

Q: Why do you think you guys were rolling all day long?

A: On defense we stopped the run. That can be attributed to our front, linebackers and coaches. Then the offense did a great job of managing the clock by running the ball. They controlled the game the entire time.

Q: How does it feel to get the bad taste out of your mouth from last week?

A: Today was a big game and we knew we didn't play well last week coming into it. We still have a long way to go though. There were still mistakes on the field and a lot of things we can get better at.

Q: How do you guys as a team take back the mantra after coming back and watching the tape on Wednesday?

A: Zimm's a guy who never sugarcoats anything. He is always 100 percent truthful, that's what he has given us. He expects us to correct things when they are wrong and when we are doing things right, he expects us to keep doing it right. We just follow what he is coaching us to do and all the coaches are coaching us to do. It's not magic; we just have a lot of trust in the coaches and have a lot of trust in each other.* *

Q: What was the mood after Wednesday's in last weeks game

A: Guys were just coming to play today. Nobody on this team gets down; everybody is ready to get back on the field. We just want play football, good football.

Q: Do you guys think you did a good job getting more people to the football?

A: Our D linemen are playing on their side of the ball a lot of the times. We made a lot of good plays, just off the top of my head, B-rod made a lot of good plays, Trav, huge pick, backers were playing good balls, it was just good plays.

Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson

It was definitely some good work. I came out and I don't know what it was, my body was a little shot in the first half. But I came back out the second half rejuvenated and had a little more energy. It was a good game for us. I felt like offensively we took it one play at a time, and tried to execute to the best of our abilities, and we played four quarters.

Q: They were determined to pound you up the middle and pound you between the tackles for a long time to start the game. Is that what you wanted to see?

A: Well yeah, I don't know if that was actually the game plan, but it was working. And I guess if it was working, don't stop. 

Q: What's it feel like just to get a game like that under your belt? You had a really good game aside from a couple fumbles, but are you excited you met your numbers?

A: It felt good. I'm going to be able to learn a lot. The offensive line did a great job blocking up front. I put the ball on the ground a couple times, just poor ball security. When I look back and I see the replay, I was trying too hard to get in the end zone, and those can cost you. They can come back to bite us. So that's something I'm going to focus on, and after assessing the film I'll be able to look at a lot of different runs that I didn't feel good about during the game and see how I can correct them and improve.

Q: Did you feel like you're being more patient from week one to week two, just seeing and taking what's in front of you instead of trying to look for the biggest play at the time?

A: Yeah, and you know that comes with time. Week one, you watch film, you see that you need to be wider, you need to be more patient, and you apply it to the next week. That's what I did, and I'm going to do the same thing going into next Sunday.

Q: Can you talk about Teddy's maturity on that play where you had the missed block, and he kind of had to shovel it off to you, kind of like if he was Favre having a heads up play?

A: Man, what a heads up play. Terrible fitting for me. It looked weak and pitiful just to be honest. But a heads up play by Teddy, just making something happen. You see me at the end of the play just beating my head because I'm thinking about the block I missed, so that's how important it is to me. But he did a great job of making plays.

Q: What was the big difference between last week and this week just across the board offensively?

A: Guys came in and we took it personally. We started off fast. We had energy on both sides of the ball. Special teams made some big plays to keep the energy flowing. We came out and played with a purpose. We had a game plan, Coach Zimmer and Coach Turner, those guys put it together for us and we were able to execute it.

Q: Teddy looked different out there too today?

A: You got to go back to the offensive line. They did a great job of giving him time to go through his progressions and make plays. You know everyone learned from last week and watched themselves to see how they could improve. He came out and did an outstanding job.

Q: What were your emotions like today?

A: Definitely more calm. Just going out and taking care of business. It was all about business today. Last week, it hurt us personally. It hurt us to the core. So we knew that we had to come out in a divisional game and take care of business.

Q: The mix between the shotgun and getting the ball out of the I-formation, it seemed like a nice mix. Did you like it better this week?

A: Yeah, it definitely worked out. We made some adjustments, and it worked out good this week.

Q: It seemed like it worked better for you out of the gun. Is that because you also got some carries out of the I-formation too? It seemed like you were more in rhythm.

A: You know, I think it was the collective group. We start off out of the I, and made some big plays. Came back out of the gun and completed some passes, so you got the defense on their heels and they don't know what to expect. So I think that helps us out a lot. And of course applying what we learned from last week, how we can improve as an offense.

Q: Did you know that Jarius's reverse was going to work? You were hitting those runs left-right, left-right, and then you guys popped the reverse on them. Did you have a feeling that that was going to go?

A: Yeah, I thought it was perfect timing when I heard the play call. Jarius kind of gave me the look, because in practice I've kind of kept it a couple of times.  But I made sure I would toss it to him, I was kind of winded too. But I knew it was going to be a big play. I was hoping he took it to the end zone, but we still got a big play.

Q: What did you make of the ovation you got, a standing ovation from the fans here? You haven't been here(TCF Bank) for a long time.  How did that feel to you after what you've been through?

