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Locker Room Reaction After Sunday's Win

*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer  *

It was a really, really good team victory today. I think the fans helped us out a lot. They were loud. It helped with their communication in the no-huddle offense. The other thing that was kind of nice to see today, was we had a lot of alumni, a lot them in those gold jackets in the Hall of Fame. So we love having those guys here and hope they continue to stick around. I thought it was a big series when we came out at the end of halftime, we gave up that bad touchdown before the half. And then we went out defensively I think it was a three-and-out and then we went down and scored offensively to put it back to a 10-point game. San Diego is a good football team, it was hard fighting. I don't think the score was really indicative of the game until the end, but I'm proud of our guys the way they worked and the way they competed. We've got some fighters on this football. Questions.

Q: Is containing the run the hallmark of setting up what you need to do for your defense?

A: It is important to be able to do that. I know that our guys are starting to take a lot of pride. They came out in the three tight end set, which we have seen before and it was good that we shut it down early and it's about a mindset and about physicality and about toughness and all the things that I really try to preach every single day. But when you can stop the run then eventually you can lay your ears back.

Q: How much concern is there about Xavier Rhodes' injury?

A: I don't know, I have not been able to talk to him. I know he's going through the protocol and we'll see. I don't know.

Q: Adrian Peterson has insisted he is all the way back. What strides has he made even in the past week?

A: On Tuesday he came in and he was doing a bunch of sprints, trying to get his wind back, he was trying to get everything back into the football shape and then today it was rough sledding a little bit at the beginning. They were blitzing the heck out of us, trying to stop the run. But eventually if you're doing that the whole time, usually things catch up to you and he made a great run, a couple great runs. We did a nice job blocking downfield for him as well.

Q: Is this type of game fun for you as a defensive play-caller?

A: It's never really fun for me to be honest with you. We have quite a few blitzes left in the package if we need them. I have felt like today was important that we went after this quarterback. I did not want him to sit in there and throw the football. So we decided that we were either going to get the ball out of his hands or we were going to hit him and I think we hit him a few times today.

Q: How do you think your guys did on the back end?

A: Pretty good, really. They hit that crossing route on us a couple times – and I won't say who I talked to because I tend to get in trouble – but they come in there and kind of get in our way on some of these crossing routes, so we have to do a better job of knowing where we're – man, I'm going to get in trouble again, next question.


Q: What was your view on Chad Greenway's interception? Did you get blocked off?

A: Somebody ran into me and knocked me down. We ended up getting three guys, the official, me and another coach. So we have to do better job there. But somebody ran into me, I'm not taking credit for that. I would if it was me. But Chad, I was concerned about the guy, the receiver was coming up behind him, I think it might have been Malcom Floyd who was trying to run up and he had the ball a little bit loose. I didn't want him to fumble it and next thing I know I was on the ground. I actually didn't see the touchdown.

Q: That's two weeks in a row now you've beaten up the opposing team's quarterback pretty good. Is that the mentality you have been preaching to your team?

A: We want to hit the quarterback as many times as we can, that's for sure. We want to do it legally; we want to do it in the right target area. I think we got one (penalty) today, but the last two weeks we've hit these guys a few times, but we've hit him clean and I think the hit that [Anthony] Barr put on him there in the third quarter, I think that had a toll on him. With these great quarterbacks, with the more they're under duress, the more difficult it is for him.

Q: What does it mean for you to see Chad Greenway make a big play as he gets accustomed to his new role?

A: It's great. He's a class, class guy. He's a captain, leader, and I'm talking to him all the time. I told him he would play more this week because I knew the no-huddle would tend to get us a lot more guys in there, so we're still looking at things. It doesn't mean that he's not going to play more than what he has. It's just how the way we've been going. We're going to continue to try. We have good depth here; especially at the linebacker spot, so we're going to continue to try to get those guys rolled in there and playing so we're fresh and we have a chance to continue to swarm to the football and hit the quarterback.

Q: How do you think Trae Waynes played?

