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Postgame Quotes: Vikings-Lions

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

I thought we played hard today. Obviously, we didn't play as good as we needed to. Turned the ball over too many times and really, that was the difference in the ball game. We missed the field goal in the 3rd quarter. They had 11 points off of turnovers and that's what happens when you turn the ball over.

Q: Do you have an update on Dalvin Cook?

A: Well, we're concerned about his ACL but he's going to get an MRI in the morning and we'll find out.  

Q: How do you think Latavius Murray did filling in for Cook?

A: I think he did alright. We'll look at the tape and find out.

Q: Did you beat yourself today?

A: Well, we turned the ball over three times and they had zero. Part of the deal was, I felt like we had to win the turnover battle today going into the football game and we didn't do that.

Q: Does the offense change at all if Murray has to be the primary running back?

A: Well, Dalvin's a really explosive player. He has such great big-play ability. We'll have to look at things differently. If you lose a guy like him, you lose a lot of fire power.     

Q: Did you have a mixup on protection on the 3rd-and-goal sack?

A: No, he should've thrown hot. It was zero-blitz and he didn't throw hot.   

Q: How bad do you feel for Cook?

A: I just went in and talked to him. I told him, he's not the first great running back to have an ACL if it is one and come back pretty good. Dalvin will have a great career.  

Q: Do you think that took some of the momentum away from the team?

A: Well, it's disappointing when you lose a guy. So, I think maybe it did. But, that didn't really affect the ball game. We had a chance to win it at the end, obviously, we didn't get it done. It is what it is.   * *

Q: You've dealt with a lot of adversity before, how prepared are you for this setback?

A: Unfortunately, I'm getting used to it.

Q: Were you pleased with the defensive performance despite dropping a few interceptions?

A: Yeah, obviously we want to catch the football when we've got the chance. [Matthew] Stafford is an excellent quarterback and he's not really going to throw them to us. I thought the defense played their hearts out today. We didn't tackle in some situations as good as I would've liked. They had their backs to the wall after those first two turnovers, I believe. I thought they fought. They did hit the one touchdown but I think we held them to a field goal on the first one. We'll try to continue to get better. I thought the defensive guys, they played well. I thought the offense played well. We just turned the ball over. We didn't execute enough on that side of the ball.  

Q: Did you see the replay of Cook's injury?

A: No, I didn't watch the replay.  

Q: Did you consider going for it on the fourth down play that burned two timeouts?

A: Yeah, there was a miscommunication there. It's my fault.

Q: How do you feel about Case Keenum's performance?

A: Well, there wasn't as many wide open receivers. I think he did okay. It's hard to tell during the course of the ball game.   

Q: What happened on the fumbled exchange between Jerick McKinnon and Dalvin Cook?

A: I don't know, honestly. I saw it happen but I don't have time to look up at the replay when the defense is going back out there.

Q: Was McKinnon going to keep it?

A: It's a read. He has the option.  

Q: Did you feel good about the defensive performance today?

A: We sacked him six times, they were 3-of-13 on third downs. We didn't tackle as well as we should've.

*Vikings Quarterback Case Keenum *

Q; Do you feel like the offense lost any momentum after Dalvin Cook's injury?

A: It's hard to say, but you never like to see a guy go down, especially with something like that. I think we all know it's not something fun. We all sit there and say a little prayer for him and hope for the best. That is something that, I guess, you practice dealing with setbacks, whatever it is. You just have to play the next play. That's what we said on the sideline. No matter what happens, play the next play, keep playing the next play. Hope he's ok though.

Q: Why was it hard for the offense to find a rhythm, specifically early in the game?

A: I don't know. There's a lot of little things. Whether it's turnovers. For me, not finding the right guy at the right time. It seemed like we'd get going and then we'd just put it out. Something we have to look at on film, I think third-down conversions, one. We have to be better on third downs. We have to be better in crucial situations, so that's one thing.

Q: What happened on third-and-three in the 4th quarter?

A: No. No, that was totally on me. I thought I saw something and got fooled. Changed the protection to the wrong protection. I got fooled. That is a huge play in the game, obviously, and that is one I want back. But I will learn from it and get better from it because we have a great team (Chicago) we have to face this Monday night. I will watch it and learn from it but I'm kicking myself for that one. That one was all on me. That wasn't a breakdown of protection. That was something I called and changed the play, changed the protection, to. The offensive line did a great job of protecting all night and it's unfortunate that play happened at that point in time. That's one I want back.

