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Postgame Quotes: Vikings-Buccaneers

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

I thought it was a good team win today. Obviously, the offense and Case Keenum played outstanding. I thought in all three phases we played well. We played well defensively in stopping the run. I thought we played well on third downs, defensively. I thought the special teams did a nice job. We hit all the kicks and we did a nice job with field position most of the day. The offense, obviously, played outstanding.

Q: Did you give Case Keenum the game ball?

A: It's true, I usually don't give out game balls after a game. I thought he played great, made great decisions, took care of the football. There was times he ran the ball when he needed to. I thought he played great.

Q: Did you see this performance coming?

A: You never know what kind of performance you're going to get each week, you just go out there and practice as hard as you can. I think the offensive coaches did an outstanding job. We knew Sam [Bradford] wasn't going to play at an earlier point this week so we kind of prepped the game plan more towards Case. I thought they did a great job. I thought Pat (Shurmur) did a great job calling the game, along with, he got input from the other offensive coaches as well. We ran the ball effectively which helps in the passing game. We hit some play actions, we hit some shots.

Q: How important were the three interceptions from the defense?

A: We needed to get some turnovers, we hadn't had any and those three were obviously big. They had been moving the ball, really trying to get back in the football game. Kind of got the momentum back on our side.

Q: What has Dalvin Cook showed you both in the running game and catching the ball out of the backfield?

A: Well, Dalvin is a really good player. He's got great acceleration and quickness. Does a good job in protection, catches the ball well. One of the things that kind of showed up on the last third down we hit. He caught the ball, the deal was to stay in bounds but he kind of looked for somebody to attack. He's a kid that, I think, is going to continue to get better. You saw some of the tough runs he made today and I thought the offensive line was outstanding today.

Q: On Case Keenum's quick snap on the 59 yard touchdown, was that a veteran move?

A: Yeah well it was Pat [Shurmur], Pat made the call. Pat told him what to do.

Q: follow up..

A: Yeah, well yeah, I mean it was part of the plan.

Q: Execution wise what changed this week as opposed to last week on offense?

A: Each week is different. Different schemes, different things. I don't know, really was just concentrating on this week.

Q: What did you think of Trae Waynes? Started off getting targeting but then had the interception.

A: Yeah it was nice for him to get that interception, you know he was playing a little cautiously early in the ball game so he just needed to take a breather, get back in there and go.

Q: Where do things stand now with Sam Bradford? Is there a chance he could return next week?

A: Yeah. I honestly don't know. It's day to day and we'll go from there. 

Q: How important was this game for Case Keenum to instill some confidence?

A: I don't know if that was really, it was important we won. I thought we played as a team today. We acted like a team, we played like a team. Did we have a couple dumb things happen? Yes, but we played like a team. That's why I keep stressing about this particular group that we have, it's a team. They fight together, they work together, they study together. I'm happy that he had a good performance but he got help – [Stefon] Diggs made some great catches, [Adam] Thielen made some great catches. I thought the runner ran well. The offensive line blocked well so it was a good thing.

Q: What is it about Pat Shurmur's offense that receivers are finding open zones?

A: I don't know that necessarily it's about his offense. It's a lot of times dictated by what the other team is doing and the plays, the coverages that they're running and the different things. They did a good job during the course of the ball game of identifying the things that we could do and the coverages that they were playing and being able to attack. And then the players executing, I told the players in the locker room before the game I said "Stadiums don't win games, coaches don't win games, schemes don't win games – players win games" and they went out and won today.

Q: What was your take on everything that's been going on with Donald Trump and the National Anthem and the decision on locking arms?

A: I'm glad our guys are a team. I'm a football coach, I'm not a politician. I'm not going to get into any of that. 

Q: Did you feel a need to say anything to the club?

A: I never said anything to the team.

*Vikings Quarterback Case Keenum   *

Q: Was the offense to you to make you so effective?

