Postgame Quotes: Vikings-Lions

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

Good win today. Obviously, I think the defense played very well. Ten sacks, team record, a lot of that had to do with coverage. I think our guys covered well on the back end. Obviously, the guys up front were very diligent in their rush, the way they rushed the quarterback and their desire to get there. Offensively, I thought we did some really good things today. We ran the ball well, it’s good getting Dalvin [Cook] back. We hit that lull again in the third quarter, so we’ve got to try and figure out what’s going on there. We went a couple three-and-outs, we had really good field position, and then we had a couple turnovers. Which, really disappointing because we’ve been talking about that all year. We’ve got to put that away. Overall, I thought it was good. We punted them down in there deep a couple times today, we had a punt return. So, there was a lot of good things that happened today.

Q: How pleased are you with Danielle Hunter’s performance given how hard he works?

A: Yeah, Danielle is number one, a great kid, he works extremely hard. He goes to Coach Patterson every day and says, ‘What do I have to do to get better? What do I need to work on today?’ That’s just the kind of kid he is. He’s a great teammate. He’s a great team guy. It’s nice that he got some individual accomplishments today but, really, he’s more concerned about how the team does and how the defense plays.

Q: What was it like seeing Dalvin Cook break that 70-yard run?

A: He actually said that he was thinking about his hamstring and only kept it in fourth gear. Hopefully there’s another gear there somewhere.

Q: Are you worried at all about the running game?

A: It’s better. It’s not perfect by any stretch. I think it’s a lot better, we’ve been able to run the ball effectively. Today we had a bunch of fives and sixes. They’ve got some big guys up front and they crowd the line of scrimmage, play a lot of man-to-man in the back end. As we get going later on in the season and it gets into these cold weather games and things like that, we’re going to have to continue to get better running the football.

Q: Is the bye week coming at a good time?

A: Yeah, we’ve got some guys beat up. We’re fairly beat up. Defensively, we’ve been beat up for a few weeks. We’ve got some guys offensively that hopefully we can get back. We got Riley [Reiff] back today which was good. Quite honestly, I need a break. My new thing is, we should have two eight-game seasons, eight in the fall and eight in the spring. Then I can enjoy my year.

Q: Wouldn’t you be busier?

A: Yeah, but only eight games at a time.

Q: What do you think of the defensive performance in the red zone?

A: Well, the sacks that we got down there were huge. Quite honestly, we’ve had to change up a lot. For the last five weeks, probably, we’ve played pretty good defense. We were getting a lot of scheme things. Because we’re good at what we did, people are copying it. There’s a lot of teams now that are playing a style of defense similar to us. Now, all these offenses are attacking these defenses pretty much the same way. So, we’ve had to adjust and change coverages and what we’ve done in the red zone, [Todd] Gurley beat us on the one route in the red zone which was a scheme thing, basically. So, we’ve had to change up a lot of things that we’ve done. Luckily, our players have been able to execute it. Part of it is having enough confidence to call some of these things and still be good against the run.

Q: Do you think that Everson Griffen is back to playing at a high level?

A: I don't know, cause I didn't watch him today. I know he looked a lot more like him this week in practice. He was rusty in the first ball game, last week. I think he was more like him, I don't know if he’s totally all the way there yet. Again, I didn’t watch him today very much. I’m usually watching the coverage and sometimes the sacks.

Q: How much does coverage affect a game like this where you’re able to get ten sacks?

A: Well, it all goes hand-in-hand. You’ve got to have guys that can rush in order to get ten sacks, that’s pretty salty. You have to be able to cover too. Making the quarterback pull the ball down is important. If he can just get back there and take his five steps and get rid of the ball, you’re not going to get a sack a lot of times.

Q: Is other teams using your coverages and pressures frustrating or flattering?

A: They’ve been stealing our blitzes for a long time. They’ve been stealing our coverages now. I’m not saying it’s all, It’s similar, it may not be all the same. I told somebody the other day, there’s probably ten or 12 teams that are running, really, what our base coverage was all the time now. It’s like the old thing, everybody copies if you’ve been good. So, then you’ve got to change up and do other things. So far, we’ve been doing that and hopefully we can go back to doing some of the things we were doing before when they started adjusting to what we’re doing. The whole game is about adjustments. We made a lot of them during the course of the ballgame today. Sometimes adjustments are moving the line to a different spot or it could be changing up what coverage you’re playing because of the routes they’re running throughout the course of the game. It’s a lot of different things but the entire time is adjusting.

Q: How important has Tom Johnson’s presence been to add depth to the defensive line?

A: I noticed him a few times today. That part has been good, it’s helped the rotation with LJ [Linval Joseph] and Sheldon [Richardson] so with Tom being in there it has helped us quite a bit. I think the two 3rd downs they converted were quarterback runs if I remember right.

Q: How is Xavier Rhodes after leaving and coming back into the game?

