Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Okay, it wasn't very good football on our part today. I don't think we did much offensively; we fumbled the ball twice, we were 0-12 on 3*rd* downs. We were fortunate that they got some penalties that allowed some of our drives to continue on. Defensively, for the most part, we weren't bad today. We gave up some screens which we'll get back to work on that this week. Obviously special teams we had some penalties. We had two returns on us actually, one got called back and then the other one we run out of bounds so they get a chance to kick it again and it turns into being an 80 yard penalty. To be honest with you, I'm glad we didn't win that game today because we didn't deserve to win. We didn't play well enough and we're going to get back to work and get going here.
Q: What did you think or Kirk Cousins' play today?
A: I think he can play a lot better, yeah.
Q: Do you think the offensive struggles were a by-product of going up against a very good defense or were they just a little bit off today?
A: Obviously it's a good defense and they're pressuring us and we have some guys banged up but hey, this is the NFL, we have to do better than that. It kind of looked like it did in practice this week to be honest with you.
Q: With some of the returns you've given up these last two games are there some concerns there? Some cracks in the return coverage?
A: Yeah, yeah.
Q: What was the explanation you got on the roughing the passer call on Antwione Williams?
A: You know what after I looked at it, after I calmed down a little bit I looked at it and he was, his head was to the side and he was going to the side and if he would have just rolled, but he kind of pumped him into the turf. I actually think that was a good call.
Q: Is that tough for him to do when you need to do it in a split second though?
A: That's the rule so we have to do it.
Q: Do you like what you saw from some of the reserve defensive linemen (Jaleel Johnson, Ifeadi Odenigbo)?
A: Yeah, honestly it's hard for me to tell because a lot of times I'm watching their quarterback and the back end and things like that. It's hard for me to tell what inside interior defenders were doing.
Q: What did you observe on Latavius Murray's fumbles because that's uncharacteristic of him?
A: I don't know. Looked like his elbow popped out on the first one and the ball came out and then the second one I don't really know.
Q: What's going through your mind when the guys are going down with injuries?
A: Yeah I feel bad for those guys because they come in here and work their rear ends off. We had a huge number of injuries today, you never want your guys to get injured and it was kind of freaky things; we get rolled up on, it was unfortunate things today opposed to, you know [Jeff] Badet got hit in the head.
Q: Do you know if any of those guys are going to be lost for the season?
A: Yeah, some of them will be, yeah.
Q: Can you say which ones?
A: I don't know, the list was so long I don't remember the exact number so I'll just wait until we put them on I.R. I think Cedrick Lang is one, he's having surgery.
Q: Is Ade Aruna one of the players that will be out for the year?
A: I don't know for sure yet.
Q: How did you think practice went this week?
A: It went like the game. Defense got after them pretty good and thier offense, their defense got after us pretty good. That's kind of how it looked all week.
Q: How tough has the offensive line situation become?
A: Well, we've got to get on the stick here pretty quick. I think Remmers will be back next week, which will be good. I think Elflein has a chance to get back here pretty soon, that will help. I don't know about Rashod yet, so we'll see. But, yeah, it's tough. We're not the only ones in the league to be having these issues, I'm sure. We just have a few more than we should have at this point in time. It's life.
Q: Do you think Blake Bortles playing longer than Kirk Cousins was a factor?
A: I don't think it really mattered. The score was 10-3 at halftime, or 7-3, I don't think it was a big deal. They hit some screens and he scrambled one time. We'll play the screens better, believe me.
Q: Do you think having your second string guys going against their starters is benefical?
A: Yeah, definitely. It's great evaluation for us. I know that a couple teams that played yesterday had their third teamers in there against the first team. So, part of it was, we had two pretty hard days of practice with them. So, I wanted to evaluate some of the younger guys and I felt like I could get some of the older guys out a little bit sooner. The defense had 20 plays or something. The offense had a one-play drive on the one so I made them go back out again. We're going to have to adjust some things practice wise because of the injuries and maybe extending some things so they get more cardio involved in the practice.
Q: Was Dalvin Cook close to playing today?
A: No, he's going to play, we've had a plan along with him and when the plan says he plays, he plays. We're not going to play a game scared, guys get hurt, they get hurt, that's just life. We're not going to say, 'oh, shoot, we have too many injuries.'
Q: Will he play against Seattle?
A: Whatever the plan says, is what he'll do.
Q: What did you think of Ifeadi Odenigbo's performance?