Q: Your stats were even with the Detroit Lions. Do you think you gave them the game?

A: Yes, we did. You can't give [Matthew] Stafford that many extra chances with the football. And the fact that our defense played and held them to 14 points and we turned it over that many times. They played really, really well tonight. It's unfortunate that we couldn't back them up and score and win the ball game.

Q: What was the difference for you this week compared to last week?

A: You have to give Detroit credit. They did a good job, schemes-wise. I feel like we left offense out there, though. Not getting the ball in the right places to guys, obviously, the turnovers, and then third-down conversions. The combination of those things make it hard to win a football game.

Q: Do have any indication on when Sam Bradford comes back?

A: No.

Q: Kyle Rudolph didn't catch the ball until the fourth quarter. Was he covered well?

A: Just a tick off. Just a tick off with Rudy. We had a few balls there that I just got to give that guy a chance. As you can see from a couple of those ones down the stretch that he made, plays that he made. I just got to put it in his direction and give him a chance. When I give him a chance he makes some big plays. He's a guy that I wish I had gone to on that last third and three, but he's an incredible player and I need to look for him more.

Q: How'd you feel about the officials no calls on pass interference?

A: Those are unfortunate breaks. We can't ever count on the officials bailing us out. We got to make plays. Whatever it is, we still need to be better on third downs. There's a lot of areas where we can work on and can't count on being bailed out by officials.

*Q: What happened on the fourth and short where the offense used a couple timeouts? *

A: The headsets were kind of a little flaky there for a few plays. Still, that's not an excuse. It's another time where you look at first and second down there, I think there was a play where we had both [Stefon] Diggs and Adam [Thielen] rolling and I wish I had that play back too. Just little things here and there that we can clean up, that we can do better, and put ourselves in a better position to win.

Q: Was the mixed communication that you had to take the timeout prior to the headset?

A: No, the headsets were kind of going in and out. Just for a couple plays there, we weren't able to communicate as well as we would like to.

Q: The next man is up if Dalvin is out. Does the offense change any with him out and how confident are you in the remaining running backs?

A: You have to ask Pat on some of that stuff, but I trust all of our backs. Whether it's Latavius [Murray], Jet [Jerick McKinnon], any of those guys, C.J. [Ham], I think they do a great job. They're all on the same page. They're all in the same meetings and do a great a job with blitz protections, as well as running the ball. I've got a 100% faith in Latavius and the rest of those guys.

Vikings Wide Receiver Adam Thielen

Q: What happened on that last play?

A: I just caught the ball and tried to turn up field and he got me from behind. But that's football, man. You have to make those plays, and you have to secure the ball.

Q: Looked like you guys were driving the drive before that, what happened?

A: Yeah, we were moving the ball. We were making plays down the field. I thought we had some good play calls and we didn't execute and that's something that we've talked about for a long time is we have to execute in those situations and when we have it close to the end zone, we have to score.

Q: It was pretty uncharacteristic to have those fumbles today wasn't it?

A: Yeah, that's something that we definitely talk about. And it's definitely something we're going to key in on moving forward because in this league, that's how you win games. You take care of the football and good things happen.

Q: There was a shift in mentality when Dalvin (Cook) went down right?

A: I don't know; I don't know if that's true. We were down by seven and I thought we were still running the football and I thought we were running effectively. I don't think that anything is going to change on our mindset. We trust the guys in that room. You obviously feel for a guy like Dalvin, who's an extremely hard worker and a great guy so hopefully everything's alright with him, and we'll be praying for him.

Q: Surprising to get this result after how you guys played last week?

A:  Yeah, I mean we knew they were a good football team, and they've been playing really well. We knew it was a great defense and I thought that we had opportunities. I thought we moved the ball really well. We just can't have turnovers. Like I said before, that's how you lose games in this league.

Q: How would you describe the emotional swings this season?

A: I think that's just the NFL. We've been here, done that plenty of times and that's just how this league works. It's a week-to-week league and you have to bring your best each week. Otherwise you'll have turnouts like tonight.

Q: Did you get a sense of what Detroit was doing well on third downs?

