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Locker Room Reaction After The Lions Loss

Vikings Wide Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson

Q: You need to get hot to help this offense.

A: I know I need to. It's a struggle out here right now. I'm just trying to get open for Teddy (Bridgewater) to see me, but you this week I got to do a better job. 

Q: The defense played awfully good, but the offense is struggling.

A: Yeah, the offense has been struggling the last couple weeks. When you're not putting up points on the board it's kind of frustrating, but at the end of the day you got to learn to let it go. You can't worry about that. It's over now we can't do nothing about it we just got to get ready for next week.

Q: What do you have to do differently to get open, what did they do to shut you down?

A: It's not them shutting me down. Some DB's are smarter than the other ones. Some of them run the routes with you, some do more studying than others. It's just our receivers and whole offense, we just got to do better as a team.

Q: Were you 100 percent?

A: I don't feel like I'm 100 percent. I should be next week, just keep getting treatment, Just keep grinding in treatment and do what it takes.

Q: Do you think that they will need to keep you off the field at all?

A: I'm going to be out there. Thursday I sat out the whole second half, but I don't feel that I need to let that happen again. 

Q: Did you feel like Bridgewater just didn't have time to do anything today?

A: It all starts with the whole offense, we got to get open more for Teddy, so he can see us and get the ball to us.

Q: How are you rotating with Charles Johnson?

A: Charles is a great guy and the coaches see that with his work ethic out there on the field. They want him to get some plays. Try to keep me fresh and keep me going, so they did a heck of a job trying to do that.  

Q: How about them using you more?A: I don't know, I'm not the offensive coordinator, I'm not a head coach, that's not my job. Whatever happens, I'm out there just giving it my all.

Q:What do you find to be the hardest thing about being a professional receiver?

A: It's not hard at all, this is something that we get paid for, day-in, day-out. It's our job to get open, no matter what the DB's are doing, they get paid just like us.

Q: What did you do differently from last week to get open?

A: They are the number one defense. They did a heck of a job game planning, giving pressure and doing whatever they can. It's our job man, no matter if they are the number one defense, or the 32nd defense. We got to do a better job, us receivers. It all starts on the offense, and we did a poor job. Next week we are going to try to make up for it.

Q: What did you think about their defense today?

A: Their defense is good. Like I said they are the number one defense, hats off to those guys for getting seven sacks and three turnovers, whatever they did. There is no knock on them, everything is on us. 

Q: Is this tougher than last week because this game really was right there?

A: Every loss is tough if it's a loss. It don't matter if it's by three points. A loss is a loss, one point, three points, you can't get it back, you know it's over you just got to let it go.

Q: You did get one carry in the first half, what did you see that was there that wasn't there later in the 1st game?

A: I felt like it was there, they did a heck of a job blocking. I think one man just got loose, and he got me by my shoestrings. I told Matt (Asiata), the offensive line, they do a heck of a job blocking for Teddy, me, everybody. It will come open one day. You just can't rush it. I was back there today, so hopefully we can get more next week.

Vikings Safety Harrison Smith

Q: Were you happy you shut their quarterback down?

A: Yeah, Matt Stafford is a very good player. He did ok, we just didn't do enough.* *

Q: What is the future of this team?

A: There are a lot of tough guys in here and a lot of guys that love the game. We just have to get back at it and correct what we did wrong in every phase through defense, offense, and special teams and just try to improve next week.

Q: How healthy were you today?

A: I was good. I am here to play football so that is what I am trying to do. 

Q: Do you think you guys held them pretty good only giving up 17 points?

A: That might look good some weeks but when it's not enough to win it's not good enough.

Q: Is this as brutal of a loss you've been a part of with this team?

A: No, it has not.

Q: Is this game tough to swallow especially after the 10 days you guys had to prepare for this?

A: Any loss is tough to swallow but we can't sulk on it. We have to learn from it and move forward to next week.

Q: Does this start remind you of last year?