A: I thought he did good. He made some good plays. They went at him early, the first play of the half and threw a stop route on him. He made the tackle. He did some good things in tackling today. I can remember one play he could've been better on, but other than that, I think it was a good first deal. I saw him in the locker room at halftime, I said, "Hey, 26, it's your time now. Let's go." So we have confidence in him. I've been saying he's been getting better each week. I told somebody this week, I think Trae has a chance to play some. I didn't think it would be under these circumstances, but I thought he'd be getting closer to playing. 

Q: So you thought you might have mixed him in before?

A: Well, with the no-huddle and the things like that and guys going and the throwing that they do, I figured there might be an opportunity for him to get some playing time, yeah.

Q: How does Norv Turner feel going out and beating the Chargers in the first game against his former team?

A: Well, Norv always has a good game plan. They were trying to stymie us with a lot of the things that they were doing. I think Norv is out of that revenge thing or anything like that. I know he has a lot of friends with them. He always wants to win just like we all do. He didn't say anything after the game. It was just like another day.

Q: Adrian Peterson seemed to get most of his work under center. Did the plan change at all with him?

A: We went in saying we were going to try to run the ball a bit, yeah. It wasn't really saying gun or no gun or anything like that. We had a lot of plays on that sheet. Sometimes they just get called that way.

Q: Can you explain the decision to replace Andrew Sendejo with Robert Blanton in the fourth quarter?

A: He got hurt.

Q: Are there any updates on Charles Johnson?

A: He's got a rib injury. We'll see how he goes. He felt like he could go back in then came out and he just couldn't twist good enough.

Q: What was Andrew Sendejo's injury?

A: Leg.

Q: Do you think Blair Walsh made strides today?

A: Yeah, everyone was saying he's 50 percent in the preseason. I know the last two games he's like 90 percent now, right? I tend to think that Blair is who he is. I think what we saw continually throughout last year and what I see in practice every single day, I think that's the Blair Walsh that I know. We expect him to make those kicks.

Q: You said that you wanted to blitz Philip Rivers, but how did jumping out to a two-score lead affect your play-calls on defense?

A: I don't know that we were able to any more than that. I know that I tried to hit him a couple times on first and second down and then got him in the third down. I was trying to mix up the blitz, trying to mix up some coverage on them. Actually, they hit us on that dang screen, it was a blitz. I got greedy there. And they hit us on the 3rd and 18 that we misplayed, it was terrible. We kind of lost our composure. That's my fault.

Q: Was it the plan to have Adam Thielen and Cordarrelle Patterson play that much or was that just a byproduct of Charles Johnson getting injured?

A: It was that and then our guys got a little bit winded at times, so Adam went in there and did   a good job, he caught a nice slant. Cordarrelle got a chance to get in there and do something. He was part of the plan this week as well.

Q: Was there any chance you would be without Adrian Peterson today considering his wife went into labor?

A: Was there any concern? No, not really. He called me earlier this morning and then I basically said, "Are you not going to be at the game?" And he said, "I can't say that." And I said, "I need to know by a certain time." Then he texted me and said I'll be there. 

Q: How early did he call you?

A: It was like 8:30 or something, I don't remember exactly.

Q: When did he text you back?

A: I don't know, 9:45ish.

Q: Do you expect to use Cordarrelle Patterson more at receiver?

A: Well, he continues to do a good job working and I think we'll continue to get him in the mix, yeah.

Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson

Q: Those touchdowns, the formations on your touchdowns look like they were boot force line-ups. How do you describe the formation in what you saw?

A: That's what we want to present. Have an initiative eye on the line and close that wheel. The guys did a great job upfront today. I was able just to use my instincts, and come up with two big plays. 

Q: We hear this offensive line is beat up. You don't look very beat up, injuries and everything else. Tell me about the make up of this line up?

A: These guys are just hard workers. They're determined, even though we've been short ended with some injuries. Guys have stepped in. They take it serious and they're working hard during the week to improve and it's been showing the past two weeks when it's game time.

Q: Adrian congratulations on your baby and two touchdowns, and your motivation obviously, but it feels so good to wrap it around a win as well?

A: Yeah, it started off well. My son was born early this morning, so that right there kind of put things in perspective. It was just like, "Wow, this is what life is really about." So coming in here today, having the support from my teammates and going out there having fun, there was only one way to end this today and a victory was it.