A: I thought Pat (Shumur) did a great job. Every week he does a great job communicating the game plan. For me in particular knowing why he's calling plays and where he wants to take shots, where he wants to be careful with the football, and what we're trying to do as an offensive scheme as a whole. I thought we were on the same page most of the night, except when I over think things and it doesn't work out. I thought Pat did a great job mixing up the run and the pass, run-action, play-action, and I thought he did a great job.

Q: What allowed the offense to get into a rhythm early?

A: I think the shot early to Adam (Thielen) kind of calmed me down a little bit. He made a heck of a play. I haven't seen the replay yet, but I think he caught it with one hand. To be able to do that early and get points on the board early, the first drive right out the gates, I think that helps everybody. That helps all three phases. I think the defense is really, really tough and they're really tough when they're playing ahead and they can really get after their quarterback. I think that getting that going early was really good.

Q: Did your confidence swell as the game went on?

A: I was having fun. I think guys feeding off me, I'm feeding off those guys. Offensive line played incredible tonight, that's where it starts offensively for us. I think I was on the ground maybe once. I don't remember any other times really. The guys making plays down the field I think from all those guys, [Stefon] Diggs, Adam [Thielen], Jarius [Wright] making plays. When you look across the board from all those guys to [Kyle] Rudolph and you're comfortable with everybody that's a great place to be as a quarterback, especially when the offensive line is protecting like they were and we were running the ball with efficiency.

Q: The big play capability from the receivers was a huge benefit today?

A: Yes, I think it was the first play of the second half where we caught them with a few extra men on the field and just giving Diggs a chance and he makes another special play and it's following that guys on the field. He's a special dude.

Q: Is there a comfort level from last week to this week?

A: Yes, a lot of things. I think being at home for one. This crowd is outstanding and this place is incredible. This place is incredible to play. I know it's my favorite. It's my wife's favorite place to watch a game too. I'm sure she enjoyed herself today as well. I think second week kind of getting that out of my system last week, being comfortable with the game plan, playing at home, and just kind of getting into a rhythm early. I think us not hurting ourselves we did better with that this week.

Q: Can you talk about the chemistry that you are developing with the receivers?

A: I think those guys are doing a good job of doing whatever checks we have and knowing what we're thinking. I think that's one thing as a quarterback room is we try to all be on the same page as to how we view defenses. No matter who it is, we are all thinking the same thing as a passing corps. I think we're all doing a great job of doing that.* *

Q: With a game like this as a starting quarterback, you obviously want to play as much as you can. Have you accepted that situation with where you are at in your career?

A: I don't know if accepting that is the right word. For me, I accept my role on this team. I know I want to be ready whenever my name is called and so that's why I prepare. Like I said last week I prepare every week the exact same in order to play, in order to compete and to put this team in the best possible chance to win. I did it last week, I did it the week before and I am going to do it this week. That's what I am going to do every week.* *

Q: You mentioned last week that guys are buying in and making plays and getting things accomplished. Have you sensed that during a game?

A: I got some great feedback from some of those guys. As an offense, when you're running down the field, when you're moving forward, when the offensive line is moving forward to set the huddle and guys are not coming back to the huddle, that's momentum. That's when it's fun. I thought we got into that tonight and it was a blast.

Q: When did you find out you were starting last week and how difficult was that?

A: Like I said last week, in my mind I was preparing to play the entire week. I think it was for sure sometime that morning is when Sam [Bradford] was ruled out. I prepare every week like I am going to play and that's just how I prepare.

Q: Is it just the way the NFL works that you may have had one of the best, if not the best game of your career and there's still some doubt as to what may happen next game if Sam Bradford comes back?

A: I'm not so worried about that. I am going to enjoy this win and I've got a 24-hour rule. Watch the film, learn from it, grow from it and then move on. We've got three divisional opponents coming in. Not to look too far ahead, but we've got a great team coming in this next week. That is the NFL. It's great teams and great defenses every week so we've got our work cut out for us.

