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Postgame Quotes: Vikings at Titans

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer**

(opening statement)

It's good to win today. I thought there's a lot of things we need to clean up and get better at, but it was good to win. We got change of momentum in the second half—I thought part of with the kickoff return—and obviously we made some plays defensively. They did a nice job at the beginning of the game keeping us off balance and controlling the clock and field position. But like I told our team at halftime, it shows the resiliency of this football team. They have been through a whole lot in the last 15 days, and the last couple of years, so we've got some good fighters in this crew.   

(on the emphasis of getting more turnovers)

If we don't turn the ball over and you get turnovers on defense, then you typically win. Especially if you score on defense, you win. For us to get three and not turn the ball over, I think that gives you great opportunity to win. Our guys probably should have had four but had a bad penalty at the end of the ball game. Our guys keep battling and keep going and I think they are starting to feel comfortable in the things we are doing defensively.

(on the best defensive things about the second half)

They had us off balance. They were doing a lot of shifting, motions, line up here, run guys in, run guys out, run guys in the flat, run guys the other way. You know, you prepare for it but it's unnerving a little bit. But the good thing is I probably settled down a little bit on defense on some of the calls I made and said we're going to play our normal stuff and going to go. They were excited, I was excited and we were all going to try to have great calls. It was more about hey, let's do what we do and let's go play, and that's kind of what we did in the second half. On that particular play you were talking about, we had great pressure and I thought Eric (Kendricks) made a great play. He had a good week of practice this week, intercepted a lot of balls and I was hopeful that would carry over into the game.

(on Shaun Hill's performance and Sam Bradford being ready to start)

I thought Shaun (Hill) did well. One of the things I told him going into the ball game was you don't have to be anybody else. You just have to yourself and that is good enough to win. You take care of the football, make the right plays and I thought he did good. Sam (Bradford) has done a nice job getting ready as well. We will take it one week at a time and see where it takes us.

(on how the coaches will decide the starting quarterback going forward)

We always huddle and decide what to do. There are so many other things we have to fix right now. I can't wait to get with the coaches tomorrow.

(on Stefon Diggs making plays)

Stefon (Diggs) is a great competitor, number one. He catches the ball well, he gets open, he does a lot of the dirty work. We ask of him to block and do a lot of different things, but I thought he play well today. He made some very good catches. I thought (Kyle) Rudolph made some good catches.

(on Blair Walsh's inconsistency)

It's disappointing we missed a field goal and we missed an extra point. He is going to have to kick them through. He's our kicker so there's no question about that, but he needs to kick better

(on Titans keying in on RB Adrian Peterson)

Yeah, that's part of it. We're not going to play a game this year that they're not going to key in on Adrian Peterson. (Jurrell) Casey's a good player up front, (Brian) Orakpo's is a good player, (Derrick) Morgan is a good player, they were physical at the point of attack and they were physical in some times. I thought there were maybe some more runs in there that we could've hit better but we didn't. But that's going to be part of the deal, but it's also going to open up other areas. Guys are going to be…there's going to be some open areas for (Stefon) Diggs and (Kyle) Rudolph and these other guys when they continue to do that. So, hopefully we can keep moving and make them pick their poison.

(on S Harrison Smith's stop changing momentum in the third quarter)

He's a really good football player and I'm glad he's on our team. He does a lot of really good things, and he's an all-around safety – he can blitz, he can cover, he can play the run, he can communicate well on the back end, so we're going to continue to find ways to use him.

(on defensive adjustments at halftime)

I think I basically said that, right, just settle down and play and do our stuff and let's go play. So, I had some bad calls in there today, too. Maybe it's a good learning lesson…when teams do a whole bunch of stuff and the more they do and the more you do, the more complicated the whole thing gets. And when you have an extra few days, as coaches, we tend to decide, oh, this looks good, we should do this and we should do this and I'm as guilty as anybody.

(on whether CB Xavier Rhodes' injury is a hamstring or a knee)

Yeah, it's different. He was stretching this morning and heard something pop on his knee and…he's going to get a scan tonight.

