Postgame Quotes: Vikings-Saints

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

I thought there was a lot of really good things out there tonight. Unfortunately, some of the turnovers, the fumble right before the half and then the interception for the touchdown, kind of put us behind the eight ball. I thought we battled, I thought there was a lot of awful good things. Offensively, they really didn't slow us down at all. We moved the ball well. Defensively, other than the wildcat throw, I thought we took away the big plays pretty well. It just didn’t get the job done.

Q: Did the fumble at the end of the half impact your decision not to try and drive the ball down the field with 30 seconds left?

A: Yeah.

Q: What did you observe on the pick-six, it looked as if Stefon Diggs stopped his route, is that what you saw?

A: I’m not going to evaluate things. You guys can do that.

Q: Are you worried at all about clock management?

A: That’s a problem? That I didn't try and score with 30 seconds left and the ball is backed up?

Q: What about the five-minute drive when you got the ball back with nine minutes left?

A: I think you are 100 percent totally wrong with clock management. I go through it every day. I think you are 100 percent totally wrong.

Q: How big of a blow was the fumble at the end of the first half?

A: Well, it was disappointing because we had a chance to score there. If we score there, then I think, I don’t remember what the score was, 17-13 or something. We go up, who knows, seven or ten points up.

Q: What went into your decision to go for it on 4th-and-1?

A: I told the team that I was going to be aggressive and that every fourth down that was close, we were going to go for it. It didn’t work out, so what.

Q: Do you think they beat you or do you think you lost the game?

A: We made some mistakes, yes. We turned the ball over, yes. This is still a good football team, even in here it seems like a morgue. This is a good football team. These guys fought their rear ends off tonight and I’m proud of them.

Q: How do you think the defense did against Drew Brees?

A: For the most part, I thought it was pretty good. Took away their big plays, they’re a big time shot play team and we took those away. I thought some of these young guys that came in there played well.

Q: How do you think Holton Hill and Eric Wilson performed?

A: It’s hard for me to evaluate.

Q: Given how uncharacteristic those big mistakes were, given the players that committed them, is it easier to move on from those?

A: I don't think Adam [Thielen] is going to fumble the ball very often. Sometimes when guys are in zone and man-to-man, you have different route combinations that you’re supposed to do. Guy made a mistake. Guy dropped a ball. Other than that, Thielen played pretty damn good.

Q: What is your evaluation of Everson Griffen?

A: I don't know. I’ve got so many things going. You guys want me to evaluate guys 10 minutes after the game and I just came in there and I’m supposed to evaluate every player when I’ve got a million things going on in the game. I’m not going to do it.

Q: Was there an effort to limit his snap count?

A: Yes.

Vikings Tight End Kyle Rudolph

Q: Do you think the Saints played with extra energy today after what happened the last time they played here?

A: No.

Q: How tough of a loss is this in terms of playoff seeding?

A: Yeah, it’s tough. I will take this team anywhere and we will play with anyone. The Saints are one of the best teams in the NFC and we beat them up and down the field. In the end, we just beat ourselves with turnovers.  

Q: Are those last few drives at the end of the game situations that you wish could be quicker and use less time on the clock?

A: Yeah. We were going as fast as we can. They couldn’t have played any softer zone coverage, especially when they were protecting a 17-point lead.

Q: When you play a team like the Saints and you have self-inflicted wounds that effected the game, is it better knowing that it is on you as a team to fix?

A: Yeah. We wish we wouldn’t have self-destructed. There is a lot of positive to take away from this game. One positive is that we have a really good football team. That Saints team is one of the best teams and we out played them tonight. We have to look at the good, take the good, study the bad and try to eliminate the bad moving forward.

Q: You had Everson Griffin back in practice this week. How good was it to see him back in action today?

A: It is awesome to see him back out there. He provides such a spark and energy. His smile and his energy are contagious and it’s great to have him back out there.

Vikings Defensive End Danielle Hunter

Q: How big of a swing is it, from intercepting Drew Brees for the first time this season to the fumble recovery and the return just before the end of the half?

A: We did a lot of good things, we did a lot of bad things, but we shot ourselves in the foot and we just have to learn from it.

Q: Does game this show how wide open the race for the NFC is going to be?

A: Anytime you come in on the weekend to play a team on a Sunday, any team can win or lose. You just have to go out there and give it your all.

Q: How was it getting Everson Griffen back?

A: Definitely, it is going to take some time for him to get in there and just keep doing what he does, but he is going to go back to his old ways.

Vikings Safety Harrison Smith

Q: Does the defense take anything away from the fact that you were able to hold [Drew] Brees down and keep their running game in check?

A: That’s what we expect from ourselves. There’s no moral victories out here. We take the good and try to continue doing that.

Q: They were pretty difficult when they got ahead, weren’t they?

A: They’re a good football team. They have one of the greats back there leading them. We just have to keep the pressure there.

Q: It looks like this division is going to be pretty crazy this season?

A: You don’t want to rely on those things, but it’s a long season. No matter how good or how bad the season has been since I’ve been in the league, things can shake out different ways so there’s no panic mode we just have to get back to work.

