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Postgame Locker Room Reaction After The Bucs Win

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

It was good to get back to the University of Minnesota and get a chance to get on our own field and play again tonight. I thought we did some very, very good things early in the ballgame. We let some things get away from us there at the end. The little bit of sloppy play that was disappointing, but overall our guys compete. They go out and they play hard. We have to eliminate the mistakes. Questions?

Q: What was your reaction to the Phil Loadholt injury?

A: It's disappointing for Phil because he has worked so hard and he is such a great person, but it's a part of football. Guys get hurt and the next guy has got to come and we go.

Q: What's the official diagnosis? Is it a torn Achilles?

A: Well, we think it's a torn Achilles, but it's not 100 percent sure yet.

Q: Does he get examined now or what happens next with Loadholt?

A: He'll get an MRI in the morning, probably.

Q: How do you think T.J. Clemmings do filling in at right tackle?

A: I thought he did well. It's hard for me to see everything, but I thought we protected well tonight for the quarterbacks. Our completion percentage was off the charts. We did a lot of good things and when you can protect like that, it makes it better for the quarterback. But we did a nice job with protection.

Q: Are you going to consider any other options for the right tackle position?

A: I think T.J. Clemmings did a good job, so we will see. We draft these guys to get them in here and play.

Q: What did you see from the first half defense? It seemed they were making things difficult for Jameis Winston?

A: Yeah, for the most part we did some good things. I thought we ran around well, I thought we for the most part contested catches. We gave up that one on third and 15; it wasn't blown coverage, but there should have been two guys back there on that guy. You can't do that. We were two out of 10 on third downs offensively today. We've got to do better there, so that will be a point of emphasis this next week.

Q: Was it a close call for Anthony Barr or did you plan on not playing him all along?

A: It was my decision.

Q: What are your thoughts on how Teddy Bridgewater has played so far this preseason?

A: I think he's doing well. Like I say, I think we're doing some good things. We're moving him around in the pocket, we're protecting well and he continues to make the right reads and takes good care of the football and he's a good leader.

Q: What did Eric Kendricks show you tonight?

A: He flew around well. He had one sack, so that one wasn't too hard, no one blocked him. He's a good kid that and has some ability and flies around. He's got good speed and made a good tackle with the guy going out on the flat there.

Q: Does it seem like Eric Kendricks has settled down more lately?

A: He seemed more settled down to me during the game and on the sideline when I talked to him. He's an excitable guy and there's nothing wrong with that. You just have to understand that you've got an assignment before you go.

Q: What was your overall assessment on Trae Waynes tonight?

A: He's still continuing to learn. He's got some things to work on. He obviously got beat on the post. I didn't see the play, but he should have had help. So, he's going to have to continue to get better and keep fighting and getting practice. This is the best, best deal for young guys to get a chance to go up against receives like they've got [Buccaneers Wide Receivers Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson]. Those are two pretty good receivers, so those are the kinds of guys you need to go up against and find out what you need to do to get better.

Q: How much of an emphasis was it this week in practice to make sure Trae Waynes kept his hands off the receivers?

A: Well, everything is an emphasis. We emphasize that, we emphasize body position, we emphasize footwork, we emphasize getting out of the breaks. It's not one thing, it's everything, but it's like that for everybody. That's what they have to do.

Q: Cordarrelle Patterson made a nice move on his touchdown. What were your thoughts on his play?

A: Yeah, he did a nice job, made a nice catch. I wish he wouldn't have gotten a taunting penalty on second and four, but those are more learning experiences.

Q: Did you like the pressure you were able to put on the Buccaneers quarterbacks?

A: Yeah, I think so. It looked like we had them under duress a lot. That always helps. We obviously can get a lot better there than where we are. It was good. Everson [Griffen] looked like he beat the guy pretty clean on one.

Q: Would you consider moving Mike Harris back out to right tackle and try something else at right guard?