A: I'm just focused on this year. I think coach will be all over us and he'll have us ready to go. Everyone just has to do their job and don't get down on themselves. That's the last thing that you want to do. Show up, go to work, and get ready to play next week.

Q: On the 14- play drive where you guys had some penalties, was fatigue playing a factor with the defense being on the field so much?

A: I can't speak for everybody but I didn't feel fatigued. I just think that we need to do a better job by not getting those penalties, which I had one myself. I could have played it better, but it wasn't because I was tired.

Vikings Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn

Q: Do you know what is hurting you guys on the opening drives?

A: It's just executing. We're not executing the first drive. We're just going out there and playing football instead of doing our job. Everyone has to do their job on the first drive and settle down and get ready. I think that sometimes we might be too antsy and too excited instead of just locking in and focusing. It's something we have to work on and settle down and play football.

Q: You win the toss and the Coach Zimmer says I want the defense out there first, what does that say to you?

A: That he's just trying to set the tone. He's a defensive guy trying to set the tone and he believes in us. He wanted us to go out there and set the tone for the game and we didn't. They ended up scoring on the first drive by getting a touchdown, so we just have to eliminate that and go out here and execute.

Q: On a day like this is there anything good you take away from it?

A: I don't think so because it's a loss. At the end of the day it's a loss. You can say, "The defense played well. The offense didn't play that well," but at the end of the day we are a team and that's a loss. We have to find ways to win. The offense put up three points and if the Lions don't score we win the game, so we have to find ways to win. Defensively we could have forced some turnovers but we didn't. We just have to step up and make plays.

Q: Do you think it was a missed opportunity since you had them at the lowest they could potentially be this season with missing some key players?

A: I really believe in the next man up. Even in our locker room with Adrian (Peterson), it's always the next man up. The guys in the NFL get paid pretty good money to do this job. Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush are great players, don't get me wrong but at the end of the day their guys stepped up and made plays when they needed to. Their backups came in and made plays.

Q: As you look at the standings with back to back losses to divisional teams, do you see it as a big hill to climb?

A: Yeah, it definitely is going to be a tougher hill but this team can do it. This team has been through so much and we can build through this loss and come back on Monday and watch film to get better.

Vikings Linebacker Jasper Brinkley

*Q: Talk about the energy from the fans today. *

A: Whether the fans are in it or not, we still as a defense have to go out there and try to get the offense the ball as many times as possible. That's our job. Do the dirty work, get the offense involved so they can score. I feel like we started off slow.

Q: You had good pressure on the quarterback all day.

A: Right, we did, we definitely did. I don't know the third down statistics, but that's something that we work on, week in and week out. 

Q: How do you feel about this team going forward given the injuries and situations that you have had so far.

A: It's still the same feeling. We trust and believe in each other, and want to continue to keep pushing each other, and coach is going to coach us harder. We have to be professionals and get the job done at the end of the day.

Vikings Running Back Jerrick McKinnon

Any time you got a defense like that, it's going to be hard. You just got to find a way to move the ball, make plays for Teddy (Bridgewater), make him comfortable, and keep it moving from there.

Q: Did you know that you would be starting today?

A: Yeah, I found out earlier in the week. I tried to prepare myself the best for it, really dial in, focus in on my assignments, and make sure that I was on top of everything. 

Q: How much did it hurt you guys to have that many turnovers?

A: Any time you turn the ball over, it's going to really affect you as an offense. I think our defense played really well today. Our offense, we just weren't able to complement them. We couldn't get anything going, it was just hard for us today. They did play really good though.

Q: Was it more about you guys not getting into a rhythm, or them disrupting that rhythm?

A: We came out strong, moving the ball. That turnover set us back against them there. They just had the momentum the whole game. We kept fighting, trying to get something working but it just wasn't happening.

Q: What were your thoughts about starting and when did you know you were going to get the start?

