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Postgame Quotes: Vikings-49ers

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

It was good, the end of the game there to be able to come back from two scores and work some of the situations that we've been working in practice. But we didn't play good enough tonight. We didn't play well defensively, gave up big plays, had too many mistakes. And then offensively we started out the game with two negative plays and it kind of kept going from there. Got a lot of work to do, try and get back on track and try to get this thing turned around.

Q: How did you feel about the first team offense overall after those first few plays?A: Average.* *

Q: What did you see on the 46 yard reception to [Marquise] Goodwin?A: We didn't cover the guy.* *

Q: What are your thoughts on the first team offensive line?A: I thought it was sporadic tonight. It's hard to see which guys are getting beat from where I'm at. If they are getting beat or, I don't really know. When [Riley] Reiff was in there I assume he did okay, I didn't notice him so, I'll know more tomorrow when I watch the tape.* *

Q: Is it typical for a preseason team to take the schematic approach the 49ers did?A: I don't know. They've been doing that stuff, the stuff they did, yeah.

Q: What do you get out of the way the team battled and came back from a 14 point deficit?A: I would hope that we would do that.* *

Q: Offensive breakdowns, are you concerned with the first team?A: Well I think what we need to do is go back and figure out exactly what we need to be working on and put our concentration on that. We've been doing a lot of installs and a lot of looking at different concepts and different things so now it's time to get back to do what we do good.* *

Q: Is frustration part of it too that things work in practice and then don't transfer to games?A: Yeah and we're doing a lot of different things in practice. They see the same guys every day and they see the same things so I just think we need to kind of refine what we're doing now. On both sides of the ball.* *

Q: Has Taylor Heinicke shown you enough to win a roster spot?A: I don't know. We're still in the process of determining that and I can't, you know the other 52 guys we have to figure out the rest of them too.

Q: With Nick Easton starting at center does he have the lead being a starter?A: I don't know.* *

Q: Did miscommunication play a part in the secondary breakdowns?A: No I don't think so. We were very uncharacteristic tonight in some of the things that we did.* *

Q: Was that mental errors?A: (nods yes).

Vikings Guard Alex Boone

I felt good. There's a couple things I want to clean up. I didn't get called for holding on the screen which was a plus. But, at the end of the day you look at the film, you have to get better. It's really kind of the last chance before we get into the real season. It was nice being out there with everyone officially.

Q: How frustrating is it not being able to score points offensively and is it becoming something bigger?

A: I hope it's not anything. I think it's just being out there as a first offensive line and getting together with the guys. There's things we can obviously clean up and we have to give Sam [Bradford] more time. We have to run the ball better. But for the most part it was nice to have everybody out there. But, we have to get a lot better.

Q: When do problems on the field in the preseason become a concern?

A: If we come in at halftime next week and are doing the same thing then it becomes a concern. More than a concern, a problem. To have everybody out there for the first time together talking, communicating, playing together, it was good for that. But we have to do more on offense. We've got to run the ball a lot better and we've got to convert more third downs.

Q: How much will it help to have the same offensive line play together two weeks in a row?

A: I think that we'll be fine. It will always take care of itself with practice, sitting in meetings together, talking together. Now we have to go out, we have to execute and do it. And that's one of the things that's going to be a big test for us coming up is getting out there and actually practicing well and making sure we all understand what we are trying to do. Make sure everyone is on the same page.

Vikings WR Adam Thielen

Q: Have you made some adjustments to your route running to try to get open quicker?

A: No, no. It's just whatever play is called and you have to get open. It's the NFL. You have to get open and get open at the right time. You can't get open ten seconds into the play because no quarterback in the NFL has that kind of time.

Q: Have the coaches been expressing concern about the first team not being very productive or have they been more cautious not trying to give anything away in the preseason?

A: Yeah, I think there's a lot of things that go into it, but it doesn't matter what the play call is, you have to make to make it work. You have to start feeling good about yourself going into these regular season games. You have to take advantage of these opportunities. We didn't do that tonight. We didn't do that in the first games either.

Q: Is it time to sound the alarm over the first team?

A: I don't think so. We'll come back to work in a couple days and we're going to keep grinding. I think as a group, as a unit, we've been fluffing our tails. I think good things are on the horizon. We just have to go out and prove it. We do the things right in practice. We make plays in practice and it feels like we're on the right track. Like I said before, it doesn't really matter unless you come out and prove it on game day. 

Q: What do you look for to give yourself or your offense a sense that you are moving in the right direction?

A: It's tough. I think it's just, did you win that individual battle? It doesn't matter what plays are called. It might be a basic play at this point with it being a preseason game, but at the same time it doesn't really matter. There are going to be basic plays in a regular season game and you have to make them work. There's only so many plays you can run. Everybody runs the same stuff and you can only have so many different concepts. Whatever the play call is, you have to make it work and that is probably what coach is so upset about.