Q: Have you talked to Sam Bradford since the game ended? Is he here?

A: No. I don't know where he is.

Vikings Running Back Dalvin Cook

Q: What was it like to get into the end zone for the first time?

A: Great, a good feeling, knowing that I got in. I was in this time. It was good coming out and scoring a touchdown in front of the home crowd.

Q: You talked during the week about wanting to start out faster. Can you talk about how you made that happen today?

A: The offensive line did an excellent job of opening up holes, giving us a chance to go make plays. You got to credit those guys up front for what they did all game. They came out and played a good game up front. You got to credit those guys for what they did.* *

Q: You were a valuable part of the passing game today, is that something you had hoped to be a bigger part of?

A: Whatever coach calls out there, we're going to go execute it. He looks upon the running backs to catch the ball out of the backfield a lot, so we do a lot of catching the ball in practice. It carried over to the game.

Q: How good did it feel for you, setting up your first touchdown with a pass reception?

A: It was good. I knew it was on the one or two-yard line, so nine times out of ten it was going to be a run. So I was in my head, "Catch your breath, let's go". It was a good call by Pat [Shurmur].

Q: Did you do anything differently today in order to track the ball better?

A: Yeah, coach KP [Kennedy Polamalu] did a good job of tweaking my routine a little bit, to go out there and catch a lot of balls before warm ups. So that's what I did, me and coach went out there and caught a lot of balls before warm ups.

Q: You have more rushing yards through three games than any Vikings rookie in the team's history. What does that mean to you?

A: This season has been amazing. I haven't thought about it really, because I just like to win. It's been amazing how these guys have welcomed all the rookies to the locker room, stuff like that. I don't care to much about the statistics, I just like us getting the W. But to have that impact on the program is good.

Q: How key was it for Case Keenum to be able to bounce back this week, and to do so with a career day?

A: It just shows that we cleaned up the little things, did the little things right, didn't shoot ourselves in the foot with penalties. Give Case the shot to go out there and make plays, he's going to make them for us. He did that today, went and made some plays, and he had fun doing it.

Q: How cool is it to see the ball spread around to multiple players in the passing game?

A: We have some exciting receivers that are ready to burst onto the scene and make some plays. I see them every day in practice, the catches they make, the routes they run, they're exciting. We got an exciting group, and for us to spread the ball around like that, it's good for all those guys to get touches, because they can make plays.

Q: It looked like you were running angry today. Did you feel like you needed to break out a little bit more than you have?

A: That's every game, I'm going to run angry every game. I want a W, like I said. I want to win, and if that calls on me to run as angry as possible, I'm going to do that every week.

Q: Is it important to you to be a complete back, one that can pass protect, catch the ball, and run?

A: It's important for this team, basically for us to win games. If I can't pass protect, I'm not going to be out there, plain and simple. I have to protect Case or whoever is back there. That's part of my game, and that's something that I have to do as my job, so I'm going to go out there and get it done. 

Vikings Wide Receiver Stefon Diggs

Q: That was quite a game. Can you explain the rhythm you guys got in to?

A: Dalvin [Cook] back there pounding it, getting him going is always key, especially to have success on the outside. To see him have success is always exciting for everybody. Just as far as being a team, we all got it done as a unit. The defense will always show up.

Q: What were some of the keys to Case Keenum having such an excellent day?

A: Us having his back, and him having confidence in us. Like I've said, the running game always plays a huge part, but Case made some great decisions in crucial situations, and made some high level plays. I'm just proud of him.

 Q: Is that as comfortable as Case has ever been, out there today?

A: I mean, I guess so. I guess everybody can use a warm up sometimes. To go out there and make those passes and have confidence in all his receivers, he came out swinging. When your quarterback is bringing that energy you just try to match it.

Q: It seemed like instant chemistry between you and Case, especially on that Randy Moss-like touchdown catch in the first half. When did you know you were clicking with Case?