A: My thoughts were just to prepare like I do every week. Whether I start or don't start I always prepare myself to be ready, as if I was a starter. I found out earlier in the week. So I was just trying to be on top of my P's and Q's and really dial in this week during practice even more. Make sure I am prepared, and I think that I was really prepared coming into the game.

Q: Coach Mike Zimmer, his disappointment obviously was shared with you guys?

A: Yeah definitely disappointing. You know you work hard every day at practice to get better and get ready for the next game. As an offense, we take it personally. We have to come back and work even harder, get ready for next week, and get something going. The defense played really well today, and we weren't able to help them out on offense. We've just got to find a way to win the game and make some of those plays on offense.

Vikings Center John Sullivan

Q: A lot of sacks today, what did you see down there?

A: Obviously we didn't do a good enough job in protection and we did not execute well enough as an offense and we'll look at tape and see what happened.

Q: Did they throw any different looks at you?

A: No, we've been prepared every single team we've played this entire season. We just need to go out and play better football.

Q: How bad do you feel for Teddy when he's getting hit as much as he was?

A: I'm more thinking about the game; I'll start empathizing with other players once it is over. But obviously, keeping the quarterback safe is the job of an offensive lineman, but you don't allow your mind to go there during the game.

Q: You had a long week to prepare, did you feel pretty good going into this one?

A: Yeah, we were confident. We just did not play well enough.

Q: What do you guys have to do to get back on track after these last couple of weeks?

A: Go out, execute like we did against Atlanta. The nice part is that we have a lot of opportunities. We get to come back a week from today and we have the chance to put all of this behind us. In the meantime, we'll have to go back and review this tape, see what went wrong and then fix it this week in practice. There's not a whole lot to be said. No excuses for today. We didn't play well enough, and we need to work harder.

Vikings Wide Receiver Jarius Wright

It was real frustrating for us. Knowing what kind of offense we do have and knowing how good we can be for us to not get going today like we know we can, that's the most frustrating thing.

Q: After that Packers game and 10 days off the field, you guys were probably itching to get some points on the board.

A: We were. It didn't work out the way we planned. Detroit has a great defense, I think that they are the number one defensive team in the NFL and it showed today.

Q: What did break down?

A: Turnovers don't help. Offensively, it was a team loss, mostly offensively. We have to go back and get back into practice and work hard.

Q: Did you see some frustration from Teddy at all?

A: Those are the worst interceptions - the ones that go off the defenses hands, and makes it easier to catch for the defensive guys. Those are the worst interceptions. You can't blame those on anybody, it's just a good play by the defensive guy.

Q: Was it just a lot of little things, like those tips and sacks?

A: Like you said, we were a couple of plays from being exactly where we wanted to be.

Q: How many times did it happen where you were running routes, and you turned around to look back and the pocket is already collapsing?

A: I'm not really sure how many times it happened today. It's always next play, next play, next play with me. You try to keep it on the next play and not on what happened the play before.

Q: How are you trying to move forward optimistically?

A: You watch the film and you take the things you did real well and you try to use them the next game. You take the things you did bad and you throw them out of the window and try to get better at practice.

Vikings Guard Vladimir Ducasse

Q: Do you think there was a common theme in the breakdowns, pass protecting?

A: I don't know; I can't talk any more about that.

Q: Do you think it is more communication issues or was it all physical?

A: We are always talking to each other. It's one in the same. We need to go watch films. The communication was there. We need to go watch films and figure out what happened so we can fix it.* *

Q: Do you think some problems carried over from last week?

A: Like I said, we'll watch the film and we'll figure it out.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

Well obviously that's a disappointing performance. I expected better today and I thought we practiced well all week. Disappointed we didn't protect the quarterback, we didn't block guys and until we figure out that this game is about blocking and tackling, catching the ball, and doing your job then we're going to have more results like this but we're going to keep grinding them and pounding. Anyway it's disappointing.

Q: What do you attribute that protection to?

A: They kicked their butt. Give credit to Detroit, they did a good job.

Q: Was it physical stuff or communication stuff up front?

A: I think we physically got beat.