A: He’s alright. He’s not 100% but he should be when we get back. He’s a tough guy, I didn’t know if he would play today, honestly we kind of had a different plan going in just in case that was part of the adjustment. He was well enough.

Q: Is there one area that Danielle Hunter has gotten better at or stands out from his rookie year?

A: The biggest thing with Danielle, I mean Danielle is a great athlete. Great length, strong, physical, but he’s improved on just being reactive. Not worrying about, a lot of young defensive linemen especially because we harp on stopping the run, they’re nervous about ‘hey I’m going to take a chance here because I think this is a play action pass’ or something like that. The thing I notice about Danielle, he just lets it rip now and that’s what makes him good.

Q: What did you think of Chad Beebe?

A: Well I knew Beebe was good, we’ve been trying to get him activated for about three weeks now, we just had that opportunity to do it. He’s like that every day in practice it was not a surprise to me what he did during the game.

Q: What was the thinking on Brian O’Neill?

A: Well I think he’s played well. I think this guy is going to be a really good player.

Q: Did the amount of snaps you were thinking for Dalvin Cook change throughout the game?

A: Yeah, yeah it did. He felt good so we just let it go. There are no issues whatsoever there. He came up to me during the week of practice, I said ‘how’s 33 doing?’ He said ‘good, what are you thinking?’ I said, ‘if you can play you’re playing.’ We’re not worried about byes and all that other stuff. Guys come ready to play, they play, that’s what we do here. It might bite us in the rear end at some time but that’s what guys get paid to do is play so when they’re healthy they’ll play.

Q: Do you feel like you were going to focus on running the ball with Stefon Diggs injured?

A: Diggs didn’t have anything to do with the plan today as far as running the ball or throwing the ball.

Q: Were you surprised that you were able to get that many sacks after Detroit hasn’t let that many up this season?

A: I didn’t think we’d get 10, I thought we had an opportunity to do some things if we gave them some looks and with our guys. I felt pretty good about Everson [Griffen] coming back, getting better last week in practice. I guess it’s a surprise, but again I think we did a good job in making him hold the football too.

Vikings Quarterback Kirk Cousins

How happy were you that you didn’t have to play against the Vikings defense today?

A: It was a historic effort by our defense. A relentless pass rush, obviously. The coverage had to be sound as well to give our pass rush the opportunity to bring the quarterback down. It is one thing to have a good quarter or half but to do it for four quarters, it was a complete game by our defense. Certainly, the biggest reason we were able to come out with a win.

It’s a trend to defer when you win the coin toss. How important is that first drive when you get that opportunity?

A: We talk about starting fast. We’ve done that nearly every game. The Bills game was the exception. That is a point of emphasis for us. I think it reflects well on our coaching staff when they sit down and plan out the first several plays of the game and how the flow of the game should go early and come out of the gates with success as we did today and as we did in a few other weeks says a lot about our coaching staff and their ability to prepare well to what we are going to face right away.

Ready for the Bye Week?

A: Yes, just rest. Rest is really important. There will be a little bit of self- scout and trying to look back at the first nine weeks and see what we can do better, what we can change. There is some of that, but not at the expense of resting. We go so hard, really since the end of July, and I think the best way for me to finish strong in the second half of the season is to recharge during the bye week.

Pleased with the first 9 games?

A: I think the short answer is yes. It’s more complicated than that, certainly. When you get back from the bye and you realize everything you want to accomplish is right there in front of you. You are still playing for it. You have no reason to be discouraged or disappointed. We just look forward. We don’t need to look behind. Let’s just look ahead at what we have ahead of us because it’s all right there for us if we can play well and win games. Hopefully we can get some guys healthy for after the bye, which strengthens our football team that much more. If you are asking big picture, I am thrilled to be here and just feel very fortunate to be a part of this team, this group of guys, work for this coaching staff, our organization. It’s all very positive from my experience.

What would a healthy Dalvin Cook do for you the rest of the season?

A: I think I’ve said this a few times, I’ve joked he is the white tiger. When you go to the zoo and you want to see a white tiger and they say he is not coming out today. You are disappointed and you’re like, “That is why I bought the ticket, to see the white tiger.” That’s Dalvin. When you get him, he’s special. I just have such a small sample size of having seen him because I’ve only been here since April and obviously he was recovering from his injury last year. When he’s been in he’s been special. What can he do for us when healthy? I would think he can do what he showed today and what he’s shown in other opportunities he’s gotten. But we have to get him out there, we have to keep him healthy and we have to give him opportunities.

Compared to the beginning of the season, can you sense the running game helping what you’re trying to do?

A: Each game calls for different play calling, different approaches. When we got an early lead, you noticed the defense is laying really well. You want to run clock. You are going to go to the run a little more. Also, when you feel like the run is working early, you are going to commit to it a little more in the latter part of the game. In other games, if we don’t feel like the run game is working, it is better to drop back and throw and give yourself other opportunities in the pass game than to just continue to run it when it’s not working. Again, if your defense is giving up a few points or you have to play catch up, then it’s harder to run. The situations in the game do affect it a little bit. Every game is going to tell its own story. Today was the day of let’s let our defense win this game. Let’s run the football. Let’s try to convert third downs to stay on the field. That is why I think the production was what it was.