Q: What time was your son born and when did you get here kind of take us through the morning with the kid being born?

A: I don't want to get into specifics, but he was born early around the nine o'clock hour. Seven pounds, three ounces, and twenty-two inches. The funny thing he looks just like Adrian when he was born. I knew that I had to get here and get ready for the game. I was able to coordinate things and it worked out. I got in here, I was able to get dressed and warmed-up and play.

*Q: It feels like forever since you've been in the end zone, finally get back there today. *

A: It did, it felt good to finally get in the end zone and knock the rust off. It would have been nice to get a third one. I told our fullback earlier in the week, I said we get down to the first score instead of running twenty. I told the running back I'm going to hand you the ball. It happened and they called a different play. So when I came up short on the one-yard line. I was open. I was a little tired and I was looking back please call twenty rest to the fullback. It felt good again to see my fullback get in there. He works so hard and touchdown for him means so much.

Q: Wasn't only Zach, you had Ellison that was blocking the ball for you too, huh?

A: Yeah, Ellison, he's a guy that I look at, that if I had to pick a team he'd be one of the first players I'd pick because I know what I'm going to get out of him. He has a warrior mentality and he reminds me of Jimmy Kleinsasser. He's a smaller guy, but a guy that is dependable. That's on block and even if he loses on a block, it wasn't because of effort.

Q: You said the Adrian Peterson last week wasn't the one you remember. Was today's the one you remember?

A: Somewhat, I feel like it was some flairs. My legs felt lighter today and just the preparation throughout the week helped with that, but I felt good. The body felt good. My mind was in a great place, and yeah, I think I'm back.

Q: Adrian, how about Chad?

A: That was just an incredible play to have, to add on to everything that happened today with my son and to have a great game. Chad is a guy that's been here since I've been here. We've been through ups and downs together. We have this weird connection that I cant even explain. To see him perform and make a big play like that- 91 yards. To add on to how special today began, I couldn't ask for anything more.

Q: What did you do differently this week?

A: The biggest thing is, I would make sure I'm just in position to make sure my lungs are open. Last week I felt like my condition wasn't where I need it to be and I'm not saying I wasn't in shape. I'm probably in better shape that eighty percent of the guys that were out there, but I wasn't able to really run the ball and recover like I was used to. I was able to identify after the first drive what it was, took care of that and I came today and felt so much better.

Q: Sprints?

A: Yeah, I did some sprints and opened my lungs up. 

Q: What was the play called in the touchdown run?

A: It was forty doctor extra. I was able to press it and it helped a lot. The offensive line got on their guys and bounced it out. I was able to make the cornerback miss. It was so funny, because Coach Stew (George Stewart) earlier this week, I was like, "Coach, I'm not going to lie to you- when I got the pass from Teddy I was so tired." He was like, "Yeah, I know. That wasn't the Adrian Peterson I know. You would have cut back." It's so funny because as I'm running down the sideline I see the guy that I'm pursuing. I thought about that what Coach Stew said. The Adrian Peterson I know would have cut back and it's just cut back and was able to have a big pay out of it. 

Q: You ran through the middle like it was paper there too?

A: The other guys said I was in the zone trying to get to the end zone.

Vikings Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater

It was a great team win today. We talk about starting fast and being more physical than our opponents. We did a great job of doing that today, especially up front, both sides of the ball. Our offensive line did a great job of driving defenders down the field. The defensive line did a great job of applying pressure. You talk about preparing for an opponent that you don't get to face that often, I think the coaching staff did a great job of getting us prepared and getting us ready to play against San Diego.

Q: Adrian Peterson said he thinks he's all of the way back now, do you agree?

A: I definitely agree and I saw it in practice this week. He came in on Tuesday, our off day and he just ran 18 100s [yard sprints] in the indoor facility. Things like that go unnoticed, but I saw him, he was in there running those gassers and he told himself he wants to be in top shape. It showed this week in practice, he was finishing runs. If it was a 3rd-and-1 situation, he would make sure that he finished in the end zone. I told him on the sideline today, great job today, you're only going to continue to better as the season goes on. You think about it, he didn't play in the preseason so this is his 3rd game back, we're excited for him.

