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Postgame Quotes: Vikings-Bears

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

I thought we played hard today. I thought the guys that went in there had really good effort. But we made too many mistakes. We start the game, we have a long run, fumble the ball, then we have an interception. We get a safety on us. We get a penalty for having a guy's shoe, throwing it in our bench. Then the fourth down play we fall down. We had chances to win the ballgame, we just didn't quite get it done. But I am proud of the way these guys went in there and fought their rear-ends off.

Q: Resting some of the starters means you should be pretty healthy going into the playoffs. What are your thoughts on where your team is at entering the post-season?

A: As far as health-wise?

Q: Essentially having a healthy team going in.

A: Yeah, let's go.

Q: How tough of a decision was it to decide to rest most of your starters today?

A: It was really hard. I actually didn't tell some of the guys until last night. I wanted them to prepare like they were getting ready to play. We gave obviously more guys reps during practice this week. I think you just kind of weigh the risk/reward. I like to win, so like I told everybody any time that scoreboard is up there, my name is attached to it. But I just figured in the long run, it's better if we just play these young guys and get a chance to evaluate them, as well.

Q: Even though you lost, how resilient were the guys coming back?

A: Yeah, I thought we played really hard. We had a chance to win the ballgame. Like I said, I think we fell down on the fourth down play that they converted there to get down to kick the field goal. There were some good things we did offensively today. I thought there were some good things we did defensively.

Q: Obviously Mike Boone had statistically the big game. Were there a lot of guys that stood out to you that played really well?

A: I thought the corners played pretty well today. (Andrew) Sendejo flies around like he always does. I feel like we blocked their good rushers up front pretty well with the offensive line. I thought (Sean) Mannion did a good job, too. He took what was there, made a couple plays. Actually the third down play, we could have scored a touchdown. We dropped the ball. There were several things.

Q: How would you assess the pros and cons of how Mannion looked?

A: I thought he was solid. He took care of the football. Got us in the right place.

Q: Will you spend a lot of time reviewing this game or turn the page quickly?

A: Yeah, we'll turn the page real quick.

Q: What can you say about Ifeadi? He's really come on the latter part of the season.

A: I thought the defensive line played well today for the most part. Those guys did a nice job rushing them today. He (Ifeadi Odenigbo) continues to get better all the time. It was nice to see Jalyn Holmes get in there, (Hercules) Mata'afa, some of the guys that don't get to play much.

Q: Does having a veteran team at this point help you knowing you got to win three games on the road to get to the Super Bowl?

A: I know it's been done before. Why not us?

Q: Green Bay might just win their game. If you do have to wait till late tonight to know, what will be your day be like as you wait?

A: Today?

Q: Yeah, today, when you don't know who you're playing.

A: Just be like a normal day. Go home, have a little dinner, have a little red wine, sit back (smiling).

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Vikings Quarterback Sean Mannion

Q: What was this all like for you as you find out that you're going to be starting your second career game?

A: You know, honestly the preparation, the mentality throughout the week didn't change. I know talking to some of the guys throughout the week, things were still up in the air at that point. Really the approach from my perspective is the same. I think the nature of being a backup quarterback in this league is if something were to happen to Kirk (Cousins), you have to be ready to go to play every snap. You always prepare that way. This week late in the week I knew I would be playing every play. Really, like I said, the mentality approach was no different. It was a great opportunity for me. I'm disappointed unfortunately we weren't able to get a win. That's the most important thing. It's tough. It's tough to swallow a little bit right now. At the same time our team has everything in front of us. I don't know who we play in the playoffs, but we got to move forward, got to be ready to go. Whoever it will be, it will be a good opponent, a good task for us to prepare for them, go out and play football.

Q: When did you get the official 100% word?

A: I don't know if it was official until late in the week. I don't know exactly when. I think it was one of those things where they said, "Hey, be ready to play, be ready to play." Nothing was necessarily signed in ink until late in the week. I don't know exactly when.

Q: How do you compare this to the one you had two years ago with the Rams, similar situation?