(on DE Everson Griffen's penalty)

Very stupid, very selfish. He knows now, but the veteran players kind of talk to him about it too. Everson's a captain. He's got to think about…you know, that was a silly, frustration penalty. We intercept the ball, the game's over and, who knows, gives them an opportunity to win. It'll be a good teaching experience, and I'm sure that not only he will learn from it, but hopefully the rest of our football team will.

(on shifting from the Titans offense)

Well, they run the same play. It's window dressing, but they have different…each week they're going to have different shifts and motions, so until you can get those down and get them understood, then it's going to be a little hectic at first. So that was a lot of my fault. But they do a good job with it, and they've always...wherever (Mike) Mularkey's been it's the same.

(on having pass rusher Everson Griffen cover Titans RB DeMarco Murray)

That's part of it. That was his own pressure and he was on the weak side, he had the back and that's just part of it. You've got to rob Peter to pay Paul sometimes. He was in good coverage, the kid made a good catch, but in a lot of our blitzes he drops.**

(on WR Adam Thielen's performance)

Adam keeps making plays. The more you make plays, the more you get a chance to play. So he made a couple of good catches. He had one on real third and long, he didn't quite get the first down and the other one was third and whatever it was and he got it.

(on depth at wide receiver with Jarius Wright inactive)

Part of the inactive deal is we dressed eight defensive linemen today and there's a lot that goes into it. There may be a time where we dress five wides but it's just, each week is a different week.**

(on DE Danielle Hunter's fumble recovery, touchdown and sack)

I like everything I see with him. He's a tremendous athlete, works real hard, he's smart, he's tough, he's got great length, you saw him after he picked the ball up what kind of athlete he is and how he can run. It's part of his maturation and he continues to keep using these tools that he has and he keeps working on it, and coach Patterson has done a great job with him, really with all of our guys on the defensive line.

(on what WR Cordarrelle Patterson has done to get back in the mix)

The things he's supposed to do to be a professional football player. Line up in the right place, to work hard, to catch the ball when he has the opportunity, when you have the opportunity, you make plays. The harder you work, the harder it is to keep guys out and for him, the harder you work, the harder it is to surrender. That's what he's done. He's earned playing time. It hasn't been like, ok, let's just put him in there.

Vikings QB Shaun Hill

(on how he feels following today's game)

I feel good. We got a win and that's what we came here to do.

(on managing the game and finding a way to win)

We all understand what it takes to win in this league. I understand how this team is built, having gone through a year with this team and seeing how our wins happened last year. There's certainly a way to win in this league and a way to lose. Coach Zimmer does a great job of preaching how to win, teaching how to win with all of the different scenarios that can come up in a ballgame. We start that the first week of OTAs, all that stuff, talking about situational football and explaining why we lost a game or why we won a game. We go through all those scenarios in the offseason and he's great at that.

(on the rapport he established with Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph and Adam Thielen in today's game)

Those guys made tremendous plays. They made tough catches. They got open. They were great for me today. Those were huge plays to continue drives. One of them, we didn't get a first down on. It was a big play to Thielen, but it helps flip the field position. It was close to a first down, but like I said, that 20-something yards there is huge in the field position game, which was certainly part of it. But, like you said, our goal is to finish more of drives off with touchdowns. That wasn't good enough today and something we are certainly focused on improving.

(on playing a bigger role in the game due to the lack of success from the Vikings rushing offense)

Well my role is still to be the quarterback. These games are funny. You never know how it's going to play out; you really don't. You just have to stay persistent the whole time and you know at some point something is going to give, and we did that for sure.

(on the Vikings coaching staff's decision on naming a starting quarterback for next week's game)

That's all on their plate. I can't think about that, and to be honest with you and like I've told you guys before, I prepare every week as if I'm playing. I started that back when I was a third-stringer here in 2002 because I knew that when an opportunity came about I didn't want to have change what I did, how I prepared, anything like that. So, I started that in 2002 as a third-stringer trying to prepare as if I was the starter and that's what I'll continue to do. **

(on starting the season opener)

It was the first game and you're always excited. There's a lot going on. I told one of the rookies after we came out of the locker room that in about 10 minutes all this stuff is going to wear off and it's just going to be football; it's what we've done our whole life. That's basically how first games go. You come out and you're pretty jacked up to get going and then pretty soon it just turns into a football game and that's how it went.