Q: Do you think now you have a better ability to bounce back after a bad play?

A: Definitely. You just have to keep your composure when you're out there. Our guys do a great job of complimenting each other. If I make a bad play or something, an offensive lineman or Adrian [Peterson] or one of the wide receivers, tight ends will come up to me and just tell me, 'Hey, let it go." That's that mindset that you have to have playing this position, you have to have a short mindset and be able to bounce back.

Q: Would you talk about the interception?

A: It was just a ball that sailed, it was in the air too long. Tried to give my guy a chance to make a play. Those are some of the plays that we really want to make throughout the course of the year and some plays that we won't make. We want to eliminate the mistakes though and try to get better next time.

Q: Was it by design that most of Peterson's handoffs came with you under center?

A: Who knows? Each week the game plan will change. This week we knew we could take advantage of San Diego, they're a defense that tries to finesse you. We knew that we can get in there and be physical, have three tight ends in there and out-physical those guys that we would have some success and it showed today.

Q: With Adrian Peterson back in the line-up how does that impact the passing game?

A: We're going to get a bunch of opportunities with Adrian doing what he's doing, scoring a lot. Some one-on-one matchups on the outside, it's going to allow us to have some big plays as an offense and when those opportunities present themselves we're going to have to take advantage of them.

Q: On Adrian Peterson's 43-yard touchdown when did you think he was going to score?

A: Every time I hand the ball off to him I think he can score, he has that big play ability. He showed it today.

Q: What is it like for you watching your defense beat up the opposing quarterbacks?

A: It's a great feeling. That's what we expect from those guys. Throughout training camp those guys wanted to be physical. Those guys wanted to out-smart us on the offense and our opponents, they did a good job of that today. You talk about a guy like Chad Greenway, a guy who means a lot to this organization, a lot to the community and Minnesota, for him to have that 91-yard touchdown, I'm excited for him.

Q: Other than sprints, did Peterson do anything different in preparing for this game?

A: No, each week he comes to work, he aspires to be great and that's what's going to make him eventually a Hall of Fame running back. He's eager to be great and that's what we want on this team.

Q: Have you ever been a part of a game where you complete 13 passes but the team scores 31 points?

A: I don't recall, not that I can think of right now, but a win is a win and like I said, it was a great team win today. We were able to change the field position, defense, special teams game with [Marcus] Sherels doing a great job each week with the punts. We took advantage of every situation that we had today.

Q: What have you thought about having another touchdown machine in Zach Line?

A: Tell me about it. Coach Turner made a joke earlier in the week that he had Zach [Line] on his fantasy team. It's good to see Zach in the end zone. I'll tell you one thing, he needs to work on that spike if he's going to get in the end zone quite often. Zach, he's a guy who works extremely hard, we're proud of him. He's making huge strides in this offense, he's doing a great job of leading for those backs. When he gets his opportunity to score touchdowns, he's two-for-two right now.

Q: Did you know Peterson and his wife's son was born this morning and did you have any doubt that he would play?

A: I found out the moment I arrived here to the stadium this morning. It's just a blessing, his wife was able to have a successful delivery. I'm extremely happy for him and I told him that something special is going to happen for him today. He came out and he had a great performance.

Q: Would you talk about being more balanced after the tough Monday Night loss?

A: Definitely. We just have to continue to have the same mindset. No one owes us anything, we have to continue to just work hard each week. We have to have the same mindset that we had when we lost to San Francisco each week. We know that each week it's going to be a challenge in this league and we have to continue to just work and prepare and try to get better each week.

Vikings Linebacker Chad Greenway

Q: Did you catch your breath yet?

A: Yeah, I did. It was quite the convoy, I got to watch it back already. I saw Captain [Munnerlyn] peel back behind me and get the guy behind me who we knew was going to catch me. It was pretty amazing just to see all my teammates on the sidelines. Must be doing something right, so it was pretty awesome.

Q: It was a tipped ball right?

A: Yeah, tipped ball and I mean, my grandfather, I've been here 10 years, played at Iowa for four and this is his first professional game he's ever seen me play. He was in the stands today and you just have to think my dad tipped the ball up. That's all I can put together.