A: Yeah, we knew what they were doing. I mean it's the same stuff they've been doing all year. They're a good defense, they got guys that can play in the back end and they get after the quarterback. We knew what we were going to get; we just have to go out and execute.

Q: What did they do that surprised you?

A: I don't think they did anything, to be honest. We didn't make the plays, I guess. I don't know whether that was situation or what but we have to go be better. I have to be better personally. I have to get open, and that's my job. 

Vikings Defensive End Danielle Hunter

Q: Do you guys feel confident overall?

A: Definitely. We just have to keep going back and go back from the technique we know. We just have to keep moving.

Q: What was it like to have a day like today and keep Matt Stafford in the pocket?

A: That was our job to keep him in the pocket and not have him scramble out. He is a scrambler. He makes plays with his legs. That was one of our main focuses.

Q: Did you guys feel like you were on the field forever?

A: We were called on. We have to go on the field and do our jobs. Cannot complain about that.

Q: After having no sacks the first few games, did you feel like they were going to come?

A: You just have to keep going out there and eventually, you will get a sack. 

Q: How did you feel overall about the way you guys pressured Stafford?

A: We felt good. We were able to contain the pocket. We rush together as a team so we felt pretty good.

Q: How does it feel to have your personal game go so well?

A: We go out there, we play together, rush together, win together, lose together.

Q: Does the fact that you guys hurt yourselves help in some way?

A: It is just something we can learn from in the future. We cannot turn over the football. We just have to keep making plays out there.

Q: How did you feel about your deflected pass?

A: We are taught as defensive linemen, if you cannot get there, put your hands up. 

Vikings Defensive End Everson Griffen

Q: Did anything happen between you and Greg Robinson?

A: I did not talk, I just play ball. We all rush together. It did not come out like we wanted it to but we fought until the very end. It was a good game.

Q: Did Robinson say anything to you?

A: No. We just fought and played the game. It was a good battle on both sides of the ball. They came out fighting, we came out fighting. Three turnovers to no turnovers; that swayed the game. We are a team. We are going to live this one down and we are going to go out there to Chicago and battle.

Q: Is this a better Detroit team than you have seen?

A: They are a good team. There were too many mistakes by us and too many turnovers.

Q: How worried are you about Dalvin Cook?

A: Worried. He started off strong, he is an excellent running back. I pray for him that everything comes out negative. I just hope he bounces back. The train is going to keep on moving. We have (Latavius) Murray, Jet [McKinnon] and we have C.J. Ham. Next guy up. We hope Cook comes back healthy.

Q: Did you watch the replay of the injury?

A: I did. It did not look too good but at the end of the day I am not a medical person.

Q: Is this the best you have seen the Lions run the ball on you?

A: Yes. We did not wrap up. We just have to keep fighting. I was getting tripled or doubled but that is the way you play the game. You just have find a way. That is why you have the front four. We fight together. We contained the pocket pretty well.

Vikings Tight End Kyle Rudolph

Q: Wasn't it kind of uncharacteristic that you were giving the ball back to them?

A: It was. You know, when you're playing a team as good as Detroit and anybody in this league for that matter, you can't win games when you're 0-3 in the turnover margin. Our defense played their tails off all game. To only give up 14 points in the situations that we put them in, putting the ball on the ground back to back times. With all that being said, we had the ball on the five-yard line with a chance to score. This team is never going to give up, the fight that we have in this locker room is incredible. And we still have two division games in a row coming up so if we make it through this stretch 2-1, I think everybody would take that. 

Q: Was there any change in the huddle after Dalvin Cook went down?

A: Not at all. You hate to see guys go down, especially young guys that are playing so well and really coming into their own. Unfortunately, that's part of our game. If you're around this game long enough, you're going to deal with it. You hate to see it, and I talked to him a little bit, you have to be there for him. That's the worst part of our game is when you're hurt and you can't be out there with your team.

Q: As someone who's been injured, what's that like?

A: It's the worst, it's the worst thing that you go through in this game. Like I said, when you're not out there with your team and you can't help make plays. We only have 16 opportunities and that's not even guaranteed because you might not be out there every week. You put in so much work all year round and everything that we do is for Sundays. And when you can't go out on a Sunday and help your team, it's hard.