Vikings DE Everson Griffen

Q: When do issues in the preseason become real issues?

A:  They became an issue right now. Even though this doesn't count it becomes an issue right now. The issue is that you can't have slow starts like that. On offense they need to start fast and on the defensive side of the ball we need to start fast. We can't ever let the game get away from us like that. Nobody bounced back, so I think paying close attention to detail, start covering better, start rushing better, getting off the ball, getting to the ball and we can't start like that.

Q: How much of the game is based on how teams approach preseason games?

A: Yeah, we didn't really game plan for it. At the end of the day football is X's and O's. You get lined up, you key your guy, and you pay attention to the details. You know, my guy, is he run blocking me, is he giving me a pass, is he kicking back, is he trying to reach me, is he trying to overreach me, you know, different things.

Q: How do you feel about the concern fans feel about today's performance/

A: That happens, its football. Your nights aren't going to be perfect. You're going to have games like this in season and you're going to face adversity. At the end of the day, you know, it's about us coming together as a unit and going out there and executing and start doing our job at a high level. It's not about pointing the blame, "Oh do your job" it's about "Come on let's bring it together and let's recuperate, get out there and strike and get off the ball and make plays."

Vikings Running back Latavius Murray

Q: How big of a concern do you think the lack of scoring points is for the first team offense?

A: Obviously, that's our job is to go out there and put points on the board, and so it's frustrating that the first team hadn't been able to do that, so again, we gotta light up the scoreboard, that's what we wanna do. I think we got the talent in the room to do that, so we just gotta continue to improve and find ways to put the ball in the end zone. I think we've been beating our self a lot, setting our self back. We had a big play, but I stepped out of bounds, it could've been one, but we just need to continue to work, it's a long season ahead of us, just need to continue to work and get better.

Q: How'd it feel just to get your feet wet? first action obviously.

A: It felt good, it felt really good, just to be back out there. I felt like a little kid honestly. It just felt good to be back on the field again, but that's the good thing about this game, there's always room to improve, individually and as a team, I know we're gonna do that as soon as we'e back on the field.

Vikings Center Pat Elflein

Q: Were you surprised given it being a preseason game how much pressure San Francisco brought while blitzing?

A: No, we kind of knew that they would do that. It's just a matter of going out and executing our stuff against it.

Q: How much concern is there with the first team offense's lack of point production this preseason?

A: We're just trying to show up to work and get better each series, each game, and try and do what we do. We're working to try to get better.

Q: What can you say about your first experience at U.S. Bank Stadium?

A: It was awesome. This stadium lived up to all the hype that it had. Our fans were amazing, it was a great atmosphere, and it was fun to win.

Q: How does it feel to see the young guys go out and get the win at the end of the game?

A: We're here to win; we're here to compete, and every person on that field did that tonight whether at the start of the first quarter or the very last play. Everyone was competing and trying to win.

Q: Is communication amongst the offensive line a concern at this point in the preseason?

A: Communication is always a concern, and everyone always has to be on the same page. We're just trying to get that down and get it communicated efficiently, all the calls so everyone is on the same page.

Vikings Quarterback Sam Bradford

Q: What are your overall thoughts on the first team's performance?

A: Probably a little bit disappointed in the overall performance. I thought it was just a little bit sloppy, too many mistakes. I thought we did a decent job getting drives going, getting a first down, getting two first downs, and then it seems like we just do something to shoot ourselves in the foot and stop it. To be a good offense, to be a good football team, you can't do those things, and we got to figure out a way to eliminate that and not beat ourselves.

Q: Is it the team's communication? Can put your finger on the number one issue?

A: No. I think after tonight the big thing will be to go back and look at the tape. I think there were a lot of different areas tonight where there were breakdowns. We're going to have to look at the tape and figure out why those mistakes happened, what causes them and how we can try to fix them so they don't happen again.

Q: Is it good to have Latavius Murray back and be able to get into a groove early?

A: It was good to see him out there. Obviously I think he's going to really help this offense this year. I think he showed it tonight in the run game, he had a nice run there, kind of crammed it up there to get a first down. And then in the pass game, taking check downs and making people miss, getting extra yards. I think getting him, getting Dalvin [Cook] and obviously Jerick [McKinnon], he made some really nice plays out there tonight. So with those three guys out there at that position, I think there's a lot of playmakers.

Q: The backups showed some good fire tonight in the second half while coming back to win this ballgame.

A: Yeah, it was awesome. Those guys did a great job battling to the end. Obviously Case [Keenum], driving down there and getting points, keeping us in it. And then for Taylor [Heinicke] to come in the way he did, to not play all game and to be put into a two minute drill and come out there and score, and to get the two point conversion the way he did, that was pretty cool to see.