A: He's been good in the pass rush game, especially inside. He's a strong, tough guy, very heavy-handed. I think that's a good spot for him. When you can have swing guys, like today when we had so many guys go down, it's important. We'll have to think about that on game day.
Q: What did you see from Aviante Collins that led to him getting the start over Brian O'Neill?
A: I just thought he had a better week. He battled all week long, I thought he had a better week. Aviante is a very good athlete, got good strength and size to him. The way they were rushing some of the guys, some of the power rushes, I felt like he would be better.
Q: Was Mike Boone's play on offense a bright spot?
A: Yeah, I thought he did well. He picked up the blitz one time very nice. He ran the ball really well, held on to the ball. I thought he ran good.
Q: What was the source of the third - down issues?
A: I'd have to think back on all the third downs. I think they pressured us pretty good. They had some good pressures. We might have dropped a couple balls. It just wasn't very good. We'll have some third downs in practice this week, a lot.
Vikings Quarterback Kirk Cousins
Q: Did you want to go back in to play before you were pulled?
A: Ususally they tell you, "Hey, you're out." No one had told me so I just assumed I was back in. Then they saw me out there and said, "No, you're out. We're done." Headed back out but it is preseason. You just roll with it and just stay flexible on how long you are going to play and react to whatever the coaches decide.
Q: What was the difference the offense's performance from last week to today?
A: It is a combination of factors, certainly. There were a couple misthrows, a couple fumbles, a couple penalties. I think it was kind of the gamut. When you do that, it's hard to move the football. I think so many times, you have to play flawless in terms of execution to give yourself a chance. The minute there is a mistake of any kind whether it be on a poor throw, a mental error, it can set you back and it's hard to recover then.
Q: How is the pressure you are under different than when you were in Washington?
A: We've been asked this question pretty much since March. It feels like every week I talk to the media and this question comes up. I don't go out on third down and think about the pressure. I am thinking about coverage, blitzes, setting up the protection the right way, making my reads, my footwork. It just doesn't really end up affecting the operation of the job. Is there pressure to play in this league? Yes, there always has been. I felt a great deal of pressure as a rookie just fighting to make the team and to wonder if I was even going to have a career here as a professional. There is pressure for every guy that is out there. It is a very competitive league. Small margin for error. You have to recognize the pressure for what it is and put it on the shelf and go to work and not let it get in your way. There is enough for me to think about, enough for me to be doing that I don't really need to be thinking all that goes with it on the outside.
Q: How tough is it with the offensive line not being together?
A: It's not ideal but I've never gone into a season expecting ideal circumstances or ideal outcomes. You learn to just roll with the punches in this league. You can't start to say, "Well that's not how you drew it up so now we are not going to plan on doing great things." You have to just play and whatever is thrown at you and that is the only way you have a chance to have success. I think that the players who have come in in place of some of our starting offensive linemen and have done a good job and ready to play. While Coach [John] DeFilippo has done a really good job with the game plan and play calling to accentuate our strengths and try to protect us from some of our weaknesses. That is what a great play caller does. This next week will be a great test for us with a week of preparation, probably some scout team type reps. Getting ready for the Seahawks, get to go through another game, dress rehearsal type setting. I think that will be really good for us as an offense.
Q: Coach Zimmer said it was good that you didn't win the game, during the preseason does that have the same effect in the regular season?
A: I think the preseason has always been hard to take a lot from. I think as much as we say that, people are always going to draw a lot from it, and that is fine. When you look back, I remember last year watching the 49ers versus the Vikings in the third preseason game here, and you would've thought the tale of the season was being written there, and it certainly was very much the opposite for the Vikings. You just have to use it as a chance to get better, make corrections, and get back to work. Like coach Zimmer said, probably not the worst thing in the long run to realize we have got a lot of work to do. If you want to call it a wakeup call, that is fine. It'll get us ready to go when we get back on Monday.
Q: What happened on that sack?
A: The one that was a play action keeper? Yeah the defensive end did a nice job sensing that and then running up field and when he does that it's a tough play. We try to call those when we feel like the end is not going to do that. And again we can go back and talk on film about what can we do so that that end does not sense that play as easily, so we'll go back and watch and see what all of us can do, running back, quarterback, tackle, receivers, can do to help sell run even better.
Q: Mike Boone is competing for the 3*rd* string running back spot, what are your thoughts on him?