Q: I know it wasn’t the result you wanted, but how did it feel to be back out there with Everson Griffen?

A: It was awesome, that’s our guy. We have to continue getting back in the fold and getting back out there.

Minnesota Vikings Defensive End Everson Griffen

Q: How does it feel personally to get back on the field with your teammates?

A: I’m here to play good ball. It felt good to be back on the field and to be back at US Bank Stadium and to be back with the best fans in the world. It’s a disappointing loss, but we have to get back to the drawing board. But it felt amazing to be back out there.

Q: The fans gave you a lot of attention, that had to feel good right?

A: It does feel good, to see that people care. I really appreciate that, there’s a lot of love out there for me. My whole goal is to get back to my old form. Knock the rust off and get back to my grind.

Q: Can you make that many mistakes and still beat that team?

A: We have to protect the ball, I had two penalties today and we turned over the ball. Stuff like that can’t be done to beat a good team like that. We have to get back to the basics, protect the ball because turnovers really effect the game.

Q: Did this game take on more meaning for you than other games might have?

A: You know I’m just happy to be back here with my teammates. That’s my number one goal, just to get back here with my teammates, and back where I belong, and that feels good.

Vikings Quarterback Kirk Cousins

Can you talk through what you saw on the interception with Stefon Diggs?

A: We will go back and talk about it internally. It was just an unfortunate play. That is how this game is played. You can do a lot of good things. But we define critical errors as turnovers, fumbles, interceptions, occasionally a sack. Critical errors really end up determining outcomes of games and seasons. We are always trying to avoid those while still being aggressive, still being explosive and trying to go make plays. Finding that balance we will always continue to coach and work towards. That was certainly a play that had a big impact on the game.

Q: What transpired on that interception play?

A: I’m playing so I’m not watching the replay or anything. You guys would know better than me.

Q: Did you see Stefon Diggs stop?

A: I’m just playing to play fast. We’ll talk about it internally as to what we have to do.

Q: Do you feel that without those turnovers that you outplayed the Saints?

A: I don’t know. I would have go back and watch the film to really be able to say something like that. That’s a good football team. I’m never going to stand up here and say we outplayed somebody that we lost to. That’s not fair to them. We did a lot of good things. There is a lot of reason to be optimistic now at the halfway point. I feel we have a really good football team. There is obviously a lot we will have to talk about tomorrow morning when we cover the film.

Q: What did you say to Adam Thielen after he has that fumble?

A: “You’re the best player on our football team. It happens. Let’s have the best second half you ever had.” That is the mindset you have to have anytime stuff happens.

Q: What do you think accounts for the hurry up situations where the execution hasn’t always been there?

A: We probably would have to sit down with a clicker and watch the film and talk about it in individual situations as to what you are referring to. We certainly want to go as fast as we possibly can. We don’t want to waste time. Would love to score when we’re down, would love to score as quickly as possible but I go back to what I said a few comments early. We’re all going to try to avoid critical errors. When you’re trying to go for the homerun or score quickly or not bleed as much clock, you’re also going to open yourself up to sacks and interceptions and fumbles. Trying to find that balance is something you’re always doing as a player.

Q: Do you feel like you took too much time with the drive with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter?

A: I don’t know what to tell you. We are trying to get down there as best as we can. I would’ve loved to score on the first play but I threw it somewhere else and we just kind of marched.

Q: What did you think overall on going for fourth downs?

A: I thought it was a great job of having a plan on Tuesday and Wednesday and sticking to it. Coach [Mike] Zimmer and Coach [John] DeFilippo said, “We have to be aggressive. Don’t be surprised if we go for it on fourth down this week.” I love that they stuck to that plan. They believed in it and they had a plan and certainly there were one or two that we didn’t get but there were a couple others that it proved to be the right move.

Q: Did that have to do with playing the Saints and Drew Brees and have to be more aggressive?

A: We didn’t want to get in a game where we were trading field goals for touchdowns or had an opportunity and didn’t take advantage. We do have a lot of respect for them and felt the need to stay on the field, move the football and then get as many points as we possibly could.

Q: Is it odd for the receiving corps that has been so good to make a couple errors?

A: I think that is what I guess is interesting about it is they have been so good that you take for granted the fact that they’re human and mistakes happen. But great players and really enjoy playing with them. We have a good locker room and a good group of guys who stay together and play hard for one another and that is going to be a big piece of our story here down the stretch the last eight games.

Vikings Wide Receiver Adam Thielen

Q: How much did that fumble hurt you?

A: Obviously, that is probably the biggest reason we lost the game. When you have the momentum going into the half, going to score points with a chance to get the ball in the second half, that is a huge play. It can’t happen. Obviously, I am going to take ownership of it, and I think the most important thing is in my best games and my worst games I play for the Lord. Obviously, I am not happy about it. But, I am going to try to do what I can do to help this team win, and obviously that wasn’t it.

Q: You still managed to fight to come back, what can you say about that?

A: I think that is something that we all know in here, we have the confidence that we are a really good football team. But, you can’t make mistakes in this league and especially when you’re in a critical situation and in the red zone. I am going to think about that one for a while, and I am definitely disappointed in myself.

Q: Are you surprised how quickly the game got away?