A: Yeah, you know, that honestly feels like a really long time ago. It's the same taste in your mouth honestly when you don't get a victory. That's what everyone's trying to do, is go out there and win the game. To come up short in that regard is tough. At the same time I'll have to go back and watch the film. I felt good out there. I felt like I was decisive. I think going into the game, kind of the goal I had for myself was just to have a really clean operation, control the huddle, the line of scrimmage, that kind of stuff, be decisive. With those two things, I felt good about it where I'm standing right now. We'll still have to go back and look at the film. Obviously it's always how can you grow, how can you get better. I think there will be stuff here that I know I can grow from.

Q: How important are these game reps for you in staying prepared to step in?

A: Yeah, it's huge. It's huge. I think you do everything you can to make practice as close to the game as possible. I think if we're being realistic, it's impossible to make it exactly like the game. But I think what you try to do is just have that mentality of, hey, when I'm running the scout team, servicing our defense, these are my game reps. I think that's the approach I've tried to take all year long. Like I've said, I don't think there's any substitute to live-game action. At the same time the coaching staff, Kevin (Stefanski), Gary (Kubiak), Clint (Kubiak), they do a great job preparing us every week. Every week I come into the game feeling prepared. Kirk and Jake are great to work with on a day-in, day-out basis. I think we do a great job of keeping each other ready. I feel like I've done everything I can to supplement kind of my work throughout the week, running the scout team, staying after practice, stuff like that. But like I said, you can get close, but you can't quite get the game reps. This was a super valuable experience. Again, you don't really think of it in those terms kind of coming off a loss.

Q: What do you envision passing along to teammates as you prepare to enter the post-season?

A: Honestly when I think back to the last couple years, I think it's honestly just be yourself and stick to your routine. I think there's a lot of hype. You'll be one of 12 teams left playing. That's an awesome, awesome thing. But I think you just do, stick with what got you there. Own your routine, own your preparation just like you always do. You don't have to make it bigger than a game, if that makes sense. Certainly you want to go, you want to run the table, win the Super Bowl. The only way you're going to achieve that, I think, is if you stay within your routine, stay within your preparation, go one day at a time and try not to make it any bigger than it really is.

Q: You obviously wanted to win. Do you take any consolation in the resiliency you showed?

A: You know what, yes and no. Yes and no. At the same time the main goal is to win, right? It hurts that we weren't able to. At the same time, I think it's once you get a chance to step back, you watch the tape, we'll see there was some good stuff that went on out there. There were times where the game could have turned and we may have taken the lead. I think there will be things that we will feel really good about. I think it's just a little bit hard to really grasp that right now. I think we'll go back, watch the film, and I think we'll realize there is a lot of good stuff that was on display out there. Although the end result and the main objective wasn't achieved, I think there was a lot of little things that we can feel good about.

Q: Mike Boone was able to rip off a few big runs. How important are these running backs to making the passing game work?

A: Yeah, they're huge. They're huge. Obviously Dalvin (Cook) and Alex (Mattison), they're working their way back. It was a great opportunity for Mike (Boone) and Ameer (Abdullah) and Hammer (C.J. Ham) to get in there and get some carries. Really I think when I first got here, I was asking Kirk kind of about some of the guys on the team. He said, Wait till you see Mike Boone with the pads on. Of course, you don't really get to see him with the pads on until the pre-season. He's done a great job in those reps. In the Charger game when he came in, he really just lit up. I think he's a dynamic, dynamic runner. Did a lot of good stuff out there.

Q: What is it going to be like to wait seven hours to find out who you're going to play?

A: I don't know. I hadn't really thought of it. I know I'm excited to go see my wife, see my daughter. Usually when we get home, there's a few games on. I'm sure sitting down with them, get some quality time with my family. I think once I get home, kind of get a chance to exhale a little bit, then I'll kind of see where we're at, see if we know who our opponent will be.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Vikings Center Garrett Bradbury

Q: Even though the team lost, did you feel like it was a resilient performance with the backups playing today?

A: It was fun to see those guys out there because you see what those guys do in practice and it is a little different when you are under the lights. You get to see them play under the lights and in front of fans. It was good to see them compete but obviously we would like to win the game.

Q: With this being your first missed snaps of the year, how are you feeling physically?

A: I have been feeling good and just moving forward. Like Kevin Stefanski said, we have a four-game season ahead of us so just gear up for four games and give it all we got.