A: He's a great player. Anytime you put this many good things on tape in preseason games, it's not really a question of if you'll be in the league, it's just a matter of where. We've had some really good running back play from several guys who are competing for those spots and we've run the ball well, I think, so far in the first two preseason games and really throughout all of training camp, I've been really pleased with how we've run the football. But even in protection, Mike stepped up on that last drive on the fourth down and blocked the defensive end and you could hear the pads pop and he displaced the guy and gave Kyle a chance to step up and make the throw, and it's stuff like that too, with a trained eye, you love to see from a young running back.
Q: As a team leader did you see anything on Latavius Murray and the fumbles he had?
A: Yeah, I just think it is part of getting back into game speed and game mode. I think all of us feel the need for these preseason games to get used getting hit, getting tackled, and brought to the ground. We thought these two practices with Jacksonville was also very helpful and a bit of a challenge for us to get out of the comfort zone of going against our defense every day where we get so familiar with the looks. It's really not a true test of preparation for what we are going to see during the season. I think getting used to getting hit and getting taken to the ground probably will help the ball security and some of those things that come with early football and preseason.
Vikings Offensive Lineman Aviante Collins
Q: How was it playing multiple positions because of all the injuries?
A: You never want to see anyone get hurt, especially one of your brothers. I'm not saying that it is good that I am able to play other positions, but I am able to move around and do other things. I'm glad that I can because I can't help this offensive line out. I hate all of these injuries, it's unfortunate.
Q: Have you ever played three positions in a game before?
A: No, never, never. That was definitely a first for me. Usually I play left side, left guard. I have never played three positions in a game before. It was definitely challenging but it was alright though.
*Q: When did you get the word that you would be starting right tackle? *
A: About two days ago, I mean I haven't play right (tackle) since OTA's. They said give it a shot and you have to be the guy that can move around anyways. I went out there and I think it went pretty well.
Q: How much do you think your versatility makes you a valuable player on this team and on this line?
A: I mean being versatile in general just helps out the whole team. I think it is valuable to have somebody like that. I mean we have had people like that in the past, like Jeremiah Sirles was able to play multiple positions, Nick Easton, Joe Berger and even Pat [Elflein] they can all play multiple positions, it just helps out the team, having those people that can play multiple positions.
Vikings Defensive End Brian Robison
Q: What do you say to a guy like Antwione Williams, young guy makes a good play and gets the unfortunate penalty?
A: Just keep playing ball, man. At the end of the day this whole roll deal is sketchy at best. I don't think we know exactly what is supposed to happen. I mean, we've seen the tape and some of the plays look totally legal to me and they are saying they are fouls. I think we are all confused about it. I think if you ask the referees they might be confused which ones they are supposed to look for to throw it. At the end of the day you just have to go play ball, and let the chips fall where they may.
Q: Does it lead to any potential less aggressive play at all from a defender stand point?
A: Well, that's the problem. If it leads to less aggressive play now you start looking at the fact of now we got guys slowing up on a play and might get hurt. To me if you slow up on a play it will weaken the strength of our game. I understand what the NFL is trying to do, they are trying to cut down on a lot of the head injuries and stuff like that. It's just confusing to be honest with you.
Q: With Jacksonville leaving their first team in for the whole first half talk about the reps that your second team was able to get and how they held their own?
A: Yeah, they did well. They went out there and like you said their starting unit was out there. But, that's what we have always done here. We've always prided ourselves, doesn't matter if first group, second group is in you go out there and you play ball to the best of your ability, you do your job. Try to have success doing it, and if you can't have success make sure you're doing your job so somebody else can have success. I think they did a great job out there today.
Q: Speak to Ifeadi Odenigbo performance having to go back in there at D-end and the couple of hits he got?
A: He did good. When your name is called you have to show up, and he did that today. He had a heck of a game. Obviously, we have to go back and look at the tape and make sure he was doing everything he was supposed to do right. But any time you can get to the quarterback the way he did, that's great for us.
Q: Why is the screen game so hard for defense?
A: It's difficult because a lot of times as defensive line, we're ready to pass rush. A lot of times it's pass rush situations. So you kind of go and it's just a little different wrinkle. They didn't do it against us during the few practices so they waited for it today. They got us with it so we've got a lot of work going forward with that this week.
Q: What's the secret to Andre Patterson's success in coaching?
A: Just the way he coaches. He breaks everything down from a fundamental standpoint and then works his way up, and that's what you've got to love about a coach. It doesn't matter if you're a twelve year veteran or a rookie coming in. He's going to break you down to the fundamentals and work everything back up. I think that's been the key to our success. With us being able to rush passers is why we get the screen games that we got today.