What did Chad Beebe show you in practice that he would be able to be successful in the league?

A: I remember at the end of training camp because you’re looking at your 90 players there and you’re trying to get a feel for where everyone is and you said to yourself, “this guy is going to play in the NFL, he’s going to have success.” It may not happen Week 1, it may not be right away, but he’s on his way. He’s going to do good things in this league and I told him that at the end of training camp. You just got to stay patient and just keep working. I think you saw on the scout team week-to-week the ability to get open, some confidence was building and I felt like he was putting things out there on tape in practice that made our coaching staff and us teammates say “boy, I can’t wait to see what he can do on Sunday with what he’s doing on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.” It came to fruition today. What he did on third and fourth down for us was really important – created separation in tight man coverage and I think he’s a great asset for us as we look to the second half of the season.

What makes Chad Beebe separation effective on third down?

A: Adam [Thielen] does similar things and Diggsy [Stefon Diggs] as well. It’s being quick twitch, understanding technique, understanding when to push your route up two more yards to sell a different cut before you make your cut and not being short on your routes, it’s also knowing when to break it off and put your foot in the ground as opposed to allow the defensive back to recover. There’s a savvy there, but there is also a wiring there in terms of your athleticism. Are you quick twitch? Do you have the feet, the hips – to create that separation?

How often do you see that in a young player?

A: Well, you really don’t see it early with most players and I would argue that, and no disrespect to Chad [Beebe], in OTAs I don’t know that you did see it every play. You saw the wiring to be athletic and to separate, but I think it takes time to build the confidence, to build the familiarity with how we coach the routes, how we want them run, and I do think it took some time for him to dial in and learn it. Then when you start to feel like you have an understanding of it, now the athleticism can come out and I think that’s also where you get excited about young players. You know the more they’re out there more they’re going to build that confidence and familiarity with the scheme and now their talents can rise to the surface and I think we’ll be seeing that with Chad as we go forward.

Is it fair to say that Chad Beebe provides the wide receiver corps a different look?

A: He’s certainly someone when you get in man coverage you need people who can separate from man. I think we had confidence that he could do that today to the point where we want to him twice in crucial situations against man coverage. He did create separation, got us the first down and then we noticed in the second half on the deep ball to Aldrick [Robinson] they doubled him, they doubled him and Adam [Thielen]. That was a recognition at halftime from their side “Hey, we’re not going to let this guy beat us in man coverage. We’re going to double him as well.” So now the ball has to go somewhere else and I think that’s where you saw why we threw the deep ball to Aldrick or why we threw to Laquon [Treadwell] or some other people. Even a couple times when I tried to fit it in to Adam against double coverage sometimes successfully, sometimes not. You just try to assess how the defense is playing you and get the ball to the open guy.

Was Adam Thielen doubled more with Stefon Diggs out?

A: We felt that would be the plan. That would make sense to us and they did that. That’s where again you love having players and athletes because at some point you can’t double everyone and you got to go where they haven’t doubled. That was Kyle Rudolph on the third down conversion that he had. That was a big one for us to get us close to mid-field when we were a little bit backed up. He was single covered and the safety was cheating on top of Adam and that gave us an opportunity to work Kyle. We got to continue to find who is not doubled and get them the football.

What can you say about witnessing a historic day from the defense?

A: It’s just a great effort by their pass rush. To do it for four quarters, many times you see a great pass rush, and then they get a couple explosive plays here or there and suddenly they’re right back in the game. But to continue to be as relentless as they were, and also in coverage. Then you look at time of possession, I was nervous with the fact that they had such long drives, and even when we scored it was a quick drive, that we were asking too much of our defense just from a snaps-played standpoint. I was concerned that in the fourth quarter they might wear down, because we were asking so much of them to be on the field for as long as they were, and yet they didn’t. I think it was all 11 on defense in terms of coverage and the pass rush, and then obviously you got to look to the scheme as well and see obviously they must have done some good things there as well.

How was it to get Riley Reiff back at left tackle this week?

A: I think it was kudos to Riley, he could have said, “Hey, I’m going to come back after the bye week. I’m going to use this time to rest and recover and then be ready to go after the bye week.” The fact that he came back, said, “No, if I can go, I’m going to go,” says a lot about him as a person, as a teammate, as a leader for us. With only the one sack before the half when, to be honest, with the timeout I was probably going to take a sack if nothing was there, it was a great effort by our offensive line to prevent their pass rush from getting home.

Was there confusion with the play or route on the interception?

