Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
I thought this was a really good team win and when I say team I'm including our fans. I thought our fans did an outstanding job tonight. They helped us defensively quite a bit in the crowd noise. You know this team studied real hard this week, they prepared real hard this week. I thought they practiced really good and I'm proud of the way that they came out and performed tonight. Questions?
Q: What allowed to get those three plays in a row eventually for the touchdown?
A: Well they gave us some coverages that we were looking at and I thought that was big to go in there, [Stefon] Diggs made a great catch obviously on the touchdown, but they gave us some coverages we had a chance to hit and the coaches just, the coaches upstairs felt like we were going to get those coverages in there. I thought Sam [Bradford] played outstanding tonight. I thought Dalvin [Cook] played outstanding tonight. I thought our offensive line played outstanding and the receivers made some great catches. All and all I thought it was a good night offensively.
Q: What does it mean for Sam Bradford to have that kind of game Week 1?
A: Well I hope he has them 16 weeks. You know I keep telling everybody, Sam is as accurate as there is, took good care of the football, made great decisions tonight, got us in and out of a lot of the right plays. Again, the offensive line really gave him time. He was able to hit some of the underneath things, we were able to hit some shots down the field. We got [Adam] Thielen on some big plays. I just thought Pat [Shurmur] did a nice job of calling the game and I thought we did a nice job executing.
Q: Those five guys on the offensive line didn't play together in the preseason; Did you see them come together this week?
A: Well they played together in the Seattle game a little bit and they've been practicing this way for quite a while. I thought, a lot of the things that we did it was easy for them to communicate those things. I'm hopeful that they'll continue to get better.
Q: Did you get an explanation on the Tom Johnson penalty?
A: What he told me was he lunged with his shoulder below the knee. That is a penalty, he told me what he saw and obviously we'll look at it on tape and go from there. The officials were good tonight, they communicated well with me all night. If they missed one they told me what they saw so I thought they did a good job.
Q: How important was your goal line offense tonight?
A: We spent a lot of time in the offseason on 3rd down conversions in the redzone. Offensively we got them, defensively we stopped them. Inside the 5 yard line we spent an awful lot of time both sides of the ball this offseason and it showed why it's so important tonight. I thought that was big, I thought going down to score right before the half and then getting the field goal in the 2nd half, kind of starting out and doubling up on them, I thought that was big. We've been putting a lot of these situations in the game, even that last one at the end where they did score, the clock was our friend at that point, we're up three scores so we were just trying to get the clock to wind.
Q: On the drive before half you were backed up pretty deep, did you just want to get in position?
A: I did say I don't want to give the ball back to [Drew] Brees but I'm not going to stifle in that situation. I obviously know who the quarterback is that we're playing and I know his ability level. It was important and I think we were up 6 or something at the point but I thought we took our shots and made them.
Q: A big game for Dalvin Cook, what kind of confidence can that provide him?
A: Well I think the offensive line did an excellent job. We sprung him, and I know he had some big runs in there which was good. The thing I appreciate the most about him is his yards after contact. When he gets hit it's 2nd and 8 and it's 2nd and 5. He falls forward for 3, he keeps his feet moving, he drives. He's a tough, tough back. He's a tough competitor. Typically he catches the ball, I know he dropped one or two tonight but typically he catches the ball very well. Just keep trying to get better.
Q: When you have Stefon Diggs making some difficult catches how much of a lift does that give Sam Bradford?
A: Obviously Diggs made some good plays and [Adam] Thielen made some good plays and [Kyle] Rudolph made some good plays, but I think it just gives the offense in general a life. We ran the ball better, we hardly had any negative plays, I think we had one sack. I think all those things add to confidence. It's good to see that the hard work that the coaches and the players are doing is starting to pay off, and obviously Sam [Bradford] played great tonight.
Q: You've talked about explosive plays this offseason and you got a lot tonight. What's the key to that?
A: First of all, the coaches had some great calls in there tonight. The communication was outstanding tonight between the offensive staff and the people in the box. I thought that was big. They gave us some coverages that we could take advantage of and we had a lot of run/pass options in there. We could of ran the ball we could of thrown the ball and when you're running the football, it helps to accentuate big plays.
Q: Were you surprised at the amount of single coverage some of your guys got?