Q: How can this defense improve?
A: The thing for us, even the last two weeks, we're looking at it and as well as we have really been playing, we still got a long way to go and that's what Coach [Mike] Zimmer keeps preaching to us that we still got a long way to go. As long as we keep that mentality that we're never satisfied with where we're at then they sky's the limit for us.
Q: How have you guys adjusted to the helmet rule through the course of these practices and games?
A: I think I'm as baffled as anyone else. We look at some of the stuff on tape, the explanations of which ones are fouls and which ones aren't and some of them you look at and "How is that a foul?" and some of them you look at and you're like "Okay, I see that one". To me it's just one of those things that you just go play ball and let the chips fall where they may. At the end of the day, it's a very confusing rule. I understand the posture that they're trying to keep us out of and things like that but at the same time I've seen a lot of hits that to me are clean hits. It's kind of a 50-50 deal, you just go out there and play ball and hope the best comes out of it.
Defensive End Ifeadi Odenigbo
Q: To have that type of success with two sacks in a game must feel pretty good?
A: It does feel good. My job is to be the utility guy. I'm just trying to be the guy that can do it all. That's the message today, to anyone watching, I can play ball.
Q: How much has that been emphasized? They might dress fewer defensive lineman when they've got somebody like you with that skillset that can play inside and outside?
A: They've never emphasized that, so hopefully they can start talking, but it's kind of weird I haven't played defensive end since last year so it's kind of weird coming off that edge, but after that first sack, I felt right at home. I feel like I didn't miss a step because last offseason I made an emphasis on putting on a bunch of weight and getting to 275 so I can be a betweener. If you need me to be a defensive end, I can be a defensive end, or (if you need me to be) a defensive tackle, I can be a defensive tackle.
Vikings Wide Receiver Laquon Treadwell
Q: What was Coach's message after the game?
A: Too many turnovers, too many penalties. We played undisciplined ball today, and that's not the standard we hold ourselves too. We have to go to practice and fix that.
Q: How about Kirk Cousins today? How do you feel that he looked?
A: He did great. He rolled with the punches that were given to him. We all don't have great games every day or every time, but he did what he was called to do, but there's a lot of things we've got to fix.
Vikings Tight End Kyle Rudolph
Q: What do you think about how the team played today and the game's outcome?
A: I believe, you know, we kind of shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers, missing assignments and you know, we had our chance to go up and lead six-nothing, possibly. I think we'd feel a lot different about ourselves had we taken advantage of that.
Q: Kyle, you're down a couple of tight ends and you lose even more players in this one. What do you think of the job the reserves did like Tyler Conklin?
A: Oh, they all played awesome. You know, a ton of guys stepped up today. I was talking to some of our coaches about how I have never been a part of a preseason game with that many serious injuries, so you hate to see guys get hurt. Our young guys stepped in and played really well and had a chance to go down there at the end of the game and win it.
*Q: What's it like going out, watching everybody go out? I mean, do you just wanna blow the game at that point? *
A: Yeah, it's unfortunate. I mean, every time you see someone stay down, you feel for them. They work so hard to get to this point. You hate to see injuries, but unfortunately it's a part of our game.
Vikings Wide Receiver Adam Thielen
Q: Why was it so important to get together with Kirk Cousins during the offseason?
A: It is just reps. I think it is something that gets really overshadowed. I don't think people realize how many reps it takes to get on the same page. We are still out here, in preseason games, talking about stuff. How I like to run my routes, how he likes me to get open. Things like that. The more reps we can get, the better. We want to make sure we are prepared for Week 1.
Q: Have you learned anything quirky about Kirk Cousins?
A: I learn something new everyday from him. He has been known to be so fun. He's always got something new. We sat down at the hotel, after having a meeting and he talks about random stuff. We had a good time, and if somebody was recording it they would have a good laugh about it.
Q: What can fans expect to see?
A: Well first of all, we are going to keep working. I think that it why it is so important to get out here and get your reps in preseason. It is so important to take advantage of OTAs, Minicamp and Training Camp, because we have a long way to go before that Week 1ne. I am glad we have that time. We were a little rusty today. I think there were some completions we should have completed. There is some stuff in the run game that we did well, but we can always get better.
Q: Stefon Diggs received a contract extension this off season. You guys have had this incredible bond. How does he compliment you in the field?