A: You don't really know that type of stuff. You just try to go in and have everybody try to do their job, especially from my point of view. Just have his back, when he throws you the ball, you got to catch it. I had a drop that I remember clear as day, so I didn't have his back that pass, but I try to bounce back the next one.

Q: Can you take us through your first touchdown catch?

A: I don't remember too much, I just tried to make a play for him. Got some good protection, got a great ball, just tried to make a play.

Q: You almost got chased down on your longer touchdown in the second half.

A: I saw, I was running and I saw him late, so I put two hands on it. And I got a flag, can't let that happen, especially in crucial situations it will hurt your team a lot. My mistake.

Q: Guys were making big plays, both on offense and with the defense forcing turnovers.

A: Yeah, Adam [Thielen] had that one-handed catch, did you see it? In the beginning, with those big yellow gloves?

Q: What do you say to the people that were shocked to see such a great performance following the game in Pittsburgh last week?

A: As far as people, you all watched the game. We come out, we prepare, we do everything we can to make things happen. When they don't go as planned, sorry. We're trying our best, but this week we prepared the right way, we did everything that we could, and we came out and executed. Hopefully we'll just keep it going and keep you guys happy.

Q: Did you know that you'd have some favorable matchups going in to this game?

A: You kind of have to always play that way, no matter who it is matchup wise. Whoever they throw out there, you have to feel like you can win. When I go out there, no matter who is out there, who is checking in, I want to win.

Q: Did you guys have any conversation about what you were going to do for the National Anthem?

A: No, no conversation about it.

Q: What was the energy like on the sideline?

A: Just, you know, fire. I wish you guys could be a part of it, outside looking in. But for me being on the other side, it's exciting, especially to see the defense get picks, Griff [Everson Griffen] back there chasing people down. It kind of gets us going as well, gives us a spark as well. We feed off of each other, offense having success, defense out there, too. You know, defensive guys always want to be offensive guys, so this is how it is. [Laughs]

Q: How did you feel seeing Dalvin Cook get his first NFL touchdown?

A: I was happy, I wish he would have got in there sooner, but timing is everything. I'm happy he got in there, hopefully he can get in there a lot more.

Vikings Wide Receiver Adam Thielen

Q: How about Case Keenum today?

A: He's a fighter. He's a guy that you want to play for. He comes into work every day and he grinds and we know that we can feel his energy. The way he works, the way that he wants it, and that's just a guy you want to play for and go compete for.

Q: How much confidence did that give you guys after his long pass to you?

A:  Yeah, it's funny because we actually talked about that a bunch this week. Like hey, "We have to start fast because that's how we can gain some confidence, the o-line will gain confidence in us and Case." And then from there it's just playing football, so obviously that was huge to connect right away and keep it going from there.

Q: Why does Pat Shurmur's offense get you singled up or out in space?

A: I think he has a good understanding on what we do well, and puts us in those situations to do the things we do well. Obviously we have a lot of great talent on this offense and on this team, so there's no focus on one guy.  He's able to spread the ball around, and obviously when you have a quarterback that's able to make checks at the line of scrimmage, that's huge.

Q: It's amazing what you can do without 11 penalties.

A: Yeah, we've been talking about that a lot so that's huge for us. We talked about it going back to the offseason. On first downs we have to get yardage because that opens up the entire playbook and that's when you're able to get the players to just make plays. And that's what we were able to do tonight.

Q: Were you all on the same page for the anthem?

A:  Yeah, I think that we have a brotherhood in this locker room. We don't care who we're playing with we're all brothers, we love each other and we're going to go out and fight for each other. We have a lot of respect for this country, but at the same time we know that there's things that need to be talked about. Like I said, we have a lot of love for each other in this locker room, and we're going to go together and fight together.

Q: Talk more about Case Keenum, his passer rating was off the charts.