A: No. Some of the coverages they played they've played quite a bit. They played a lot of them last year, a lot in the preseason. We hit a run on a zero blitz, we hit a nice run on one of those 3rd down in the redzone where we ran the ball and we got 6 or 8 or something on that. That was big. It was a good team win, it was a good team win.
Q: Were you bracing for Sam Bradford to chest bump you after that touchdown pass?
A: No I was good. I didn't want to hurt him.
Q: Can you talk about Terance Newman and what he provides for you in the nickel role?
A: Well he's an all-around, he can play safety.. we did do some cramping tonight, some of our defensive players cramped up so he was able to go in and play some different spots.
Vikings Running Back Dalvin Cook
Q: What's the energy like the first time you step on the field in U.S. Bank Stadium?
A: It's crazy. When you got guys in the huddle, we're just ready to go get after it. We're in the locker room, anxious and ready to play. It's crazy. You're anxious, just ready to go out there and compete.
Q: You experienced Vikings fans during the preseason games, but the atmosphere was a bit different tonight. What was it like to hear the fans tonight?
A: Unbelievable. Like I've said, this facility is crazy. This stadium is crazy, and the fans make it even better. Going out there, hearing the chants and hearing everything around you when you make plays is unbelievable.
Q: After the offense wasn't able to score in the preseason, how did it feel to be able to change that tonight?
A: We just had to keep getting better every week, and I think we did that. Coach Zimmer comes in and tells us what we need to improve on, and we go in and we improve the little things. The stuff that he tells us we need to improve we work on in practice. Eventually it was going to carry over to the game if we just kept getting it right at practice.
Q: You seemed to get stronger as the game progressed. Do you think that was due to the line opening up holes, or were you just seeing things better?
A: You got to give a lot of credit to those guys up front. They did a great job tonight opening up holes, pass blocking for Sam [Bradford], and making sure that the playmakers could make plays. You got to give it to those guys up front, they did a great job tonight.
Q: Given some of the speculation around the offensive line, do you feel they answered the call to perform?
A: I feel like they answered the bell, first game. They answered the bell coming out of the gate. Whatever the question was, I think those guys did a very good job. I know those guys because I practice with them every day, and I know what they're capable of doing. They went out and showed the world what they're capable of doing.
Q: Some of your teammates mentioned tonight they wanted to see you get into the end zone.
A: It just goes to show, all of us want to see each other succeed at what we do. We compete for touchdowns, and that's a good thing. This whole offense is competing for touchdowns, and that's an awesome thing when everyone competes for touchdowns. That's just going to make the score go up. It's a good thing that we're competing for touchdowns off of it.
Q: How important do you think tonight's performance was in order to show other teams what this squad is capable of?
A: It's definitely good to show that we can go out and run the ball, pass the ball, and that we're leaving everything from last year in the past. It's a new slate for us, a new team, and new demeanor for this team. We're just going to work. The one thing I like about this team, we work hard. No matter what we're going to go back to the drawing board and just keep working from scratch.
Q: Just getting 100 yards in a game is a benchmark for any running back, and you achieved that tonight in your first game.
A: I just want to win. If I didn't have a hundred yards, we got that "W", and that's what is most important for this team. That's all that I think about, winning games. A loss, I don't sleep. But winning games, I can go to bed, put my head on the pillow and go to sleep, be good. It's good that we got the confidence that we can run the football, that was important.
Q: People talk about you as the man replacing Adrian Peterson. In a game like this with him on the other sideline, what was it like stepping in as the next running back?
A: They drafted me, and they took a chance on me bringing me in to the organization. It's important for me to come out here and compete for those guys. Adrian was phenomenal for this organization, and you can't put nothing past him. But I'm here now, and I'm just trying to help this team win football games.
Q: You met Adrian after the game. What did he say to you?
A: He just told me to keep balling, and I told him that I'm just following in the GOAT's footsteps. That's what I'm doing. I'm learning, but there's a lot to learn, and there's a lot to learn from him. He did some great things with this organization that he put on tape that I like to watch. I'm going to learn a lot of stuff from him, and what he was thinking on a lot of runs. He just doesn't know how he's impacted the game.
Q: What was it like running out of that tunnel?
A: Phenomenal. You see that smoke going in the air and you get the chills. This stadium is unbelievable, it gives me the chills every time I go out there. I love it.