Q: Did you guys have a lot of confidence when you got down to the five-yard line?

A: Yeah, I mean we really felt like we just stopped ourselves all day. And if we just did what we do and execute the plays that Pat (Shurmur) calls then we'd be able to move the ball right down the field. And that's what we did, unfortunately we didn't finish with a score. 

Q: Is seeing all the opportunities that you guys had on film going to frustrate you?

A: Absolutely. You look at putting the ball on the ground three times, turning it over inside the five and not getting points and still losing the game 14-7 against a really good team. We were close, we were right there and had a chance, with all that being said. This will definitely be one that you go back and watch. The good thing is that we still have a lot of football left in front of us and the last time we were in the playoffs we were 2-2 going in to week five as well. So, we've gone on runs before.

Q: Do you find consolation with two divisional games coming up and knowing you made mistakes that you guys can control? 

A: Absolutely. Unfortunately in our two losses this year we've felt like we've really beat ourselves. We have to stop doing that. In this league, Coach Zimmer says it all the time, if you just don't beat yourself you're going to win half of your games. We have to stop beating ourselves and execute the plays that are called. We're getting great plays called with great opportunities we just have to stop beating ourselves. 

Q: With all the turnovers, what was the issue today?

A: Sometimes you just have those days. You know, guys aren't trying to put the ball on the ground, they're trying to make plays to help our team win games. Sometimes that happens. We've been so good at keeping the ball and ball security has always been one of our top priorities on offense, so I'm not worried about that we'll get that fixed and we'll move forward.  

 

Vikings Running Back Latavius Murray

Q: What were your emotions when you saw Dalvin Cook down on the field?

A: I felt bad. Any time a teammate goes down, especially in this group, especially a friend of mine, you feel bad and you feel for him. So I was concerned.

Q: When you signed here, did you sign with the expectation that you'd be the starting running back?

A: Yeah, I always have that expectation. As a competitor, regardless if they were going to draft anybody or not from anywhere else, I'm going to have that expectation to start. I want to get on the field.

Q: How is your rhythm right now?

A: To be honest, I don't think it really matters how it is. I think I've got to be ready. Just like today, unfortunate things happen, so it's not about whether or not I'm ready or what rhythm I have; I need to be ready when my number is called.

Q: What have you been told about Dalvin? He's on crutches obviously and had his knee wrapped, it certainly looks ominous.

A: I haven't been told anything. I also haven't asked so that's that. 

Q: Did you have a chance to say something to him when he came off?

A: No, I had to go back to go in and get ready.

Q: Are you surprised that you guys were only able to score one touchdown here in this game?

A: We turned the ball over three times, so it's hard to score when you're giving the ball away. So I guess it's not surprising when you turn the ball over.

Q: You've shown you can run, block and catch. Will the offense have to change any if you're back there and not Dalvin? Or do they really not have to make any changes?

A: I would hope not. I have a lot of confidence in myself and I believe that the coaches have confidence in me that I can catch the ball, run the ball and block in this offense and do all the things we have been doing.

Q: It's kind of frustrating when it's one step up and two steps back, right? When you have the ball and then you guys lose the ball?

A: Yeah, like you said, I think it's very hard to win games when you beat yourself and put the ball in their hands. They have a good offense, so giving them the ball three times at the cost of us turning the ball over, then it's very difficult to win.

Q: Is it easier going forward then knowing that some of these were in your own control?

A: Most definitely. I think that it's correctable and we've got a really good team. I think everyone in here knows that everybody believes that. Again, it's one game, but we've got to continue to get better and protect the ball. Then we will hopefully have no more games like this where we are beating ourselves.

Q: You've had ankle issues, but have you ever had a knee injury?

A: I did in college once. It was an ACL injury in my second year but that's way behind me now.  

Vikings Linebacker Eric Kendricks

Q. Is it frustrating your team wasn't able to make some key interceptions?

A. Those are great plays, nonetheless. Like I said, I have plays I wish I could go back and personally do better. I just have to go back and look in the mirror. That's what it's all about. Take ownership and get back to it.

Q. Did they run the ball better than a typical Detroit team?

A. Yeah, they had some good looks. The running back was running his butt off breaking a couple tackles here and there. It just didn't come out for us.