Q: If the results worked out where you got another game against Green Bay, would you embrace another crack at them?

A: I mean whatever it is, it doesn't matter. As long as we control what we control and focus on ourselves and the details, it shouldn't matter what is in front of us.

Sunday December 29, 2019

Vikings Tight End Irv Smith Jr.

Q: The game wasn't a win, but it is a game where you guys want to stay healthy and play well, what can you say about the fact that you guys did that with mostly backups against the Chicago Bears?

A: Our mentality this week was whoever was going to be playing we still wanted to win. Obviously, we are disappointed that we did not win, but for the most part I think mostly everybody is still healthy and we are all focused on this next game.

Q: There was a lot of game-time for a lot of guys that haven't seen some, and this only adds to the team's depth going into the playoffs, right?

A: It gives a lot of guys experience. The last time some of these guys were able to play was in the pre-season. For those guys to be able to go out there and get game experience, it's good for the team.

Q: Is there something to be said about losing two games in a row going into the playoffs?

A: We are not too focused on that as we view this as a whole new season for us. We are all excited about the playoffs, it is a blessing to make the playoffs, and we are going to give it our all.

Q: Was the team paying attention at all, in any of the breaks, to how the Packers were doing and how it could affect what the Vikings do next?

A: During the game they would show the score up on the jumbotron but honestly whoever we play we are going to be excited and they will get our best.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Vikings Defensive End Stephen Weatherly

Q: How beneficial do you think it was to rest of the starters?

A: It is all about rotation. It is all about keeping guys fresh. Whoever is the healthiest will go farthest, so for us to be able to give a good chunk of guys some time to recoup and get their bodies right and some young guys to show us what they have so Mike Zimmer has more weapons in the playoffs. It is a win win for all parties.

Q: Was it fun for you to let loose today?

A: It was fun going out there and playing with my brothers. Just a young guy defensive line. We have been talking about it for a while for us to go out there against their starters and have it be a close one all the way up to the last minute is a certain thing for us. We did not want that to happen, we wanted to walk out with the win, but it was a fun game.

Q: It was a bummer that the touchdown got called back, walk us through that play.

A: We came off and had a spiral that particular play, so it allows us to do whatever we want as a defensive line. I powered, looked off and see a screen run edge, hits him, ball hits the ground so I go for it. He (Ifeadi Odenigbo) said "mine" and picks it up, so I picked him up just like I did Erik Kendricks last week as soon as he got it and made sure no one touched him while he was down. He is super uncoordinated, so his knee went down on the ground. I saw it but I said, "forget it, just go." I tried to go get a block. Shout out to the offensive line blocking me super hard and he scored the touchdown. I was really hoping we would not get that call.

Q: If it was the case that the team heads to Green Bay next week, how fired up would you be?

A: We just saw them last week, so to see them again would be a quick turnaround. It is the first one of the playoffs, so I mean it is win or go home. There is no more excitement other than that. You are playing for your life at this point.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Vikings Running Back Mike Boone

Q: How did your up and down play feel?

A: My teammates were there for me the whole time. They did a good job at keeping me comfortable and settled in. I started off bad, but I tried to turn it around and fix those mistakes.

Q: How did it feel coming out of the chute with the long run?

A: Felt good. First play, I saw that the offensive line opened a hole and you know I just do what I do.

Q: What does it say about your resiliency, having two turnovers early and then bouncing back the way you did?

A: I just give thanks to my teammates, you know Dalvin (Cook), C.J. (Ham), everybody, not just the running backs. Those guys kept me level headed and didn't let me get down. The offensive line was working hard and I felt like I needed to reward those guys.

Q: What is the mindset in the locker room having lost two in a row?

A: Just to get it back going, get back to playing Viking football. It's our job to come out and work and do what we do.

Q: How do you feel that your opponent next week will either be New Orleans or Seattle?

A: No matter who, we go out and play. It will be tough on the road, but you know we just need to play Viking football.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Vikings Linebacker Eric Wilson

Q: Does not playing the starters give them another week to get their bodies ready?

A: I think it is good. We clinched so some guys may be banged up and other guys may need a little rest. I think it is a good idea because everybody always stays ready.