Q: Your dad's dad?

A: Yes.

Q: What's his name?

A: Tom.

Q: When you came down with the ball and saw all of your blockers what were you thinking?

A: Yeah, just react. Believe it or not I did play a lot of offense in high school so I knew what to do with the football. I put a few years between my touchdowns in the NFL, eight years or something like that. When you get the ball obviously you just try to get as many yards as you can and move forward with the ball and put your offense in a better spot. Once I avoided the first tackle I just saw purple jerseys around. I couldn't find anybody that was going to tackle me so I just kept going. 

Q: How gassed were you?
A: Honestly, the way the game had gone it was a little bit like last week with the personnel so I hadn't played a lot of reps up until that point so I was getting a little play time at the end there. I was really pretty good until that last 15 yards. I don't run 91 yard sprints, much, and I'm not going to start because of this play either.  

Q: A bunch of guys that were in that convoy said they did it because it was you. Do you get a sense of respect from the guys?
A: Well I'm guessing they probably would have done it for anybody but obviously for them saying that, that means a lot. You've known me for my entire career and I try to do things the right way and this situation, obviously, has been a little different this year than it has in the past. When it's time for me to go on the field and play, that's what I'm doing. I'm trying to play my role and I think that's just the perfect indication of just preparation and preparing yourself to play all week and hoping a play is going to come your way and obviously it did. Just took advantage of it.

Q: What's the difference between this defense and the defense that played against San Francisco?
A: We like to think this is the team that we were designing in training camp and who we are trying to be. I think that San Francisco game caught us a little bit off guard of the things they were doing and the sets they were getting into. Once they got into it and had success we just couldn't seem to get it stopped. They kind of got rolling. We've already formulated about 20 excuses for that game already. The one thing about that San Francisco game, as we said after that game, was you have got to get rid of it and move on, get moved past it in order to have a successful season. You think about it, the feeling that we had after that Monday game. To come back, just the way everybody felt, kind of the biggest football hangover we've ever had. We felt terrible about what we were doing, who we were. We thought we had put this great training camp together, we worked hard. I think the one thing you can take from that game is just that feeling you had after the game. It was sort of a pretty low feeling and to have Week 1 of your season that you're so excited for was tough but I think this game and life is about resiliency and coming back and bouncing back. The way we played last week and now we jump on these guys this week and hopefully we can get something rolling. Obviously, every week is a new challenge and certainly next week won't be any easier. It certainly is a lot better feeling to get the win.

Q: How old is your grandfather and what prompted him to come here?
A: He'll be 83 coming up and I don't know, I wish he was in here you could ask him. He's just an amazing guy, obviously with my dad, the apple didn't fall far from the tree. He's getting a couple knee replacements. He's mad he can't go work on his tractors, he rebuilds these tractors. He's been a farmer his whole life; dairy farmer, ag farmer, just salt of the earth. A guy that you're proud to have as a grandpa and you're proud to wear the name on the back of the jersey that he has. For me it's about carrying that legacy forward.

Q: Does he live in the same city as your folks?
A: Yeah, he's a little closer to Mitchell, the big city. They all went to the same school.

Q: When you scored the touchdown, what's going through your mind as you were obviously very close with your dad and just having him there?
A: I didn't really put all of that together until you come off. How many game have I played, snaps I've played, and the ball seems to sometimes, you get a good pop up ball that you can catch for a pick. That was my 10th pick in 10 years so they're hard to come by in this league, especially from a linebacker spot. For it to just pop up perfect right where I was in, I don't know. Got to believe in something, I'll believe in that. 

Q: Having played with Adrian Peterson so long, was there any uncertainty about him coming back?
A: I was kind of busting on him the first couple, really through training camp, especially because he wasn't taking any contact in training camp. Somebody has to give the guy heck. He's obviously has unbelievable ability and being his teammate for all nine of his years, we have a sort of relationship that you can't buy. He's been here for nine and been teammates for nine. I just think that when he looks to me he wants an honest assessment of what he's doing and how he's doing. I try to be honest with him and I just thought he didn't look like himself yet. I thought he needed to get his legs under him. I thought this week in practice was the first time it looked like the Adrian that I remembered. I kept saying he was getting old and close to 30, or 30 by now, I can't remember. I just try to stay on him just to keep him working, keep him driving. He's a guy that's obviously going to work and he wants to get back to where he was. I think it probably took a little bit of time but a couple of the runs he made today looked pretty impressive to me and the things he was doing. I think he's starting to feel a lot more comfortable out there.