Q: Is it almost unfair to put a rookie quarterback back there when he doesn't have a lot of time?

A: No, because he could have got the ball out some other times too. This isn't a one- guy- messed -up deal. It was a bunch of them today.

Q: Is it a concern when it getting beat from a physical standpoint instead of a game plan or schematics?

A: No, concern is concern either way.

Q: Does missing all of the players that you're missing catch up when you're without some of the players you don't have?

A: We just coach the guys that are here and we don't worry about that.

Q: What do you see for the season in front of you?

A: Well if we don't take care of things better than we did today it doesn't matter what we have ahead of us. I'm extremely disappointed in this loss. I can handle getting beat but I can't handle getting our butts whooped like that.

Q: What did you say to them at halftime?

A: I don't know. Whatever I did it didn't work.

Q: What can you do to reduce the number of sacks?

A: We may have to keep some more guys in to block.

Q: Are receivers getting separation?

A: No.

Q: What did you think of the defensive unit?

A: I thought they fought. The first drive was poor.

Q: Is Teddy 100 percent?

A: Yeah, he's fine.

Q: Was there any lag with your team from Green Bay?

A: No. No, I don't believe so. I thought they were ready to play. I'm still having a hard time judging these guys a little bit but their job is to judge me now.

Q: What do you mean by judging?

A: Just getting the feeling. We had a good week of practice, we practiced good. Sundays we don't play as good as we need to. That's the thing I can't figure out – why don't we play like we practice? You don't see any of this stuff going on in practice.

Q: What do you mean their job is to judge you?

A: That's their job. I'm the boss. Their job is to please me, not the other way around.

Q: Is this what life is like for a rookie quarterback having both ups and downs?

A: Yeah, he's going to have ups and downs. We've just got to make sure we keep him upright so he can continue to improve each week.

Q: What happened with Cordarrelle Patterson? Was it his hip?

A: His hip was bothering him, yes.

Q: Is Jerick your starting running back?

A: I don't know. We'll evaluate all of that. He started today.

Q: You held them to 1-of-12 on 3rd down conversions. Overall were you fairly pleased with the defense?

A: We did a better job on 3rd downs.

Q: Did you see enough of Tom Johnson? It seemed like he had a good game.

A: It's hard for me to see those inside guys.

Q: Were any of those sacks Teddy holding on to the ball too long?

A: Yeah, there were probably a few.

Q: How do you assess his game overall?

A: Not good enough. I have high expectations for him as well and I think he can do better.* *

Q: What did he see on the first interception? Did he not see the safety?

A: We expected the safety to go with the inside guy and he did not. He kind of fell off.

Q: Is that something Teddy should have seen?

A: Things happen. He probably thought he had it and the safety kind of leaned and he came back. 

Q: Have you had this issue before where guys don't play like they practice?

A: I'm sure I have. It's been 21 years but this team, like I said, they are hard to figure out. They care, they study. I haven't changed my opinion about how they go about their business. Maybe I'm missing something but I've been around an awful lot of teams and you know it bothers me a little bit when some things happen bad and we don't fight our way out of the hole. That's what the good teams do and we haven't done that yet.  Things are going good, we're pretty good. Things are going bad, we don't continue to push out, fight out. Defensively I thought we hung in there today. Special teams I thought was poor. We've got guys on the sideline talking to the officials, I tell them don't talk to the officials, let me do it. We're undisciplined, trust me we're going to get disciplined.

Q: Is that something a player can step up and lead on or is that up to you as a coach?

A: Well, you can have guys do it. I don't know that anybody has, but I'm going to keep continuing to preach the message. It's not going to change.

Q: What is your assessment of Captain Munnerlyn's play so far?

A: I don't know. He made a couple of plays today. I think he can play better. He made a couple of plays, I know he got beat on one seven route.

Q: Are you talking about massive changes?