A: Well what happened, it was a roll-out, and the defensive end or the stand-up outside linebacker was free, he was unblocked. I either have to negotiate him, or get the ball out of my hand before he can get to me. It was single-high coverage, so I felt that outside Tready [Laquon Treadwell] would be able to clear out that third corner. The corner played with vision, basically said that his rules are to go deep with Tready. That was the goal, for Tready to clear him out, but he played with vision and just felt that Tred wasn’t the throw and felt that Adam [Thielen] was. He played with good vision and fell off the route that I thought he was clearing with. I was pretty much throwing ours or nobody’s to the sideline thinking that the corner was out of the picture, but he fell back off and came in and made the play.  

Ideally does that ball go to Laquon Treadwell or Adam Thielen?

A: If the corner is going to play deep as I expected, then the throw is to Adam, where I wanted to throw it. But if the corner is going to be a little nosy and try to poach an out-breaking route, then you have a touchdown to Treadwell. You’ll see I think that if the corner squats like that, there’s nobody covering Tready deep. I’m playing fast, I’m seeing coverage and thinking it’s three-deep and that he’s got to honor the go ball. Good, smart veteran corners are going to take gambles at times, and he gambled. Again, I got to “go” back and watch it to confirm what I’m saying. I took a little bit of a gamble, but obviously he was right. If I could pump and then go deep, we’d probably have a touchdown. But again, with [number] 42 in my face, I don’t have time to pump and reset. That’s the challenge, the player in my face effects everything as well. In hindsight, I would have just darted it to Aldrick [Robinson] or pumped, try to get the guy in the air and get around him.

Vikings Defensive End Danielle Hunter

On today’s game…

A: It was a good day. We decided to stop the run first and work together as a defensive unit to go after the passer.

On thoughts early in the game…

A: Coach talked to us yesterday and he said that we had to have a big day so he kind of felt like that we’re going to be able to have a big day if we were just able to stop the run.

On setting a team record with 10 sacks…

A: We did it together, it wasn’t just me. It was the defensive line working together, staying in our rush lanes and just getting to that passer.

On his scoop and touchdown…

A: I was staying in my rush lane, going after the passer. In pursuit, Coach Zimmer, he stresses that in practice, so I was after [Matthew] Stafford and then he pitched the ball and dropped it on the ground. It was right there on the ground and I picked it up.

On Matthew Stafford pitching the ball…

A: I was surprised, I was like why would you pitch the ball but it worked out in our favor, so I’m happy with that.

On getting record number of sacks….

A: It’s something special. It tells you that we go out there and we work together as a team. We stick with the defensive plan and we go out there like a unit.

On pass rushing plan…

A: We had a game plan, we went there and executed it but it all started with just stopping the run first.

On being driven to prove that he earns the contract…

A: It’s all just me going out there and taking stuff I’ve gotten from my coaches and my teammates and just putting it all together. Like I said, it wasn’t just me alone out there. The defensive line working together, just getting to the point, it’s all one unit.

Vikings Wide Receiver Chad Beebe

Q: On when it hit him today…

A: I think the first play I was out there, and I had the little out and back in. Getting that first catch definitely helped. Obviously at first there were some jitters. It’s all new to me still, I have a lot to learn. I had a pretty fun day.

Q: On confidence this year…

A: I mean, I always had the confidence, but at the end of the day, I knew it was up to the coaches. It wasn’t my decision, but I was just going to continue working hard each and every day, and to do the best I can to get on the field.

Q: On Adam Thielen’s review of his game today…

A: Yeah, Adam is a great guy first and foremost, and he’s a tremendous receiver. Being able to have him to learn from has been huge. I obviously learned a lot and I will continue to learn a lot.

Q: On life on scout team…

A: Practice squad is a great opportunity for guys like me to get better, and that was my mindset, each and every day. I knew to give our defense a good look and to get the W. For me, personally I knew to continue to work on my route running. Going up a defense like that every day, a really good defense has helped me tremendously.

Q: On his dad…

A: Advice I’ve always received from him has been faith-based. Continuing to be who I am, and don’t forget who I am and where I came from, things like that.

Q: On a moment he realized he could play in the NFL…

A: I don’t know if there was a moment, but I think that through camp and being able to perform the way that I did gave me confidence going into the season. I was on practice squad but having a season like that helped. I felt like I could belong here and I was just going to continue to practice each and every day like it was game day. I continued that each and every day and here we are now.

Vikings Running Back Dalvin Cook

On the blocking for his 70-yard carry….

A: It goes to show when you have 11 men on one accord, good things can happen. That is what happened on that play, Pat [Elfein] got on his block, the backside tight ends got on their block. I just hit it right down the middle and it opened up. Then he tripped me up. He stole it. I have to get that last leg down. He had a great angle, and good effort by him. I just have to have a better wheel than that.

On how it felt breaking a big run…

A: It felt great. I kind of tested it out. You get kind of nervous in those situations but it is how you find out you’re good to go. I was good to go then. When you’re out there it is balls to the wall. I will always tell you, when I am out there I am giving 100 percent. That is something in the back of my mind, when I am out there I am thinking about making plays. That is all that is on my mind. It has been out of my system. This extra week is going to help with our whole team getting to 100 percent. Including me, getting over that hump.