Q: How much does it mean having your family here today, your daughter up there with you?
A: This is Maddyn by the way, she's 8. Future Hawkeye soccer player, right?

Q: Having all your family here today, is this one of the things that is going to stick in your mind a long time and what does this mean to you on the greater scale?A: This is the most tickets I have ever gotten for a football game in 10 years. We had our youngest daughter turn one [year old] this week, so we had a birthday party for all three of the girls, mostly for Blakely, she turned one. For me to get out there and be able to score a touchdown in front of all of those family and friends, to me you can't write the script any better. As far as what the teammates have said, like I said earlier, I've tried to accept a new role a little bit, knowing that things happen throughout a year and there may be a time I'm out there play every snap again like I have for the previous 8 years. I know my role now is to play against certain personnel groups and come in and out in the base defense and I've tried to just make that my own and be the player I've always been in that position. Again, when I go out to play I have to be prepared to play like everybody else so I just try to do that as good as I can.

Q: Has this been the most physical unit you've been a part of?A: I think our defensive front has played, I haven't watched the tape, obviously, after this week, but I really feel like they've kind of owned the line of scrimmage the last two weeks. The old cliché about you've got to win the trenches, I really feel like we've done that up front on both sides of the ball. Speaking defensively, I really give a lot of credit to Everson [Griffen], obviously the captain of this team, he's really lead the charge. He's a vocal leader, as many of you guys know, he likes to talk. He's just changed the approach of being the leader, he's stepped up and taken huge strides in that aspect. I think a lot of times that chip he always carries on his shoulder really kind of falls on the D-line and they've been playing like that the last few weeks. It's something that, obviously, it's a long year and you can't get up too high or too low, but you definitely understand that that's the way we win around here and I think that's the way Coach Zimmer expects us to win, so we have to just continue that. 

Q: How many tickets did you have to purchase for this game?
A: I think it was 24. Hopefully they all pay me back too… I'm kidding.

Q: What was key on defense to limit San Diego to so few offensive yards?
A: Again, the second week in a row that they had some tight end injury issues, we knew that they were going to have a couple of different sets. They come out with a three tight end set, they just brought a tight end up, they signed him this week, so we didn't really know what to expect. We knew they were going to be a little bit limited as far as personnel. We were able to limit them, I don't know what they finished with for rushing yards, but for the most part it was pretty low until they got a few at the end. Just being physical up front.

Q: Would you talk about how scary Xavier Rhodes' injury was?
A: Yeah, it happened right in front of the family section, too, which is always a little scarier. I think obviously there's an inherent risk of playing this game. Seemingly, they actually made a great play and ended up scoring on the play, it seems like a play that in the trenches it happens all of the time. Just the way he gets bent back, let's just see Xavier get up and kind of be Xavier, moving around and thankfully he was able to get off the field. Obviously, we hope that he's back soon and healthy. 

Q: Did you think your touchdown was getting called back because of a penalty?
A: I think it was two years ago I had two sacks and pick all brought back from penalties, so I was looking back at the flag like, 'you can't be serious now.' I think somebody got ran over on the sidelines or hit the ref, I didn't see what happened. Luckily, the score stands. 

Vikings Linebacker Anthony Barr

Q: Can you touch on your forced fumble?

A: There was a lot of traffic in the middle. My teammates made a great push that caused him (Rivers) to move out of the pocket. That pressure allowed me to make a play and get my hand on the ball to knock it out.

Q: What was your guys' focus for handling Rivers?

A: Rivers likes to get to his spot. He is comfortable when he sits in the pocket and steps into his throws so we knew we were going to have to take that away. We knew we had to fly around and put bodies in his way. We tried to do everything to make him uncomfortable in the pocket and we were able to do that today. 

Q: Were there any differences in your mindset from last week to today's game?