A: He gave us opportunities to make plays, and that's all you can ask for as a receiver. When the ball is in the air, you have to come down with it. He's trusting us to get open, and he's just throwing it before we're even open, it's awesome. He's trusting us to go and make a play, and we were able to do that.

Q: Is that trust this early with Case Keenum rare?

A: No, I don't think so. Because I think we've done a really good job of working with him since OTAs mini camp, training camp. Whether it be routes on air or individual and things like that. We're getting work with him. And another thing Case does a great job with is he's talking through stuff with Sam (Bradford) even when Sam's starting. He's talking through stuff with us, how they like things done and how they want us to run things. So he's a fighter like I said before, he wants it, and we're going to go fight for him.

Q: After Pittsburgh a lot of people are surprised, you guys aren't?

A: No, not at all because we see it every day in practice. Him in the film room before everyone else even gets there. He told me he had the entire gameplan memorized a long time ago. When a guy works that hard and he wants it that bad, we're just going to go out there and fight for him.

Vikings Defensive End Brian Robison

Q: Who's idea was it for you guys to lock arms?

A: It was kind of a team thing. It was not one person's idea. It was about the team.

Q: What was your overall impression of the defense?

A: We played well. I think we cut down on some mistakes. We would probably like to have a few plays back, especially after they went hurry up on us. After that, I am sure we will see some hurry up next week as well. At the end of the day we made enough plays in order to get off the field. We created some turnovers and that is what we were missing the first two games. 

Q: What does it do to your team when you can nullify a drive with a turnover?

A: It is great for us and it is demoralizing for them. For us, that is something we want to continue moving forward. We need to have those turnovers, put our offense in a good position and be able to score. They did a great job today of putting points on the board early and allowing us to pin our ears back and get after them. This was a great team win for us.

Q: Were you guys on the same page about the national anthem?

A: Yes, absolutely. That is what it is all about. When we come in this locker room, we love each other. This is a football team. Guys love each other, this is a brotherhood. This is a family. We spend more time with each other than we do our own families during the season. I say all the time, if the outside world would be able to let things go and really be able to come together like we do in NFL locker rooms, the world would be a different place. 

Vikings Safety Andrew Sendejo

Q: Was getting turnovers a high priority this week?

A: Yes. I think every week the goal is to get turnovers for our offense, give them the ball on a short field and win the turnover battle. We were able to do that today.

Q: How key was your interception?

A: He threw it right to me. I should have caught it. That was pretty much it. The guys up front did a great job with pressure and he just laid it up for me. 

Q: Did your interception come at a perfect time with the Bucs trying to come back?

A: I think Trae [Wayne]'s pick and Harrison [Smith]'s pick were both down when they were in scoring territory. Those were both huge interceptions to give the offense the ball back. 

Q: Can you talk about the maturity of this team?

A: I think this team has had some adversity. We just keep playing our game defensively. I think we have always had that next man up mentality that the next guy is going to step in and do a great job. The defense likes to hold it down and do what we do. That's the mentality we came into this game with.

Q: How does it feel to watch the offense start things off?

A: They did a great job moving the ball down the field. They had some long drives which was good to see. It was good complementary ball in all three phases. 

Vikings Defensive End Everson Griffen

Q: How well did you guys play today?

A: We came out and dominated on all fronts. Running the ball, passing the ball, they only got 26 rushing yards against us. If you make them one dimensional, they could throw the ball all day. (Jameis) Winston got the ball out of his hand fast. We tried to get back there but as long as we win that matters.

Q: When they made a run, what did the takeaways mean?

A: Takeaways are going to come. If you work hard and do your keys and stick to your game plan, turnovers are going to come. That's what we did and we won the game.

Q: Can you talk about the mindset going into this game?

A: Our mindset is you do not let anyone come in your house and disrespect you. They already disrespected us by thinking they were going to win. You have to come in with the attitude that no one can come into your house and put their feet on your furniture. You have go out there and hit someone in the mouth. 