Q: This defense thinks turnover doesn't it?

A: We have been getting after the ball and trying to get the ball out whenever we can. I saw his (Ifeadi Odenigbo) eyes light up and saw that he was trying to score immediately. It was great, he almost got two touchdowns which is awesome.

Q: You talked about how you guys were fighters and I know you didn't get the win, but how fun was it to be out there with some of the younger guys and see some of them get an opportunity to play?

A: It was fun. I know we got a lot of young ballers on our team and we may not get a lot of reps but when in doubt we can ball. It is great to go out there and fight together and try to make an impact.

Q: Not only play but get lots of time and do well and really hold off a team that had their starters in there. Was that a feel-good moment?

A: We did do well. There was a couple plays where right away we might win the game, so it is awesome to see that.

Q: You were fired up out of the chute getting that sack and some tackles for loss. You were feeling it right away weren't you?

A: Got to set the tone early and Mike Boone came out with an explosive run and got us fired up.

Sunday December 29, 2019

Vikings Defensive End Ifeadi Odenigbo

Q: Off to the playoffs, and now it gets ramped up.

A: Off to the playoffs, and so we'll find out tonight who we play. I think it was good for the starters to get their rest. Now next week is win or go home and this is what we've trained for. We have worked hard to get to this moment and Coach Zimmer was harping on us all week that all through OTAs, camp, this is what we have been waiting for. We have the guys in this room to do it and we are excited for next week.

Q: This defense thinks about turnovers constantly, what do you have to say about that?

A: Coach Zimmer has been harping on getting turnovers, and turnovers are the number one correlation in a football game. So, if we can get our turnovers, make plays, and score on defense it only makes the job easier for the offense. It's complementary football.

Q: You talk about depth but to give these guys playing time when some of these guys have not had a lot of playing time. To have the luxury of this, what a bonus it is going into the postseason.

A: Yes, it is, and Coach Zimmer always says that you are only as good as your weakest link. I think it is great for the younger guys and it shows that we have a lot of depth on this defensive line. The defensive line tries to pride itself on the being the anchor of the defense. Every time we go on the field, stop the run, get in to the quarterback, we put the pressure on us.

Q: There's depth on the defense line, there's a good rotation, do you feel comfortable with your role?

A: Yes, I feel comfortable in my role. There is a great depth in the defensive line, and I think that this is the most depth that we have ever had. I think that Coach Dray (Patterson) has more confidence in our depth and we just need to keep going out there and continue to improve. The most important thing is to have everybody fresh, especially in the playoffs. From game one to all the way to the Super Bowl everyone needs to be healthy.

Q: Talking about your play where you were all over it, you were feeling it, except for the one knee. Then you punted the ball.

A: It was just in the moment, I was excited to get my second touchdown. I thought it was crazy and then I was like what do I do, I am going to punt the ball. Hopefully I do not get fined though because it didn't happen. It was fun but unfortunately, we couldn't get the win. We will watch the film and focus on next week as that is the most important week. This next week is what we have all been training for.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Vikings Safety Anthony Harris

Q: Do you see yourself looking at the scoreboard to see the Packers, or any of the other teams playing?

A: I mean they put it up there, but I'm not really looking to see what other teams are doing. We just need to be ready to go with whomever we play. The preparation and mindset need to be there and then we just have to go get it done.

Q: Will you tune into the game tonight, knowing the outcome determines whom you play?

A: I enjoy watching football, so I will probably tune into the game. I won't watch it to see whom we might play, because I don't particularly do that. I look and see how guys are doing, the performances and who is doing what. Tomorrow is when I will worry about the rest once everything is drawn up.

Q: Either scenario will bring a Hall of Fame quarterback, how does that make you feel?

A: It is playoff football. There is no real drop off in talent, it is the best of the best, so people have to rise to the occasion and bring their A-game.

Q: Do you feel like you are heading into the playoffs with the right mindset despite the two-game losing streak?

A: Every week is a new week, I don't really look at streaks as wins or losses, and I just look at it as a new opportunity to go out their and prove yourself. Going into this game, I am looking at it as 0-0 no winning or losing streaks. In this scenario, it is bring your best ball or go home.