A: Well, I think we are so similar minded people. I think we both love the game of football. We have so much love and passion for one another. I think we both do similar things on the football field too. We are always taking one thing from him and I am taking things from him, he's taking things from me. The communication between us is great so, I am very appreciative and thankful he is on our team and I am glad he received a big deal because he deserves it.
Q: One thing we learned from him last week was that he put you and Stephon Diggs as the two best dancers on the team. How is this possible?
A: Well, I think there was a bit of sarcasm in that. But I am a dang good dancer and I have learned some pretty good moves.
Q: Can we see some?
A: I will show you some, but it is after I score a touchdown.
Vikings Wide Receiver Adam Thielen
Q: What can you put a finger on as to why you were so crisp coming out of last week, but not as crisp this week?
A: There's a lot of factors that lead into it, I think sometimes you start games like that. You're trying to figure out what the defense is going to give you, you get into your own as far as the game is going. But at the same time, we weren't executing. We weren't getting open as receivers and we weren't catching the football.
Q: How is the connection with Kirk? Do you feel like it's there?
A: I think it's there, I think it's now time to go an execute it and prove it. You can talk about it all you want, until you go prove it and do it over and over again. Like I said before, that's the tough thing about preseason, you're only playing a quarter of the game, and a football game is four quarters. A lot of the time, you're just trying to figure out what the defense is giving you, what kind of looks you're going to get, and what their game plan is for you. It's tough to get into a rhythm with one quarter a play.
Q: Tell me about Jacksonville, that's a pretty good defense.
A: They're a really good defense. Sometimes it's tough, we don't get more than just one quarter. I would love to play that team, they're a great defense and it's always fun playing the best defenses and the best players. They gave us a good test and they made it tough for us. It will be good to go back and look at the film.
Q: Did you want to go out for another couple series?
A: As a competitor, you just want to go out there and prove that you can play better than that. That's just part of the nature of the game. You've got to learn from it, and go back to work. Prepare for another preseason game, and hopefully you can come and smooth things out.
Vikings Center Cornelius Edison
Q: When you go against a top defensive line like that early on, does that help you get ready up quicker for the regular season?
A: Definitely not, because I've been going against the top defensive line since I got here. So this wasn't very helpful, because guys like that, you know, because Linval [Joseph], Everson [Griffen], I go against all those guys.
Q: Kirk mentioned the differences in the defenses, and how that helped him throughout the week that maybe there was maybe more zone, things like that. How did that change from what you're typically seeing, to like your own defense versus what they showed you?
A: Once we've seen what different fronts, we respond and react to what we see with our eyes and stay true to our rules. You know, play ball. Everything we did, the different defenses we have, we stay true to our rules and just play from there.
Q: Are you exhausted right now?
A: I feel pretty good you know. I'm just thankful for another game day and going out there. I love playing football. That's fine with me.
Q: You've had to shift around a lot, but overall do you think you have versatility up and down the line?
A: I definitely know guys can play left and right, both inside and out. Center, guard, everything. If even if we're on team B, we'll still have guys playing different positions and stuff.
Vikings Defensive Lineman Jaleel Johnson
Q: How do you feel about your progress so far?
A: It's a never ending process, there is always things to improve on every single week. Making sure that we are watching film consistently, and always finding things that I can improve on.
Q: With Ifeadi Odenigbo moving back to the outside and having a couple of big hits, can you talk about his performance today?
A: Ifeadi played outstanding. Watching him in practice focusing on the little things and doing the little things right; come game time he was able to do his job and he did it to the best of his ability.
Q: How do you feel it's been going for you being able to move to both spots inside?
A: It is an ongoing thing, making sure I'm perfect at both positions. If one of our starting guys needs a breather, we don't skip a beat when I'm in.
Q: What made your unit so effective today, because the second unit had five sacks?
A: We just did our job all throughout the week, there is not really much else to say. There is no secret weapon that we pulled out from game day. Just coming out all throughout the week and watching film on yourself and making sure you correct it. Come game time guys can make some plays.
Vikings Running Back Latavius Murray
Q: Did you have a certain set of plays for offense or just go with the flow of things, for first team offense?
A: No, we just obviously wanted to go out there and play well. It wasn't a matter of how long, those are not the kind of things we discuss. We just play. For me, I know I could've played a lot better. I think collectively we all agree we could play better. But it starts with me.
Q: What was the difference so crisp coming out of the gates last week, and not so much today?
A: Starting with me, if we are talking turnovers. If you beat yourself, it is hard to win. I think that was just the difference. Just things that could have been better. Again, starting with me just have to take care of the ball.