A: It felt good! You can see as I ran through the tunnel, the energy that you see as I was running, that came from the fans. Just that warm welcome, it felt good to be back home.

Q: Did that mean a lot to you?

A: Yes. It did, without a doubt.

Vikings Wide Receiver Mike Wallace

We had that running game on today. Anytime you can run the football it makes everything else smooth. We have one of the best in the game. Probably one of the best running back's in the game so you have to feed it and that makes everything else easy.

 Q: Was there a bit of a sense of that's more like it compared to Monday night?

A: Yeah, most definitely. We work too hard for it putting on a show like we did last week. It was much more like what we expected from ourselves and our coaches expected from us. Every single day we put in the work. It's good to draw hands and see some of that come back.

Q: How was it out here playing out here for the first time in a real game?

A: It was nice the crowd was very into it. It was great; I finally got to see AD be AD, and we got the win, first and foremost.

Q: Do you think that's a big part of it, the fact that Adrian got turned loose a little bit?

A: I don't know how many yards he had but he killed it though. He had a great game. Not one man could bring him down. He was out there breaking five, six tackles so he did a great job. Most importantly got the win.

Vikings Wide Receiver Jarius Wright

Q: How nice was it to see Adrian play like that today?

A: We are in here every day, so we see Adrian and know what type of game he can have each week. We know what he is capable of and he is getting better every single day.

Q: What does it say about Teddy's maturity on his shovel pass to Adrian?

A: You don't see too many guys who are Teddy's age in the league that can make a play like that. Instead of taking a sack or throwing it away, Teddy kept his feet moving and eyes down the field. It was just a little flip pass and Adrian was able to take it down the field for a big gain. That just shows you the resilience and composure that Teddy has.

Q: Did you know the backside was going to be open on that reverse because they were honoring Adrian?

A: We ran some plays like that last year with Asiata or McKinnon and we still got a good play out of it. Now with Adrian back, you know they are going to have to respect him no matter who they are or where they are on the field. When everyone went with him, it opened up the entire left side for me.

Defensive End Justin Trattou

Q: How big was your interception at that point in the game?

A: It was huge. After last week I just wanted to do everything I could to help this team win and I think I did that today.

Q: How was the defense different today?

A: I think we just went back to the fundamentals of the techniques that we were taught. We were not over complicating things. We played our technique and came out on top. 

Q: So nothing fancy, just better execution?

A: Even more simple than ever. I think that was the key for us today.

Vikings Defensive End Everson Griffen

Q: The defensive backs kept saying how well the defensive line played today. You guys feel like you played well?

A: Yeah we played well. There is a lot of improvement we can work on. The sky is the limit for us. We want to be great each and every day. (Matthew) Stafford was getting the ball out quick as he didn't want to get hit, but you know the times we were able to get back there we deflected them. They are a good team but today we were better. We just have to keep it going and win more games, that's what we are here for.

Q: Did you think Matthew Stafford was going to be their leading rusher today? The Lions best rusher had just nine yards today.

A: They had 200 plus last week and threw 30+ as well. It shows that when you are locked and loaded and you got everything going, it's hard to beat. We are going to be hard to beat. We just have to keep it going and be us. That's the number one thing. Be the Vikings and not nobody else.

Q: Do you think your words earlier this week helped the team, that's what Captain Munnerlyn seemed to think?

A: Yeah I got faith in my guys. I knew they were going to come out ready. They prepared well. They are competing each and every weekend. We won the game. A great team win and good job to (Justin) Trattou, he got an interception in the game. Good job on all the turnovers. Good job to the whole team. We played like a team and that's how you win games, by playing like a team. 

Q: You think you fired up your teammates like you said you were going to?

A: Yeah. Of course I did. But you know me firing them up does nothing. They come fired up. They come ready to play because what type of team we are. We compete day in and day out and we won the game.

Vikings Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn

Q: How hungry were you guys to bounce back?

A: We were very hungry. We know we did not play well on Monday night and since this was a division game for us, it was huge. I felt like we came out and really played well as a team.

Q: Could you tell that everyone was more focused this week?

A: Yeah, absolutely. I saw Everson (Griffin) locked and loaded and I knew we were going to be ready. On Wednesday, as soon as he (Everson Griffin) talked to you (the media), he told you guys that we were going to win. We are so confident in our team and our ability and it showed. We came out today, competed and got the win.

Q: How about the run defense today?

A: It was superb. Our guys were physical, got off their blocks and they flat out made plays.

Vikings Defensive End Brian Robison Q: What did you think of Justin Trattou's interception?

A: Huge. We root for Justin every day. He is a guy that goes out and puts his hard hat on every day. He just goes to work and gives 100% every play. It's always nice to see that hard work pay off.

Q: How much does it help you that the Lions did not have a whole lot sustained drives today. You guys were getting off the field and getting some rest.

A: Yeah, it's huge. Anytime your defense can get to the sidelines and rest a little bit and have your offense sustain some drive and really drive the ball down the field, it helps us stay fresh for the fourth quarter. There were a few drives where they drove down the field a little bit more than where they should have gotten. We had a couple of penalties but at the end of the day we played good enough to get the win.

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