On not scoring on his big run…

A: We better score. Because I didn’t. Once you get down, five-and-in, 10-and-in, it is hard to score in the NFL. So, I was just thinking we better score because that would be bad if I didn’t score right there.

On the feeling of getting back onto the field this week…

A: First thing I want to say, thank you to my teammates, the fans, everybody standing behind me and pushing me through. It is tough. You want to be out there with your teammates and I wasn’t able to be out there. It is tough. Getting back out there was fun. Mentally it is going to break you down. You have to be tough enough to get through the process.

On hitting 22 miles per hour on the 70-yard carry…

A: Faster than Tyreek [Hill]? We good. We good. That is good,man. I am not a slow guy, but running faster than Tyreek, that is fast man. He is probably jogging, so. I know I had it in me, but it is a matter of getting me out there. I am just happy to be back out there with my teammates and competing. It is a great feeling to be back suited up.

Vikings Cornerback Xavier Rhodes

On defense looking how it was last year…

A: We feel like we’re just getting the calls and we’re not throwing any missed errors on defense. We’re recognizing the plays and understanding the downs and distances, getting to the ball, getting to the quarterback. We’re in great coverage. We’re aggressive; once we call a blitz, we’re aggressive all the way around. We’re just being us; we’re finding our identity. We had it, but we were making errors in the beginning of the season and now we’re trying to minimize those.

On injuries defensively…

A: We always have to have our guys that are behind us and be ready when it’s that time. They played great on defense, and a lot of other guys, they played great. You just have to go in, minimize the mistakes, continue to capitalize on errors, and just do good.

On bye week…

A: All the guys that are injured, all the guys when you look at the previous week, looking at the mistakes and the missed errors, so just correct those and get ready for the next game.

On finding identity…

A: Aggressive, we’ve always been an aggressive team. Nose to the grind and just put our head down and get to the quarterback and just be aggressive. Whatever we get, execute to the best of our ability.

On taking sacks…

A: Some of the guys were just getting off the edge, applying pressure to the quarterback. Some of them were covering sacks. It was just a great performance by defense all around- coverage, sacks, d-line. It was just great.

On making sacks coming in bunches…

A: Each guy on the defensive line were feeding off each other. Danielle Hunter got one, they celebrate, get everybody crunk. It just trickled on down. Everyone’s getting sacks; everyone was excited for them and we just played as one.

Vikings Wide Receiver Adam Thielen

On the win...

A: Great win, obviously going into the bye week, there’s no better feeling than getting a victory, and then playing a divisional opponent at home, a team that we haven’t beat at home in this stadium yet feels really good.

On not beating the record this game…

A: That means nothing, that W feels great. We had so many guys step up and I’m so proud of everybody. The defense, the offense, special teams. We’ve just got to keep moving, and keep getting better.

On not being asked anymore about the record…

A: I mean I’m obviously just trying to do my job, and trying to help this team win. Obviously I’ll go look at the film, and there’s probably things I could have done better to help this team, and to move the ball and things like that but a victory feels good and it feels better than any other record you could possibly break.

On the 10 sacks…

A: I couldn’t believe it. Some of those guys were just playing unconscious. Danielle [Hunter] and Tom [Johnson], and all of those guys up front, they were all over them. And guys getting sacks, they were all on their feet and giving pressure, and that’s what you want. That’s why they pay those guys the big bucks.

On Chad Beebe…

A: I’m super excited for him. When I heard he was going to get called up, I couldn’t have been more proud or excited for him. The hard work he puts in and the plays he consistently makes every week, that’s what you want. You cheer for guys that go and bust their tails. They make plays against the starters every week in practice, and he continued to make big plays this game and he was huge in the success for our offense.

On the division…

A: It’s huge. In this division obviously, division games almost feel like two wins when you win because they’re so important. They are so important in the success of getting into the playoffs. First and foremost, you have to win those division games to get to that point. We have another big one with our next opponent, at their place. So we have our work cut out for us. The Bears are playing at a high level right now.

On bye week…

A: There are two sides, there’s one part that hates it because you have to wait two weeks until the next game, but then there’s another part where you get to spend time with family, and you get to get your body back, and your mind away from football for a couple of days, and regenerate the body. You get worn down at this point in the season, and the same stuff over and over, your body gets tired. It’s pivotal, and it’s a great time for us. When I saw the part of the season where the bye was this year, I was really excited. It couldn’t be a better time to just get refreshed and get going for the second half.

Vikings Defensive End Everson Griffen

What can you say about today’s victory?

A: It was a solid team effort today. We always talk about rush coverage, coverage and rush; the guys stepped up big today. We played as a team and we did our jobs today. Each and every week it may not be like that; so we have to take advantage of the opportunities given to us. The whole defensive line played well today. We got to keep it going with this bye week and come out after ready to go.

Did you guys think you could come out and have a game like that against their improved offensive line?