A: I don't know. He's done pretty good at guard, so we'll talk about all that this week and see. I thought T.J. [Clemmings] did a nice job when he was in there. He's a terrific athlete and that's where he feels more comfortable, at tackle. So, we'll just keep going there and keep going. But we've got a lot of work to do. We've got a lot of things we have to clean up from this game and this actually is a great teaching tape. I thought we did a great job on punt returns. I think the yards between the punt returns were like 130 yards different, that's big. I thought [Jeff] Locke punted the ball down inside the 15 twice, changing the field position. These are things I'm trying to teach them about football. We went for the two on the one the first time just to do it. There was no rhyme or reason.

Q: How tough was it to coach tonight?

A: Tomorrow will be tough. Tomorrow and Monday will be a lot tougher than tonight. The week's been tough.

Q: Can you talk about the things you liked from Antone Exum Jr. tonight?

A: The things I liked or would like to see?

Q: What are some of the things you liked tonight?

A: He's active, he's active. He obviously made a nice play on the interception. He got down in there one time on a run, he was in good position,he didn't finish the tackle. Those are things he's going to have to improve on. Safeties have to be able to tackle. But he's a very good athlete and we just have to get him disciplined.

Q: Are you pleased with the fast starts of the offense these past two weeks? Even getting three points out of it tonight, you moved the ball well.

A: Yeah, we moved the ball well. For the most part, we moved the ball well all night, we just didn't finish the drives. I thought we could have even done a lot better. Norv [Turner] does a great job in play calls, Teddy [Bridgewater] does a good job of taking care of the ball. I thought Shaun Hill played well tonight. Taylor [Heinicke] was okay, he did some good things, he was a little up and down, but we're completing a high percent of passes and that's good, runs and completions.

Q: Overall, do you feel better about the state of the football today than you did after the shaky practice Thursday?

A: My expectation for this team is so high that some of the sloppy play that happened tonight that bothers me and maybe was a reflection of how we practiced the other day. As I told the team afterwards, the reason why I'm going to continue to push them so hard is because my expectations are so high for this team and I'm not going to back off. I'm going to keep pushing them and keep grinding them and the coaches are going to keep grinding them. We have the chance to be a good football team but we can't do some of the things we did tonight. We can't turn the ball over three times and expect to win. I think they won the turnover battle three to one, or something like that. That doesn't happen very often. We had seven penalties. We got the ball second and four and we end up with a third and 27 because of two penalties. Then some of the errors that you make with like we should have had two guys on the posts on third and 15. Last week we gave up two third and 12 pluses, this week we gave up a third and 15. Those things get you beat if you don't grind them, so that will be an emphasis as well is third downs.

Vikings Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater

It was good to be able to get back home, get a preseason win, and give the fans something to cheer for. Winning breeds winning, that's a tradition we want to form around here and the expectation level is very high and I'm proud of the guys for coming out and competing today.

Q: What was going through your mind when you saw Phil Loadholt go down?

A: You never want to see a guy go down and my prayers are with Phil [Loadholt]. We still have to just go out there and just execute, keep going with our game plan.

Q: There is a good chance that Phil will be out for the season. What does that mean to have a key guy go down in the second preseason game?

A: Yeah, it's very tough but I have yet to actually to hear about what happened with Phil but any time you lose a guy especially a starter, like I said a week ago it's going to have to be the next man up. The offensive line has been doing a great job, coming along throughout training camp, were just excited for those guys. We're going to miss Phil but like I said we just have to rely on the next guy to step up.

Q: This team has been resilient. Last year you lost a number of people due to injuries but it was kind of the next man up. Is that at least a positive the way this team has been able to be resilient?

A: Yeah it's definitely a positive but you never want to see a guy go down especially in the preseason. We're just going to continue to play our game, like I said next man up, and last year we did face adversity. We lost a couple guys due to injuries and things like that, so we know that's going to happen throughout the course of the season, it comes with the game. We just have to prepare to play without Phil.

Q: How has throwing to Jarius Wright been this preseason?

A: Jarius, he's a guy it showed last year that he's going to make some big plays for this team. He's one of those shifty guys in the slot and he does some great things. He works hard, extremely hard. He's a guy who comes to work every day, I've never heard him say anything negative.