Vikings Linebacker Eric Kendricks

Q: Did the first drive take some pressure off of the defense?

A: That was huge. The offense did a great job. It being 21-3 at one point changes the dynamic of the game. It makes them more pass-heavy. We were doing a good job stopping the run. Anytime we can do that, that is team football. 

Q: How was getting three takeaways after not having any the previous games?

A: We knew we were going to get turnovers. We just have to keep playing our keys, get tipped balls, hustle plays and things like that. We had to pressure the quarterback which we love to do.

Q: How big was that Sendejo interception?

A: We were hungry after that. We knew what is coming. We knew what the dynamics of the game were. They had to pass.

Q: Was anybody getting a little nervous when they got two touchdowns?

A: I was not. They are going to make good plays some times. We have to limit that on defense. Our team played great today.

Vikings Safety Harrison Smith

Q: How much help was is that your teammates were rushing Jameis Winston's throws and causing turnovers?

A: Our guys are getting after it every game. That gives us opportunities. Really I should give an assist to [Andrew] Sendejo on [my interception]. I know I can look at the first half and have broke a little faster on some throws, so there's stuff to improve on. Those guys on offense were awesome today, special teams,Case [Keenum] coming in, that's big.

Q: The turnovers seem to come in bunches for you guys.

A: It seems to be the way it is in the NFL, but you keep playing your role, keep getting after it and good things will happen.

Q: How important was Andrew Sendejo's interception?

A: Sendejo's interception was big, just another instance of doing your job and not making stuff up and making a play when you get the opportunity.

Q: How much did you feed off of the offenses energy?

A: We feed off those guys. We feed off special teams. We feed off if the guy next to us makes a play. This team is not [sections] of offense and defense; it's a team. It's everybody. We love seeing no matter who it is make a play, if coach makes a great call, that matters.

Q: It seems you and your team stood as a unified front during the national anthem, tell us about that.

A: I think you just summed it up; it's just a unified front. Guys feel different ways about different things going on right now and we just wanted to show that guys from all different backgrounds, front office guys, ownership, we are all in this together. Just like we are all in this together as Americans.

Q:How do you guys feel that front office and ownership guys locked arms with you during the national anthem?

A: I can't imagine playing for better ownership. They've given us the best facilities we could have, the best support we could have. They come down from where they sit for the games and they link with us because they're there for us and we are going to go put out the best product we can for them.

Q: What does it say about your team that you can rebound so quickly after losing last week and apply the next man up mentality?

A: I think since Case [Keenum] has been here, we have seen what he is capable of, whether it is in practice or in games. Sometimes you are not always going to play your best game, but he is a guy that is not going to hold back and he is going to let it ride. That's what he did today and it paid off.

Q: What was it like to see Dalvin Cook get his first touchdown?

A: He's a tremendous back. We are lucky to have him. He seems, for a rookie, he is extremely composed. He just knows how to do the right things.

Q: How has your team been successful against teams that like to throw the ball deep?

A: I think getting the right play calls, guys up front getting after it, applying pressure, linebackers, defensive backs just doing our jobs. 

Vikings Guard Joe Berger

Q: A lot of the guys in the receiving corps were speaking about the trust that Case [Keenum] showed them, throwing the ball before they were open. Did you see that trust?

A: I've never ran around and caught a ball so I don't know much about that, but today he sat in the pocket and made some great throws. It's great if we know where he is so we can protect him.

Q: Was it nice to see Dalvin [Cook] kind of bust out and get his first touchdown?

A: It's great to see him break loose. He's close to breaking a big one and it'll be fun to watch when he does.

Q: Did you feel good about how the offensive line played today?

A: It's hard to say coming out of the locker room. It's a win and we're excited about that. We'll watch the film. Our room is always very critical and we have to work on consistency now.

Q: The penalties were far fewer this week than last week, what were your thoughts on that?