A: It all starts with stopping the run. If you stop the run first, the possibility of rushing the passer early are a lot greater. The offense scored points for us today; but the flick that [Matthew] Stafford made to the running back and led to Danielle’s touchdown helped us. The score was then 24-6; and we had time to pin our ears back and rush the passer. We look for situations like that where you get to pin your ears back, let our offense score a lot of points, and they did that; we were able to rush the passer because of it.

Do you feel like this defense is back to where you were last season?

A: We still have some ways to go. I’m just happy to be back; to be here with my team, after missing five weeks, it feels good. Back on game two for me; I’m still knocking some rust off but it’s coming back faster than I thought it would. Our defense still has a lot of improvements to make, but we can be good; we can be really good.

When you are getting consistent pressure on the quarterback through the course of the game, what effect does that have?

A: Getting sacks is one of the hardest things to do in the National Football League. Affecting the quarterback is also great; we did a lot of that today.

They haven’t given up many sacks this season, what made you feel you would have success today?

A: Our whole mentality coming in is stopping the run; and we did that today. We were then able to pin our ears back and rush the passer.

How have you seen Danielle [Hunter] grow over the last few years?

A: Being coachable; like I always say, if I was coachable the way he is going into my early years, maybe things would be different. He’s very coachable, he takes what he learns in the classroom onto the field with him and does his job at a high level.

Vikings Defensive End Stephen Weatherly

On sacks changing the rhythm of the game…

A: Yeah, most definitely and one thing we like is that even though we were able to put pressure early, get sacks early, they didn’t change their pass plan for shorter more intermediate routes. They were still sticking to the deeper, longer more developed routes and so we were able to take advantage of that as well. We were able to apply pressure all night long and get sacks all night long.

On Danielle Hunter…

A: It’s awesome because they worry about him and I get a little less attention which allows me to do more work.

On sack on Matthew Stafford…

A: He was still looking for his throws, looking for some way to get something going. We could tell that he was looking for a big play, a momentum changer and we weren’t able to give him that. Our secondary was playing outstanding, I was told half of our sacks were coverage sacks and that’s just a testament to the guys on the secondary doing their work, doing their due diligence and shutting down all their favorite plays.

On reading blocking schemes…

A: Dre [Andre Patterson], when he came in on that Wednesday and said ‘Guys, if we do what we do in the run game, we’re going to be able to execute the pass rush game plan’. Every week he implements a pass rush game plan, we have a write up on each one of their tackles and their back-ups and we know what to do and how to attack each guy. Dre really drove it home and told us just keep grinding, keep grinding, great things will happen, and great things did happen today. It’s a team record, I believe we were two away from an NFL record. All and all it was just a testament to Coach Dre and how he prepares the defensive line, week in and week out.

Vikings Offensive Tackle Brian O’Neill

Your thoughts on Dalvin Cook as a player and his performance today…

A: It’s pretty impressive. He’s a special talent and a special person. I’m really happy for him to get out there and play again and have a run like that. I hope that’s just the start and that it gets the wheels rolling for him. I hope he continues to stay healthy and he is going to be a big part of what we do because he’s a special player.

On the defense’s performance today….

A: It was incredible. Being able to go against them in practice every day, it’s good for the offensive line to have them. Getting to see the effort they bring in as well as the intensity they play with, it shows for them on Sundays and they got the results today. It made our job a lot easier.

On Danielle Hunter’s touchdown…

A: We love sacks, turnovers, anything really. That touchdown by Danielle Hunter was awesome for us. He earned it. That doesn’t happen by chance. He comes into work every single day and continues to try to get better, so that stuff is not an accident.

Vikings Running Banck Latavius Murray

What was it like to see Chad [Beebe], Laquon [Treadwell] and Aldrick [Robinson] make plays today?

A: I think that’s what it’s all about. Obviously, [Stefon] Diggs is a big-time player, Adam [Thielan] is a big-time player. When you have guys that get opportunities like [Chad] Beebe, you have to be super happy for them. You have to be excited for them to step up in this moment, when the team needed him, and he was ready and prepared. That’s what it’s all about. I think all around this league, guys get this kind of an opportunity and make the most of it. It’s a special moment for them. Hopefully, that gives them a lot of confidence going forward and him knowing he’s a great player.

Thoughts on a win with a tight division?

A: I think we knew that coming into the game. We knew how important it is to win today but we can’t look ahead. We know what’s at stake, we know how close it is, so we know how important it was that we got a win today.

What can you say about Adam Thielen and his importance to the offense?

A: I think the fact that he is so humble, he doesn’t like to talk about himself, just likes to work. I think those two go hand in hand. The kind of person that he is correlates to the way he plays the game. He’s always working really hard in practice, the film room, the meeting room, he’s a student of the game. He also has the ability to go out and do everything that he’s doing. When you have those two combinations in a player, it’s very dangerous.

Did you know you broke the plane on your touchdown run?