A: We knew going into the game that he (Rivers) likes to throw a lot of crossing routes. Phillips is the captain of the ship for them so we knew he would guide the offense for them. He is an unbelievable quarterback so we knew we had to do anything possible to slow him down if we wanted to win the game. 

Minnesota Vikings Cornerback Trae Waynes

Q: What are some of the things you feel like you still need to get better at?

A: Everything. I am not even close to being where I need to be right now. I just need to keep working and get it done.

Q: How much fun was it to be on the field with Melvin Gordon? Did you tackle him at all?

A: No, I didn't get a chance to tackle him. I wanted to but I never had a chance to. 

Q: Did Melvin run to the other side of the field when you were in game?

A: Yeah. There was a couple times where he broke a couple of plays. I tried to hurry in there but I was never fast enough to get there.

Q: How much time do you spend talking with Melvin? Once a week?

A: We talk every day. We were laughing about it. He actually came over to my house the other night. We don't even talk about football. We're just friends. We just both happen to play football but it's not something we talk about every day.

Q: That has to be pretty neat to be on the field with a guy you grew up with.

A: Yeah, it's a great experience. Like I said before, it's something that we have dreamed about and it's finally here. 

Q: Going forward, are you hopeful now that you will get more playing time in the secondary or just special teams?

A: I am just trying to help my team win in any way possible.

Vikings Left Guard Brandon Fusco


Q: There were questions about the health of the offensive line and yourself and you come out and put 31 up. How did that feel?

A: It was a great day, another great Sunday, and a nice crowd today that showed up with some noise. It was a great team win. We all came together and all phases had a great game and it showed.

Q: Can you explain this phase of it, the offensive line, because you guys have had a lot of injuries and a lot of people moving around, and yet it doesn't seem to disturb the chemistry on the line?

A: We have great chemistry on the line. We enjoy playing with each other and are a physical group. I think we out-physicaled the Chargers today, and it showed on the field and it showed on the scoreboard. 

Q: It doesn't hurt to have Adrian Peterson on your team either?

A: No he's a fun guy to play with, and I just enjoy blocking for him. You give him the smallest creases and he makes a big play.

Q: Was there ever much of a doubt that you were going to play, or were you progressing so well over the week?

A: You know really it just shows that they're taking care of us. It was sort of just a precautionary thing. I felt good and it felt good to play today.  

Minnesota Vikings Safety Harrison Smith

Q: Did the defense really confuse Phillip Rivers today with all of the different coverages and blitz's?

A: I don't know if we confused him or not. He's a really good player. He has been doing this a really long time. Sometimes if you're covering well and blitzing well, things are going to go your way. I think we played a physical game today and started to play more like we want to. 

Q: It was a second straight week you guys were able to attack the quarterback. Is this kind of the identity you guys want defensively?

A: Yeah, that's the identity we want to have. Obviously within the rules and no cheap shots. We want to get pressure on the quarterback and stop the run. 

Q: Did you guys do anything special in the second half to shutdown Phillip Rivers?

A: I don't think we did anything special. I think it got under our skin giving up 3rd and 18. It's not what we want to do. We played hard and physical but no magic involved in today's game 

Q: What did you think of Chad Greenway's interception return?

A: Awesome. As soon as we saw Chad had the ball, I think everybody was excited to get into the end zone. Everybody was flying down the field and Chad did a great job of following his blocks and getting into the end zone.

Q: With Greenway's performance today and being a veteran on the team, what does that say for the younger group of players on the team?

A: He's a guy that we look up to, on and off the field. He teaches us a lot. Not just about the game, but as being a man, being a good guy in the community. We all love him and lot of guys try and follow his lead.

Vikings Defensive End Everson Griffin

Q: What was your guy's mindset going into this game after last week's win?

A: We can't worry about what we did before. We know we just have to focus on one game. We just have to go into each game with the plan to win it. 

Q: Can you touch on Greenway's interception?

A: I flew off the ball, ran over No. 77 (King Dunlap) and was locked in on (Philip) Rivers. After I hit him and got up, the next thing I knew he (Greenway) was running down the field. It was absolutely amazing. He has been a big playmaker for 10 years and that is just him doing what he does every day.