Q: Do you think Jarius Wright has been taking advantage of defenders focusing on Charles Johnson and Mike Wallace?

A: Last year, when [Mike] Wallace wasn't here, Jarius was still there to make plays for us so I'd say Jarius, he's just a guy who works hard and he gets it. Then you do add Mike into the mix, guys have to worry about Mike and Charles and Kyle across the middle and who's coming out of the backfield, it allows Jarius to get those one-on-one matchups whether it's on a linebacker or a nickel defender and we like those matchups.

Q: What's the chemistry like between you and Mike Wallace?

A: The chemistry is strong. Mike's a guy who works hard, he sets a good example for those guys in that wide receiver room. He's a veteran in that room. Those guys look up to Mike and he's doing a great job of just leading.

Q: You said you wanted to get off to a fast start today, were you pleased?

A: Definitely, but we want to get points every time we step on that football field. That's our mindset so to score on two out of the three drives, it's still pretty impressive. We got off to a fast start, which I said a week ago, that's the mindset. We can't get out there and feel our way around each week. We just have to go out there and let our presence be felt, set the tempo and we did a good job of doing that today.

Vikings Wide Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson

Q: What do you take away from a preseason game, obviously a nice performance for you?

A:  I felt good and I felt bad, you know I got a little taunting call and we can't be having things like that.  I'm an older guy, and you just got to learn from your mistakes.

Q: You and Shaun Hill obviously have some nice chemistry. He's a backup, but still?

A: Every quarterback, I feel you got to have chemistry.  You never know when the time will come that the quarterback will be up, so you just got to be prepared for whoever.  I've worked with Shaun, and it counts. We do a lot of talking, he tells me this, and I respond to him.

Q: What does this offense have to do to take the next step? A lot of guys are saying that they like tonight, but they're still not happy with where they are.

A: The sky is the limit for us. There's so much this offense can do, so much talent, but you got to learn from all the little mistakes. We did a lot of great things, all the quarterbacks were like eight for nine, seven for eight, but watching the film you know there is going to be lots of mistakes. I feel like we should have had at least 50 points on the board, and we didn't. We had a lot of fumbles, didn't have a lot of ball security, but we'll grow from that. It's good now to make mistakes, and when the regular season comes we won't have any mistakes at all.

Q: What did they say to you on the taunting?

A: I really don't know; the guy got in my face and I said some things back and they gave me a flag. I thought they called it on him but they called it on me. You have to learn from the mistakes like that.

Q: I know it's the preseason, but you got to the end zone tonight. What's that do for you?

A: Man I haven't been to the end zone since like week three of the regular season.  It felt good.  You know it's just the preseason like you said, but it feels good to get in the end zone anytime.

Vikings Safety Harrison Smith

Q: How do you feel the defense performed tonight?

A: We didn't play as well as we should have. We gave up a third and long which should never be. There's a lot of stuff to get done. Kind of a tool mark before the season starts.

Q: What's your thought on Antone Exum's performance tonight with his interception?

A: Great play. Anytime you get your hands on the ball as a defensive back, it changes the game. He made a great read in the middle of the field and made a play. That's what you want to see out of a safety so it's good to see that.

Vikings Tackle Matt Kalil

Q: Matt, when he (Phil Loadholt) was on the ground, what were you thinking?

A: Obviously you don't want to see your right tackle down like that. So I don't know, a little tweak or something like that, but obviously it was a lot worse than that.

Q: Have you gotten the definitive word that it looks like he's not going to be back this year?

A: That's a question for Coach Zimmer. I don't know.

Q: Did you have a chance to talk to him at all before he left the field?

A: No, so hopefully I'll see him soon.

Q: Was he in there at halftime when you guys came in?

A: Yeah, he was in there.

Q: Was he doing okay?

A: Phil is a tough guy. He's a fighter; he's one of the biggest leaders on this team, so it's tough to see him go down. Just the way he is, he's going to fight his hardest to get back and do whatever he can to get healthy again.