A: I did to be honest. For me, I know that’s one of my strengths being down in that part of the field. Those kinds of things are obviously, you could say a gamble or a risk, sticking the ball out there. When you have a nose for the end zone and have an awareness, it usually works out for you.

Thoughts about the replay…

A: Yeah, I think it’s about timing and knowing when to put the ball out there. Obviously, I tried to get it back but once it reached the plane, I lost control. My goal is to finish with the ball in my hands every time, scoring or not. That’s one thing that I defiantly want to be better at.

Thoughts about Dalvin Cook coming back from injury today?

A: A big run like that to show his speed. Then obviously, him dealing with the injury. To break a long run like that I think that gives him a lot of confidence. We were messing around and I asked him if he still had 4.4 speed or not? He said he did so when he stepped on the field, okay you do. I was happy for him, we need everybody at every position. Dalvin [Cook] is a special player and those big kind of runs are what he brings. I hope to see a lot more.

Vikings Defensive Tackle Sheldon Richardson

On the defensive performance…

A: It felt good; it felt good. That was a fun game, a collective effort all the way around. We executed pretty much every time.

*On supporting teammates after big plays… *

A: We pump each other up. When a guy makes a good plays, I go shake their hand. Then, I have to get mine, that’s how it goes.

On pressuring Matt Stafford…

A: All I can do is my job. He wasn’t there a few times when I beat my guy clean, and I missed a few, too. Like I said, he was there and he wasn’t there. It was a good team effort.

On playing beside Danielle Hunter...

A: It’s great. It just makes my job easier. I can bull rush the guy coming at me and he’s coming around the corner.

On Danielle Hunter’s touchdown…

A: I was happy; I was mad I wasn’t on the field. We would have definitely taken a picture.

Was today this defense’s best performance this season…
A: Statistically, yes. We got after it today.

Did you see the Lions try and take their picture after the interception?

A: Yeah; we were trying to do that too. This D is too quiet. I tell everybody let’s try and take a picture. It’s a fad. New Orleans did it last week a few times. I left the sideline to go do it; I was trying to get in there. When D-Lineman score, that doesn’t happen all the time.

On Danielle Hunter’s preparation for game day…
A: He does the same thing in the game as he does in practice every day.

Have you ever played on a team that’s gotten 10 sacks?
A: No. Well, in Pee Wee yeah. High school maybe, but that wasn’t fair, I was the biggest person on the field.

On Dalvin Cook’s return and his big run …

A: It was good. I was glad he’s running full steam ahead. He’s had a few injuries and I know he’s happy about it. 

How does it feel heading into bye week with a win?

A: It was good. We finished off the second quarter good. Other than that, I’m ready for the bye week.

Vikings Wide Receiver Laquon Treadwell

On feeling good going into a break with a bye-week…

A: Going into a bye, you don’t want to be sitting on an “L.” Only thing on your mind is just getting back in there and competing. As a team it helps us in the middle of the season, we got the Bears coming up. It was a division win, so it was good for us, and I think it was good for us coming into a bye and getting back to work after our small victory here. I think it’s momentum for the rest of the games in the division.

Q: On mentality of the wide receivers group without Stefon Diggs…

A: For me it was more about staying in that moment. Of course, he would love it if he was out there competing with us—that’s our brother. Of course, he gets a lot of targets apart from Adam [Thielen]. It was just another moment for us to step up and help this team win. We try everything we can, Chad [Beebe] did that, Aldrick [Robinson] did that. We all stepped up, and we did a good job together as a unit, fighting for our brother that’s hurt right now. We need him back. We get a bye week and I’m sure he’ll be back by the time we play the Bears.

Q: On Adam Thielen’s streak coming to an end…

A: I mean I wouldn’t be able to tell. It looked like he was still rolling. It’s Adam. He’s open all the time, he’s always getting the ball. I wouldn’t know if he had 100 yards or 60 yards the way he just stays in the moment, and that’s the good thing about Adam. He doesn’t get too high, he doesn’t get too low. Regardless of the streak, we got the win. I’m pretty sure he said the same thing.

Q: On Chad Beebe’s first time playing in a game since preseason…

A: We knew what we were getting. Chad is a guy that works hard. Not only works  hard but understands what he needs to do to get open. We give him a hard time a little bit, because we know he’s good but he’s still young, so we kind of pick on him a little bit. He’s learning, he’s always quiet, always willing to listen, and take it from the older guys who have been out there playing. And we told him, we just have fun. Regardless of what happens in practice, whether it’s a bad play or a good play. It’s going to come back to you because we know you can get open, so just play your game, have fun, relax. That’s what we said in the huddle: Have fun guys! He’s out there just enjoying it all. 

Vikings Defensive Tackle Tom Johnson

What went so right today for the defensive line specifically?

A: The game plan we came in with worked well. It’s a division game. Detroit always plays us hard. If you look at the history, especially in the time I have been here, it’s always a battle. To be familiar and play them twice a year, it always helps. Today everything happened the way we wanted it to happen.