A: I'm just saying some of the things we're doing leads to undisciplined play and we've got to change a lot of these things. I had to fine a lot more guys this week for whatever reason – missing a meeting, late to a meeting, whatever – so I'm not going to let them slide. I'm going to keep pounding my head and like I told them the fines are going to start going to the max now. I'm tired of it.

Q: Are teams going to start disregarding the ground game?

A: Well if you don't run the ball better, yeah. We didn't run the ball effectively, we didn't throw the ball effectively, we didn't catch the ball effectively, we didn't get open with receivers today, we missed some throws. There were guys that were open that we missed so it's a combination of things.

Q: Is it fair to say that there were other causes for some of the lapses in Teddy's play?

A: Well he didn't have much time, guys dropped some balls. We can nitpick at this stuff but there were a lot of people that could have done better, including him.

Q: You were fining guys for missing meetings?

A: I fine guys any time they are late, late to a meeting, late for treatment, late for whatever, I fine them.

Q: Has that an overriding issue for you?

A: It hasn't been, no. They are going to get fined.

Q: Did you have any this week?

A: We had a couple.

Q: Does it irk you even more that players would be late after last week's game at Green Bay?

A: Players have been late throughout the entire time of things. Our guys have been pretty disciplined. I just said this week there were a couple more than normal. There were some weeks where we didn't have any. They've got to get back and get to treatment and be on time for treatment. It's not about coming in at 8:10 when they're supposed to be there at 8:00.

Q: Did it affect your defensive gameplan at all with the Lions not having Calvin Johnson or Reggie Bush?

A: Well it changed some of the things we did, yes.

Q: What was that?

A: Well I'm not going to reveal my game plan. You can probably figure out that we probably would have paid a little more attention to Calvin Johnson and Bush.

Q: Do you consider any personnel changes this week?

A: We're going to look at everything again. Yeah, we're going to look at everything.

Vikings Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater

Hats off to Detroit. Great defense, they're number one in the league for a reason. They showed that today but we have to do a lot better, especially at home, a divisional game, we always want to come out on top. Good thing we get to move forward and focus on Buffalo.

Q: With all the time you had to prepare for this game and then deliver that type of performance, how disappointing was it?

A: It was very disappointing because we expect a lot of ourselves and I expect a lot of myself also. It's just one of those days where we needed to show up and we didn't. Just have to shift our focus to Buffalo.

Q: Take us through the interceptions and what you attribute them to.

A: The first interception was just a poor decision. I have to see the safety when he's back there. The other two you can't control. You can't control a batted ball, you can't control a ball that goes off a guy's hand. Everything happens so fast so for me, I could be better whether it's ball placement or the trajectory of my passing. This is a situation that I can learn from.

Q: Was it hard to get comfortable with all the pressure on you?

A: It wasn't. I knew that we had plays called, designed, for me to get the ball out of my hand quick, plays designed for me to get the ball out to the guys on the edge who make plays for us. I have to do a better job of just being quicker in my decision making and getting the ball out of my hands faster.

Q: Did you feel 100% coming into today?

A: I felt pretty good, I felt pretty good going into the game. I felt pretty good being out there today. I can't put a percentage on it but I felt healthy. Like I said, I'll just get better from today.

Q: On the first interception, what you did you expect the safety to do and what did he do that deviated from that?

A: I just expected the guy to run with the inside guy, I believe it was Greg [Jennings]. He made a great play. Detroit, like I said, they have a great defense and those guys were prepared to play us. In that situation I just have to see the safety. I was expecting him to run with Greg, but he ran to the outside receiver and he made a play.* *

Q: Did he try to sell that he was going to the inside or is that just what the pre-snap made it look like he was going to do?

A: He tried to sell it but he's a savvy guy and he was able to make a great play.

Q: Overall, how did you feel after the game after getting hit a lot?

A: I still feel good. I came back into the locker room, my body was still feeling good. I don't feel good about the loss. You never feel good about a loss, especially at home when it's a division game but as far as my body I feel pretty good.

Q: You're seeing some pretty tight windows to throw into in that secondary, didn't seem like there was a whole lot of separation between receivers and DBs today?