Vikings Wide Receiver Stefon Diggs

Q: How tough is it to lose a close game after turning the ball over multiple times?

A: It's tough, for sure. We're going to feel it, we're going to think about it. But tomorrow is a new day, we're going to watch the tape and determine why we didn't win it. We had too many turnovers, but stuff is going to happen, adversity is going to hit and it's all about how you bounce back. I love how we fought. We did what we could, but we came up short, that's all. 

Q: Would you have thought that scoring only seven points today would be possible?

A: I don't know. It's football. My teammates played good ball. We could have done a lot better, and from here on out we're going to try and do so. 

Q: How tough is it to see a teammate like Dalvin Cook go down with an injury?

A: DC [Dalvin Cook] is a hell of a runner. We also lose his mentality, the persona he brings to the team. We believe in him always. It sucks to see him go down, but we also got to have the "next man up" mentality, because there's a whole lot of football left. I trust the guys that we have back there. They'll get the job done. Of course it hurts, but you got to keep moving forward.

Q: Do you think some of the turnovers were a result of pressing too much?

A: Not necessarily. If it was, then hopefully we learn from it, but it's all about the learning part. It's still early in the season, I feel like we have a good team. We fought out there. Some things didn't go our way, but we're going to see them again.

Q: How much does the offense change when Dalvin Cook is not available?

A: I wouldn't think too much. I feel like they got 100 percent faith in the running backs that we got other than Dalvin. But I don't call the plays. 

Q: The team has been through a lot of injuries since you've been here. Has that helped the team's resolve, knowing that you can overcome adversity?

A: For sure. You know we got some new faces on this team, every year there is always going to be new faces. But it's the same mentality, our coach starts us off. Next man up, we're going to believe in the guy. Case [Keenum] was up after Sam [Bradford] went down. So you know how we kind of handle that when somebody goes down. We're pulling for our guy to come back, but until then, we got to move forward.

Q: Have you learned how to be patient when penalties are not called your way?

A: I feel like I'm still young. You're not going to get a lot of calls, and that's ok. You got to work for those. A guy holding you isn't an excuse not to catch the ball. I would never call it an excuse. If it happens, it happens, and of course you're going to have a reaction to it when it does happen. But next play mentality, if he holds, he holds, if he doesn't he doesn't. I don't care, I need to catch the ball too.

Q: What was the difference for the offense compared to last week's game?

A: I actually feel like we moved the ball really well. Of course they got a good defense, but it's a new team. We don't play the same team twice. Last week, we played a different team. This team is prepared just like any other team. I feel like we moved the ball pretty well, especially running the ball, we just had a couple of miscues. But other than that, I feel like we did a good job. It's just back to the drawing board, we're going to iron out the wrinkles and get things done.

Q: How did you feel Case Keenum performed today?

A: I think he did a good job. I'm not a quarterback coach or a quarterback analyst, you guys probably do better job at that than I do, but I'm behind my guy 100 percent. He did everything that he could, especially back there running around.

Vikings Cornerback Xavier Rhodes

Q. Is this one of those games you thought you played good enough to win?

A. We lost; there isn't anything else to it. There is nothing left to explain. We lost as a team and we just need to get better. Get on the field and get better and we are about to take on the Bears.

Q. Was the battle better you and the receivers heated?

A. We were out there playing ball. There is nothing else to it. We were playing Viking ball, being aggressive and trying to get three-and-outs.

Q. Did you guys miss out on some interceptions?

A. Oh yeah. We missed out on a lot of turnovers, but like I said, we have to look at the film and correct where we messed up at and definitely need to win the turnover battle.

Q. How do you feel the defense did as a whole?

A. We lost as a team. There is no defense or offense; it's a whole team effort. It's never going to be one win for the defense; it's never that. We lost as a team, lost as a whole. We all played bad. When we come together and win as a team, then we will have all played good.

Q. Have you had a chance to talk to Dalvin Cook after the injury?

A. No, I was just about to do that. I'm about to go find him.

Q. How do you stop these inconsistences through the first four weeks?

A. We just need to be consistent as a team. Minus the mistakes, the penalties, win the turnover battles, get off [the field] on third downs, convert third downs, scoring in the red zone, stopping them in the red zone, there is a lot. It was back and forth. One week we're good; the next we we're not. We need to come together as a team and win in all phases. 

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