A: We have to stay ahead on first down. When you're behind on first down, it's hard to call plays. We have to stay ahead

Q: Is it important to stop the losing streaks in a hurry and stop the bleeding?

A: Yes. Every win is a big deal, especially with the three big games coming up.

Q: Case [Keenum] came in and looked like he had control out there. What impresses you the most about him?

A: As an offensive lineman, you want a quarterback to walk into the huddle and command the huddle. Case [Keenum] did a great job of that. Everything was clear with the noise and everything.  

Vikings Wide Receiver Jarius Wright

Q: I think Adam Thielen had mentioned, "He'll throw the ball before we're there." Which shows, how much trust he has in you guys.

A: Yeah, he (case) does that. I saw it a couple times that he did it today. Like you said, it just shows his trust in us. We have to make him right.

Q: What did you see on your reception?

A: Oh, just a wide open flat. I turn around and Case is ready to throw me the ball. It was a great throw that made it easy for me.

Q: And it's nice for a change too, after last year, having struggles where the offense kind of gives the defense energy, right?

A: You're right. We came out early, we started fast. We saw Adam [Thielen] catch the deep ball down the field. It's always good to be able to get something. And any time you can start there early, it puts a little pressure on the opposing team.

Q: And now Dalvin Cook. Not only has he been a beast the first two games, now he has his first NFL touchdown.

A: It's definitely cool for him to finally get it. He has been so close. Even one time, in Pittsburgh, they didn't give it to him and I think he scored. But it's good to see the young guy get a chance to get into the end zone today. So this performance has been a lifestyle so it's good to finally see him score.

Q: Even though it's early in the season, doesn't it say a lot about your team that you guys can go through what you did in Pittsburgh, and come out like you did today?

A: In the NFL, that's kind of how it is. You might have a rough week but you can't let that one week kind of trickle into the next week. You have to take it for what it's worth, start over, correct your mistakes and understand it's a new week.

Vikings Tight End Kyle Rudolph

Q: Interesting week without Sam, but you clearly adjusted?

A: Yeah, if there's anything this team can do, we can handle adversity. It's a little weird if we don't have some adversity to get through on a weekly basis. We protected it up, gave Case time, and every single one of our receivers was making plays today.

Q: Keenum's confidence seemed to get better as the game went on didn't it?

A: Yeah it's huge to keep him on his feet, because he can throw it around. If we keep him up on his feet, and let him do things downfield, we have a lot of success.

Q: Is there anything you noticed that improved in the pass protection?

A: We blocked them up. Obviously it was important for us to take care of Gerald McCoy, he's a guy that can completely wreck a game by himself, so we did a lot of things to keep him off guard. Guys stepped up to the challenge, we blocked him up and I was a little more involved in that today than I was last week. So we blocked them up, and the guys on the outside made plays.

Q: Is Case Keenum's trust in you guys unique?

A: It shows a lot. We have had Case here since April, so he's been around the meetings and seen guys run their routes. A little different scenario than last year when Sam Bradford came in on the last Saturday before the first game, but it is still remarkable to know that we haven't had the actual reps together and yet we are still able to make these plays.

Q: Case Keenum really spread it around, it wasn't just one guy?

A: Early Adam (Thielen) made huge plays, then Jarius (Wright) got in the end zone, and (Stefon) Diggs was making big plays for us. When we can keep the pressure off of our quarterbacks and let them do their thing and throw the ball to our receivers who can beat single coverage, we're pretty good on offense.

Q:  Is it nice to hear the defense say they were motivated by the offense?

A: Yeah, coach Zim says it all the time. He doesn't necessarily want this to be a defensive organization. But we're better now because we've practiced against those guys all offseason, and we're better because of them, and going against them each and every day in practice. There will be games where we have to feed off the defense and there's games where the defense has to feed off of us. We just want to win games as a team.

Q: How about Dalvin Cook?