Linebacker Eric Kendricks

Q: Anything you think you need to get better at?

A: Honesty everything. It's a different league. Everyone is bigger, better, faster, stronger….. smarter even. I just think the mental aspect of the game I need to improve on the most. Mentally I am a middle linebacker out there so I have to control that mentally.

Q: How much harder is it going from nickel to base?

A: It's not hard at all. You start to know your down and distances and situations. I feel like I just will and I just like to be on the field the whole time, so it doesn't matter.

Q: Is it hard to stay patient?

A: It's always hard for me to stay patient. Sometimes I see things and I try to jump them. But I know that patience is what allows me to make the plays and that's what I am working on.

Q: How about patience to getting on the first team?

A: Absolutely. I'm just here to control what I can control and work hard.

Minnesota Vikings DE Brian Robison

Q: Are you able to get into a flow of things if you know you're only going to be out there for a couple series'?

A: We don't know how long we are going to be out there. We haven't been told in either of the games how long we were going to go, so we just go out there and play. That's what you have to do though, whether it is preseason, practice or a regular season game. You have to go out there and treat them all the same.

Q: When you have someone making his first start (at QB), does that make you want to pin your ears back and show him what the NFL is like?

A: To me it doesn't matter who is back there; the bottom line is you have to go and play ball to the best of your ability every single snap. It doesn't matter if it is a 10 -year vet back there, Peyton Manning or Jameis Winston, I'm going to play the same way every single play.

Q: What can you comment on your guys' pass rush tonight?

A: Number one we wanted to stop the run to force them into passing situations and then our job is to get after the QB and not let him sit back there to just pick us apart. I think we did a good job on both tonight, for the most part, but there were some chances that we missed on, so now we have to back to work and get better.

Vikings Guard Brandon Fusco

On Phil Loadholt's injury…

A: He worked his tail off getting back here to be a hundred percent but that's the game of football.  Stuff happens, freak accidents, and it's unfortunate.  He's a hard-working guy and he cares so much about the game of football, and he's a big time locker room guy.  It's a big loss.

Q: I know when you're injured and away from the team, you're really away from the team.  You spend very little time with the guys.

A: You feel like you're not even part of it. I mean you're in the building every day doing rehab and stuff, and really, you feel like you let everyone down. Really it's just your body and it sucks. I've been through it, and like you said I just feel for the guy, I really do.

 Q: As far as continuity, you guys spend the first three or four weeks just working on continuity and then you're forced to shuffle with this kind of injury here.

A: Yeah, I mean I don't know what's going to happen. We'll see what happens. Continuity on the offensive line is big, so we're going to have to figure something out and just go from there. So I mean I don't know what else to say about that.

Q: That's a lot of shuffling.  You over to the left side and then they make a switch with TJ, it looks like he'd be the guy at right tackle?

A: If TJ's the guy, he's going to have to step up and play well.  He's a hard- working kid also, so I expect good things out of him.

Vikings Tackle TJ Clemmings

Q: What is your approach for the rest of the season now that there is an opening on the starting line?

A: I am just going to keep doing what I have been doing. My mindset is to work hard and keep working on my craft every single day. My focus, regardless of the situation, is to work hard, improve on what I need to and take in as much information from the veterans as I can. 

Q: What do you believe you can contribute to this line?

A: I can only focus on playing my game. I just do exactly what the coaches tell me to do and play to the best of my ability on every play.

Vikings Safety Antone Exum Jr.

Opening statement

I think we did well, we got better from last week. We did some good things and executed well.

Q: Did you feel a little more comfortable?

A: I did, for the time I was out there, I thought I was able to play fast, out there trying to make plays.

Q: What was the key to that interception that you made?

A: I felt I had more responsibilities so I stayed there and read Jameis' eyes the whole time and he took me right to the ball.

Q: Is that the type of play you think you could stand out to coaches?A: I think so, those are game-changing type plays, but that's not my call. I just go out there and play hard, give it my all and change the game. The coaches will decide who's on the field.

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