A: Yeah there were some pretty tight windows. Detroit is a sound defense but it's the NFL, no guy is going to be wide open on this level of football. So for me, like I said, I just have to be faster, whether it's in my decision making, movements in the pocket and just ball placement. 

Q: Is it harder to get into a rhythm when there are some drops?

A: It's somewhat hard but you have to have a short-term memory. For me, it's all about forgetting the previous play and moving on to the next play.

Q: Does having a game like this give you a realization that you're still a rookie and there's going to be ups and downs in the NFL?

A: Yes and that's what I expect. You're not just going to go out there and be perfect. Like I said, there are some throws that you're not going to be able to control. There's things that are going to happen throughout the game that you're not going to be able to control but at the same time for me, it was an eye - opener because after my performance against Atlanta. I believe my expectation level is high, I have a high expectation level for myself also. After today, I'm just going to get back, watch the tape, prepare for Buffalo.

Q: Would you say it's an eye - opener of the difficulty of winning in this league?

A: Yes, just the difficulty of winning in this league because each week is going to be different, each opponent is different. One week you can go out and have over 500 yards of total offense and the next week you can have 200 yards total offense. That just says a lot about this league, how difficult it is each week. Nothing is given, you have to earn it all. Today we just didn't do that.

Q: What do you think is the biggest difference from when you were standing up here two weeks ago to that performance? What's happened to the offense the last couple weeks?

A: Like I said, for me, I could be much quicker in my decision making and being patient, not trying to get it all on one play. Just overall, we have to be better. Not just on the football field but better outside the football field, whether it's around the facility and everything else. We're just going to come back this week and learn from today and move forward.

Q: Did you feel the pressure this week? Did you feel confident?

A: Yes there was no pressure at all. We put together a game plan I was comfortable with, we had a solid week of practice. We were ready to play this game but the outcome just didn't show it.

Q: Can you remember a game where you didn't lead the team to a touchdown?

A: I actually can't. That just shows how tough this league is. Each week is going to be different task, it's going to be a different level of difficulty. Today we struggled a little but it's always good that you can go back tomorrow and learn from today's mistakes.

Q: Coach Zimmer said this team needs to be more disciplined. Do you think this team needs to be more disciplined?

A: You heard it from Coach Zimmer himself. We're just going to look continue to look forward to our leaders. We have a great group of guys in this locker room, a great group of guys on this team who lead this team. The level of expectation is pretty high for the guys in the locker room so we're going to continue to hold ourselves accountable and just be professionals.

Q: What do you need to do to get Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson and the rest of the wide receivers more involved?

A: I think I could probably eliminate receivers quicker in my progression. Those guys are doing a great job on the outside just fighting, competing against the coverages we're facing. For me, I could either eliminate receivers faster to get to those guys so that they're move involved in the offense.

Q: What was your impression of Jerick McKinnon in the run game?

A: Jerick has been working hard ever since he arrived. He's been able to learn from Matt [Asiata] and Matt has been doing a great job of teaching him. Jerick has been a huge contributor to our success. Like I said, the expectation level is pretty high right now and we're just going to expect a lot from each other.

Q: What do you believe can be done to reduce the number of interceptions and quarterback sacks?

A: It can be ball placement and my decision making and just the trajectory whenever I'm throwing the ball.

Q: With all the sacks today, what can you say about the O-line because you know that the next game they aren't going to let that happen to you?

A: Those guys do a great job up front trying to protect the quarterback. I think that I can help those guys out by getting rid of the ball faster, not holding onto the ball and just playing faster.

Q: Did the wind have an effect on the passing game?

A: I don't believe so. We had a solid game plan that we put together and I was expected to execute what was called.

Q: Do you think you're getting the same level of professionalism and attention to detail from all your teammates?

A: I think so. We have a great group of guys in this locker room, a great group of guys on this team. These guys are pros, they're pros for a reason. We all play together and respect each other.

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