Q: What is the level of concern with the first team offense now having 12 preseason possessions but just three total points?

A: Obviously I think we'd like to be sharper, but like I said last week, I've been on some teams where we went out in the preseason and lit it up, and then come Week One we didn't look like the same team at all. Anytime you step on the field you want to be sharp. I don't think we were our best tonight. There's a lot of things that we have to get corrected. There's a lot of things that we need to be better at if we're going to be a good offense, if we're going to be a good football team. So I think these next two weeks, 15 days before New Orleans, there is a lot of things that we need to get right.

Q: Do you take any positives out of the last drive of the first half? You weren't able to score, but you did move the ball down to the six yard line as time expired.

A: I think with any game you go back and you look at the tape, it's never as good as you thought it was, it's never as bad as you thought it was. There's always positives, and there's always things that you could learn from. Sure, when we watch it there will be some things that we did well, things that we executed well tonight. Then like I said, there's going to be a lot of things that stick out that we need to get fixed.

Q: Did you expect so many blitzes?

A: We saw some pressures tonight, yes they dialed it up a little bit. But to see Nick (Easton) and Pat (Elfien) both kind of have to go through the communication process once they figured out what they were doing with #58 and their odd front and making sure he was accounted for. I thought we did a good job.

Q: You guys didn't really game plan for this game. How much does that play into the lack of rhythm?

A: I don't know to be honest. I really don't know how much that affects us. I've played in preseason games where we haven't game planned, went out there and lit it up. I've played in games where you game plan and you do the same. So I'm not really sure.

Q: When you see teams blitzing like that, is that an indicator that they have been doing some game planning?

A: I don't know. That could just be how they play defense. You'd probably have to ask them if they game planned or if that was something that they saw that they wanted to put out there. It's very hard to tell from that. 

Q: Is that good for an offensive line or an offense in general to see that during the preseason?

A: Yeah. I think the preseason is winning different situations that you can put yourself in. I think it's better in the long run. I think especially in the third game tonight you'd rather see blitzes tonight than just straight coverage. And then entering into Week One get teed off on with a bunch of blitzes. We saw some tonight, we'll go back and look at it and see how we picked them up, see what we can do different. But overall I think it's good to see those.

Q: How'd you feel getting on the same page as Laquon Treadwell?

A: It was nice to see him go out there and play the way he did tonight. I think he was definitely one of the positives. I thought he played well, had three catches tonight. So, it's good to see him take a step forward.

Q: Have you built chemistry with him even though he's been out a couple times during training camp?

A: Yeah. I think we built some chemistry during the offseason. Obviously it was tough with him going down in training camp and not being able to practice for those few weeks, but I think knowing what we were able to do in the spring and being together last week we're just still trying to build that.

Vikings Quarterback Taylor Heinicke

Q: Take us through that final play.

A: We called a screen to the left. I went out there to throw it, and I saw three white jerseys so I thought it was a smart move not to throw it and just try to make something happen. And fortunately, the guys on the right weren't paying attention really, I guess. I tried to outflank the defensive end and go for the pylon and fortunately it happened.

Q: That whole final drive was improvised. You really had to adjust on the fly. How'd you guys keep it going?

A: We took what was there, and if something broke down, we just tried to make plays. Can't really practice that, and I thought we did a good job in the time being, but again, we'll go tomorrow, look at film, see what we can get better from that, and maybe next time it'll be easier. We'll get better tomorrow from film.

Q: You probably couldn't see but the whole sideline ran toward you after the game winning play.

A: Everyone on the field was there, and the next thing you know the whole sideline was pinning me up against the wall. It was fun; it was a fun 30 seconds over there, but again, we'll see it tomorrow, get better, and go from there.

Vikings Cornerback Xavier Rhodes

Q: How do you look at the first half tonight?

A: First half was bad. We had a lot of mental errors going on out on the field. Thank God it is preseason.  We just need to look at film and hopefully correct those errors and be ready for September 11th .

Q: What was it like after those first two series when they marched down?

A: Like I said, it was missed errors. Our eyes weren't in the right place and we didn't cover our receivers, especially me on the first drive.  My eyes were on the backfield and not on the deep post. We just have to let it go and move on to the next drive.  After those first two series, we settled down and started playing Viking defense.   

Q: Are you concerned with the way the first two drives went? If not, why not worry?

A: Of course, you're concerned about every drive.  If they make big plays you have to fix it as soon as possible so it won't happen game after game.

Q: Was it a communication breakdown on the first touchdown?

A: No, it is just mental errors.  Things like being too anxious, adrenaline pumping too early, not placing our eyes where we should be placing our eyes, trying to do someone else's job.  Like I said, they are things that can be fixed and not talent wise, just the mental aspect of the game.

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