A: No, I’m not surprised. When you play a really good football team and you make mistakes, that is what happens. We were just playing ball and trying to go on to the next play, and try to make plays. I think we did a good job of that, but like I said you can’t make mistakes against a really good football team.

Q: Eight straight games with 100 - plus receiving yards, how do you feel about that?

A: Not good. I think I have said this eight weeks in a row, 100 yards doesn’t mean anything unless you are winning games and helping the team win. I didn’t do that tonight.

Q: Do you feel like you beat yourselves with the turnovers?

A: 100 percent. We beat ourselves. All credit to them though, that is a really good football team. They made a lot of plays, and they were able to capitalize on the turnovers. That is how this league works, usually the team who wins the turnover battle wins the game.

Vikings Wide Receiver Stefon Diggs

Q: Adam [Thielen] was talking about how you can’t make errors against a team like this. Do you feel like you guys beat yourself in away?

A: 100 percent, they have a great football team and we have a good football team as well. In a critical situation we can’t make errors and we did. All the receivers, everyone on the offense is selfish and we always put it on ourselves. Everyone’s individual job is to take care of it. You want to be the best that you can and you want it for yourself. We have to get rid of the self- inflicted movements is what we call it. We shoot ourselves in the foot. We had a turnover and I remember the play. It was all on me and the guy got an easy pick. Maybe if we could get that play back things would be different.

Q: How many times have you done the same thing and it turned into a catch?

A: We will save that for another day.

Q: Adam Thielen is taking the fumble pretty hard. What do you say to him?

A: Adam [Thielen] didn’t lose the game; we lost the game as a unit. Adversity is going to hit and things always come up. It’s how you fight back and answer. I have 100 percent faith in him. I don’t even think about that play because he makes too many. I am behind him all the way. He has that dog mindset and he will bounce back and he did. For me that is my brother and I support him 100 percent.

Q: Did you think about the catch during this game?

A: I wasn’t really worried about that. I was thinking about this week. Each game is a new game and this game is something to me. I want it back right now.

Vikings Wide Receiver Laqoun Treadwell

Q: That fourth - and - one play, is that just Marshon Lattimore making a good play?

A: Yeah, that was a good play by him. Initially I won the route, but he just made a great play on the ball.

Q: Where is the confidence with this team right now?

A: The confidence is very high. I do not think that will ever be a question. When we were down by 13, nobody looked worried. Everyone was ready for that next play. We have the Detroit Lions next weekend, we have to move forward and learn from our mistakes.

Q: This very good receiving corps that made some uncharacteristic mistakes tonight. Do you think you guys will bounce back from this?

A: Yeah, we will bounce back. We are workers and that is the number one thing for us. We are going to work and get better. Like you said, we had some uncharacteristic plays that you saw from us out there. Even my penalty on the sideline. That is something I haven’t done. It is an emotional game and I have to control my emotions.

Q: Do you think this will be a motivated receiver group this week?

A: We are always motivated. This one stings because we know we missed a lot of plays out there and we let the team down. We have to come out on fire next week.

Vikings Guard Mike Remmers

Q: How did it feel after losing this game?

A: It was disappointing. We had our home crowd here and they were out there loud and helping us out as much as they can, but we made a couple errors that cost us the game.

Q: How difficult is it when you have shifts in the line? Riley Reiff’s missed some games and now you have Tom Compton out. How is that for the continuity?

A: I think Danny [Isidora] and Brian [O’Neill] have done an absolutely amazing job stepping in there, and they’re not perfect, but no one on that field is perfect, we make mistakes too. Those guys put in maximum effort each play, so I’m proud of those guys stepping up in there.

Q: Did you think the last time the Saints were here—the miracle play—that they might be coming in extra fired up after what happened to them last time?

A: You’d have to ask those guys. That might have been motivation for them at some point, but we just looked at it as another game. It’s the most important game of the season, and we just take it one week at a time.

Q: Is it surprising to you that just a couple of plays just that fast you’re going in for what looks like adding to your need in just two plays?

A: That’s the NFL. Everything can change just like that. It’s just an unfortunate part of the game, but we’re going to learn from this, grow from this, we did a lot of good stuff out there of today, and we’re going to go off that and learn from our mistakes.

Vikings Defensive End Stephen Weatherly

Q: When it is all said and done, it is a game of turnovers. Usually the team that turns the ball over the most does not win.

A: Exactly, like you just said, you can win every other statistical category in a game, but if you lose the turnover battle, there is a high chance that you are going to lose the game. That is definitely something that we have to work on as a team. Defense creating more turnovers and offense limiting turnovers.

Q: What was it like to have Everson Griffen back?

A: It was great. Definitely an emotional plug for everyone out there. He was able to get out there and mix it up and make some great plays. I think he had a couple tackles and a handful of pressures. It will take him a while to get back into the groove of things, but we are excited to have him back.

Q: It looks like this division is going to be a marathon, yeah?

A: Most definitely, I feel like the healthiest team is going to win. It is super close, so we need to go in and execute. We have a big game next week, it is a divisional game so have to go ahead, tighten up and buckle up versus the [Detroit] Lions.

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