What can you say about your performance today?

A: I was able to get one-on-ones today. Since I have been back the last few weeks, they have been sliding the line to the three technique, leaving the nose tackle one-on-one. Today we came in with a game plan to try and make them play honest, and we were able to capitalize on it.

How important is it to have a bye week at this point in the season?

A: We had a lot of guys step up this week. There are a lot of guys mixing in and out every week. A lot of guys have been stepping up recently, so the bye week is going to be great for us to get our guys back and make a push in the second half of the season.

Vikings Defensive Tackle Linval Joseph

On Everson Griffin playing again…

A: Everson played great today he stepped up. He is starting to feel normal and that is what we want, we want all of our guys playing on the same level.

On team Defense performance…

A: Today felt like we had a great game plan, we had a good week of practice, and we just have to take this and keep moving forward.

Division battles head…

A: We just need to take it one game at a time

Thoughts on Danielle Hunter’s sack total in young career.

A: That’s how it’s supposed to be, yes, he is young player but he wants to be great and as you can see from today, its starting to come together for him.

Keys to stopping Detroit’s running game…

A: Everybody was doing their job, being in their gap, everybody doing their responsibilities and as long as we do that we will make negative plays.

Sense on Detroit coming into game…

A Every year is a different team, we knew in order to beat this team we had to stop the run. We had to rush the passer, and run the ball on offense. We had a couple mistakes, but overall we got the win.

Is this the most complete game, you’ve had all season?

A: Its’ pretty complete, as a whole it wasn’t. We did a lot of good things. We can work on some things on Tuesday so we can be better.

Do ever scratch your head, about how much talent is in one room?

A: No, it’s an honor, and to actually be on a team with so many guys that want to be great and want to work hard, I like that. That’s the reason I come to work everyday.

Vikings Center Pat Elflein

Q: On the importance of being consistent in the team’s run game….

A: It is very valuable to be consistent. You can do a lot of things in this league, and if you can establish the run game, then I think you are setting yourself up for success.

Q: Your thoughts on the duality of having Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray for the team’s run game….

A: They are both very dynamic runners and they give a lot. If you give them space, they can do a lot of good things, so that’s what we need to do and let them do their job.

Q: On Dalvin Cook’s breakout 70-yard run….

A: I was so happy for Dalvin. I came up to him after that run and after the game, gave him a big hug and said it was a long time coming for him and getting back from his injuries.

Q: Your thoughts on the addition of the screen game to your team’s offense…

A: I thinks it’s big for us to have. We just need to tighten up the details on it, but if you can do it, then it adds more dynamics to the offense and gives the other team things to prepare for.

Q: Your thoughts on Dalvin Cook and what makes him an asset to the team…

A: You can use him as a decoy, or you can use him in the actual play. Everyone always has to have eyes on him. He’s fast and so you have to account for him all the time.

Vikings Safety Harrison Smith

Q: Is this defense starting to look the way you would like it to look?

A: Anytime we can have a game like that; and get a win, that’s the identity we are looking for. Tough, good against the run, getting after it up front, playing tight coverage on the back end; but you have to prove it each and every week. You can do it one week; and if you don’t show up the next, it doesn’t matter.

Q: Was this the most swarming defense you’ve ever been involved in during a game?

A: It was definitely up there. If you hold a team to nine points and have ten sacks, you have a pretty good shot at winning the game.

Q: What does it do for the secondary when you see the defensive line winning up front?

A: It gives us more confidence; we play off one another. We know our guys are getting off the ball and putting pressure on them, we know if we give them time, they will get there. It’s just fun to be a part of. 

Vikings Tight End Kyle Rudolph

On having Dalvin Cook back healthy..

A: It is huge. It is good for him to get his feet wet before going into the bye. You get a little work, and now you get another week to rest up and get healthy before we go down the seven game stretch to end the year. You don’t want to be thinking how is my hamstring, all this week all next week. He got to go out there and get his feet wet a little bit, and an 80-yard run always helps.

On how close the NFC North is…

A: That is why we knew today was going to be such a big game. Five out of our last eight  games are in the division. We play these guys twice, the Bears twice, and we have the Packers again. Everything that we want to accomplish is still out in front of us. The first way to get into the playoffs is to win your division. That is our goal moving forward. It is right out in front of us if we want to go and take it, with all of those division games at the end of the year.

On watching the defense play so well…

A: It is fun to watch. They really played well, lately. Just watch those guys rush the passer, 10 sacks, a team record, it is pretty incredible. We see it every day in practice so it is fun to see it against somebody else. When we aren’t the ones trying to block them. It is good to see them get after other quarterbacks.

On practicing against this defense…

A: It makes us better. Going against that defense every day, makes us better. We play against those guys all offseason, and all through training camp. For me as a tight end, I am blocking Danielle Hunter, and Everson Griffen and running routes on Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith. You find someone better than those four guys at their position and you would be hard pressed. It definitely makes us better as an offense going against those guys every day.

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