Q: What's been the key to your guys' pass rush these past two weeks?

A: You just have to be hungry. The hungrier you are and the harder you work, then you will be able to get after the quarterback. The more you can affect the quarterback, the better your defense is probably going to play. Our whole plan is to get after every quarterback so they're not comfortable. If you can disrupt the quarterback over and over, you are going to win more games.

Q: How much do you think your constant pressure affected Rivers today?

A: Obviously it affected him. That is why quarterbacks wear the red jerseys during practice.

Q: Do you think your blitzes today confused them?

A: Whatever we do is going to be right and that is because of coach Zimmer. Coach Zimmer calls a great game with an amazing staff that coaches us up every day. What we have been doing is right and that is because of them.

Vikings Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn

Q: The pressure you guys got on Phillip Rivers today, does that help the guys in the back end of the defense?

A: Yeah definitely. Those guys up front did a great job of getting after him. The safeties who were called to blitz, they did a great job of getting to him real fast and making the ball come out real fast. I feel like we played well in the secondary. I don't know how many yards they had, but I feel like we did a pretty good job of eliminating the big plays and competing. 

Q: Trae Waynes has to come in and the Chargers went right at him. How did he do?

A: He did great. That's what it is all about in the NFL. Somebody gets hurts and then it's next man up. You have to step in, make plays and you have to go in there and compete. I feel like he did a great job of that today 

Q: Did you say anything to Trae? Did anybody have to say anything to him?

A: I just told him to relax. We knew when we came into halftime that he was going to have to go out there and play some football. I told him to relax and get ready to play. Just do what you have been doing and that's been working hard and competing.

Q: Can you talk about the fumble recovery you had today?

A: I ran to the pile and guys were still swinging at the ball, trying to get the ball and it popped out. Next thing you know I had the ball and they gave it us. It was big call. A big swing in the game for our team and I was happy to recover it.

Q: After Week One, you guys have bounced back really nice in these past two weeks?

A: We know that wasn't us. Against the 49ers we didn't play well at all. It was a mess. We gave up a lot of yards rushing. Defensively we did not do our job. We knew it wasn't us, so we knew that wasn't a defense we wanted to be and a team that we didn't want to be. We are just trying to turn it around, going out there competing and trying to get better.

Vikings Wide Receiver Jarius Wright

Q: Impressive victory:  31-14, just taking care of business. You half to feel good about that don't you?

A: We feel real good about it. But at the same time, the game is over, so it's time to move on to the next opponent which is Denver, and you know they have a great team. But just a couple words on the win before I move on to Denver; it was a great team win, from offense to defense all the way to special teams. We played really well today, and when we play well there's no telling what we could do.

Q: It seemed like early on, maybe the first couple of series, you guys were a little bit slow and not totally in sync. But in the second quarter on that one drive you caught a ball, Mike Wallace caught a ball, things just started clicking right?

A: We did start out a little slow earlier in the game, and that's one thing that we want to work on, starting off a little faster. But I think when we decided to receive the ball I think that sets the tone within itself. I think it gets our players going when we decide to receive the ball.

Q: You shook the first week last week, but is this really a big step forward especially with what you guys were able to accomplish offensively?

A: It's definitely a step forward. Each and every week we go out there, and regardless of how you do it, 31 points are on the scoreboard. When you go out there and do that, it's just definitely another stepping stone on where we are trying to be on offense.

Q: How different is it for you guys out there with Adrian there, knowing what's going to be open for you guys and for Teddy?

A: It's a lot different having Adrian out there. He's one of the best running backs in the NFL and he'll definitely be in the Hall of Fame, so teams have to respect Adrian. They might not want to stack the box, but when you got a running back like Adrian, you have to stack the box.

Q: What did you think of Teddy's resilience? He had the interception and the near pick, but then he seemed to bounce back later in the game and had a lot of big throws.

A: I see this guy every day. I know how resilient he is, and I know what type of quarterback and what type of guy he is. So if Teddy does something that's not Teddy like, you know that he's going to get it right before the game (ends). That's just what type of guy that Teddy is, and we expect it as players, so I'm sure he expects it from himself too.

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