(on the message he received from Teddy Bridgewater prior to today's game)

Teddy texted me late last night and I didn't get it until this morning. Then, we texted back and forth a couple of times this morning. He's an awesome guy. He was just excited to see me play and told me to bring home a W.

(on the play of the Vikings defense)

Yeah that's huge. The second half in particular they really came up big. Held them the whole half until the very end there and put some points on the board with two defensive touchdowns. Not part of very many games that you get that. They came out that second half with a mission.**

(on taking some hard hits during today's game)

I feel alive. You take a hit like that it's how you know you're alive I guess. I feel good. I feel fine. It sounds a little weird and crazy but it's good to take some good licks especially if you've been on the sidelines for a while. It's good to take some licks and kind of just get you in the game. 

(on the play of the Vikings offensive line)

They did a tremendous job. No sacks, which was huge. That certainly helps us when we can eliminate sacks, eliminate negative plays. That was big and that was something that I think they're going to be proud of. This is a good front and it's a good defense and they bring multiple things and some exotic stuff. They did a good job of handling all that.**

(on whether or not he feels he did enough today to start next week's game)

I did what I came here to do which was be one-53rd part of getting a W; that was it to be honest with you, on the players side and obviously there's more pieces than just the players. From what happens after that, it's not up to me. I'm just going to continue to be the same guy every single day no matter what.

(on the fan support for the Vikings)

I told somebody, I don't remember who it was, on the sideline there in the fourth quarter and you're hearing the 'Let's go Vikings' chants, and I said that's what I love about playing on the road. When you can turn a road stadium into your home field in the fourth quarter, there's nothing better. We had great fan support out there today; that was awesome. They were all excited when we were coming off the field and that was a lot of fun

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson

(on the win)

Anytime you can come off the field with a W, you have to be happy about it.

(on what he saw out of the Titans defense)

On first downs, the guys were shooting the gaps. I got stacked in the box. It is what we expected, but they did a good job of playing the gaps.

(on having the mindset that he would have to eliminate some of the pressure off of Shaun Hill)

I knew that we would run the ball. Today it was those two and three yards—those tough yards to keep the chain moving and get those guys in, then hit them over the top with a big pass. I felt like we did pretty good at times. We just have to do a better job of being more efficient in the red zone and coming out with seven.

(on the Titans using a lot of run blitzes)

I felt like the offensive line did a good job of handling it, but I think we may look back at this film and learn a lot. I'm just thankful that we were able to get the points that we were able to get offensively and the defense came through for us and made some big plays. They pretty much bailed us out today.

(on rallying around Shaun Hill when he was named starter this week)

Initially we knew that he was the next man up. The guys and the receivers have been around him all summer and training camp. The guys are doing extra routes at practice expecting Shaun (Hill) to be out there. I'm sure he felt the presence of all of his teammates rallying behind him and believing in him. He played good today.

Vikings WR Stefon Diggs

(on the win)

Of course we would like to clean up a lot of things, but at the end of the day we will take a W any day. They are hard to get in the National Football League. We are going to take the W. We have a lot of things to clean up and work on, but we're going to be happy.

(on what he saw out of QB Shaun Hill)

He had poise. He never got too high or too low. If you noticed, he had some wheels if you saw him take off and run a little bit. I'm just happy that he is playing at a high level and I expect that from him. He is a veteran guy and he prepares the right way. I'm the young guy just trying to help him.

Vikings S Harrison Smith

(on everyone stepping up when QB Teddy Bridgewater went down before the season)

Everybody loves Teddy (Bridgewater). He is a big part of our team, and he will be a big part of it this season. We know that we have a good team with Teddy or without Teddy. I think when he went down, we all said that we needed to step it up another notch.

(on the importance of starting off the season with a road win)

It's big. We lost on the road last season and we still won the division. It is not going to make or break you, and we still have a lot to get better at. But this is a good way to start.

(on the difference in the first half and the second half)

It was just execution. We just settled in and were playing our type of ball and things worked out.

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