A: Dalvin's awesome. It's fun throughout the course of the game just watching him, and our offensive line just wear down defenses. It was hot in there today, but we stayed on it, and by the end of the game you see those runs.

Q: How did you decide what to do for the National Anthem?

A: I think the biggest thing is that we're all brothers, and we're all here for one another. Yet the biggest thing is we still respect our flag and what it stands for and the men and women that served that allow us to go out there and do what we do. We felt like that was the best way to show that we're here for both. We respect what that means, but we also love one another and know what one another go through on a daily basis. Football is such a microcosm of what the world should be and all of sports.

Vikings Defensive Tackle Linval Joseph

Q: What did it mean to see the offense do so well?

A: At the end of the day, we practice together and we work together. When they do well, they want us to do well. This is the first time our offense went first and they went down the field. That gave us a lot of energy.

Q: What did the turnovers do for your game today?

A: At the end of the day you want to get two turnovers a game. Today, we got three. This is a good turning point. Now we have to continue to do this every week. If we do this every week, we will put ourselves in a better situation to win games.

Q: What was it like to watch Stefon Diggs play the way he played?

A: In practice, he gets loose a lot. To see it happen in a game and transfer is a great thing. He is doing the right things; he just has to keep doing it.

Q: What was the difference between last week and this week?

A: From last week to this week, it was two different weeks. Sam going out was big to us. We love Sam and we want him to come back, but in this league, it is next man up. I played Keenum in college and he is a hell of a quarterback. Today, he really got an opportunity to show himself. I am glad today was a good day for him.

Vikings Defensive Tackle Shamar Stephen

Q: What was it like getting your first career sack?

A: We did a good job of trying to get after him and luckily I got the sack, so it feels good.

Q: Obviously the defense stepped up today and the line did its job?

A: Yeah, they did a great job. I mean our offense did a great job today too. They were pounding the ball and everybody was getting touches. They did a good job and let us go out and eat today.

Q: When you got back to the locker room how many texts and calls had you gotten?

A: I got a few.

Q: It is a team thing but you guys on the defensive line are really tight. What does it mean to you, because they were teasing you a little bit, to finally get the monkey off your back and maybe shut them up a little bit?

A: Means a little bit. We all have fun; it's a great time being with these guys and hanging out with these guys so it feels good to be around them.

Q: Usually the defense sparks the offense, that's how it traditionally has been, but today the offense sparked you guy's, right?

A: They did a great job running and throwing the ball and hitting on all cylinders today. It helped us too. It gave us time to be able to get after it and be able to rush and do the things that we want to do.

What kind of message does this team send that during the Anthem you see some guys with their arms linked and some guys doing their own thing? You have unity but everybody has a voice within this locker room, and that you have ownership down as well?

A: We have great leaders, great guys, and we come out every day and do our job and try to get after it and Coach Zim holds us accountable, so I think we did a great job of that and getting after it. 

Vikings Cornerback Xavier Rhodes

Q: There were three interceptions, how huge is that?

A: We're all playing on defense and get turnovers the second half, no matter how it was. It could be fumbles, interceptions, no matter what it was, but we needed it. Great start creating turnovers.

Q: Before the game, you guys were unified during the national anthem. Can you tell me what that felt like?

A: One in every sport and every game. No matter what, we're one. We all fight through it  and so we need to just be one.

Q: What was the matchup like with Mike Evans?

A: It was tough. Mike Evans is a pretty big guy, and he's pretty physical, and he likes pushing off on top of his routes. I just prepare my game and be physical right along with him.

Q: How do you assess your play over the first three weeks?

A: I just continue to play my game, don't feed into anything hype or what else is going on outside of this team. I stay within the team and do whatever the coach wants me to do.

Q: Have you gotten used to seeing yourself up on NFL Network or that something you are not worried about?

A: No, I don't watch it at all. I don't watch it. I am only watching film, watching my opponent. The guy you are all talking about matching up on, that's the guy I'm watching. I am not watching the NFL Network.

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