Q: Was this the first time you've met Adrian Peterson.
A: Yes, first time.
Q: You said you were anxious coming into tonight's game. Do you feel relieved now?
A: Yeah, once I got going I felt loose. The first drive, the first couple of hits, I just kind of got my feet under me, just played football.
Vikings Quarterback Sam Bradford
Q: How was it for you to open the season like this?
A: I think it's big for us. I think anytime that you can start the season with a win, in front of our crowd, play the way that we did tonight, really complimentary football. Our defense did a really good job tonight keeping them out of the end zone and then offensively we were able to put some points up. It's something we've been talking about all off season long, finishing games. I thought we did that tonight.
Q: Was the game plan to go more vertical or was that a result of the flow of the game?
A: I think we had some shots in the game plan, but we kind of felt them out in the first quarter. Saw some looks that we could take advantage of. I thought our guys outside did a great job getting open, beating man coverage, finding soft spots in the zone. We were able to create some explosive plays based on what we say early in the game.
Q: What did you see that gave you the confidence to go long early on?
A: Like I said, early in the game we weren't sure what to expect being their first game of the year. I think once we got settled in and figured out how they were going to try to stop us we felt like we had some good beaters up for their man, for their two deep stuff. Our guys up front really played great tonight. They kept me clean all night long they gave me plenty of time to sit back there and evaluate things and find the open receiver and then they did a great job in the run game, especially at the end of the game to be able to finish the way they did. I think a lot of it honestly started up front. Our guys up front played great. They gave me time. When I've got time to sit back there and evaluate things I've got all the confidence in the world that our guys are going to win.
Q: What did you see from the offensive line in the huddle?
A: Like I said, all off season in the building we feel great about those guys up front. We've seen it during OTAs, we've seen it during training camp. I know we didn't play great as an offense during the preseason games. We've seen what we're capable of doing. I think those guys came out tonight. I think we had a good week of preparation. Like I said, we weren't really sure what to expect tonight. We talked a lot about playing by rule and making sure we were on the same page. Those guys up front they did a good job all week just making sure they were prepared. I think it showed tonight. They played fast, they played confident, we were in and out of the huddle, the tempo was great tonight, we were getting to the line early. I think we put pressure on them.
Q: How pivotal was the drive before halftime?
A: Obviously, when we got the ball back there the first goal is to get it out of there and flip the field position. But then when they start calling timeouts and giving us a little more time, obviously we knew once we got that first 1st down we were going into two-minute and we were going to try and make something happen. Again, it's something that we've repped, it's something that we've talked about, end of half, end of game stuff. We've done a lot of situational stuff in OTAs and training camp this year. I thought our guys responded really well. I think going down there it put us up 16-3 or 16-6, I'm not sure, but going into half knowing we were getting the ball again coming out of the half I think that was kind of a momentum shifter for us.
Q: Adam Thielen said you changed some things at the line. How much did that play into you going long?
A: There were a few of them today, one of Adam's deep ones. We saw a coverage that we had saw on tape and honestly we hoped they played it because I thought Adam [Thielen] was a good matchup in the slot being able to matchup either way. I thought Pat called a great game tonight. He had checks and things for me to get in and out of and it gave us an opportunity to take advantage of what we were seeing.
Q: Looked like you showed more emotion today. Do you agree?
A: You know, maybe. It wasn't an effort. I think anytime you start the season, you know, there's a lot of emotions built up inside of you. I think there's a lot of excitement to get out there and play. I think you obviously want to go out there and play well being the first game of the year. I think for us to go out there and play the way we did it was just exciting and fun to be a part of that.
Q: What is the most unique trait about Stefon Diggs?
A: Diggs can do really everything in our offense, which I think is a little bit unique about him. We feel comfortable with him. He's got the speed to be a vertical threat and run down the field and run go's and posts, you know, he's got the quickness to run option routes, to run different stuff underneath. We saw early in the game with him running some drags, coming across the field and out, running linebackers. I think his ability that allows us to move him all over our formations and use him in different spots is what's unique about Diggs.
Q: Was there anything particular in that 3-play drive that you saw?
A: Honestly, I think those couple of plays got us going. The first play to Thielen was something we had seen in the first couple of drives or the first I can't remember, we had seen how they were trying to play that personal grouping, we felt good about that, once that happen it opened the door a little bit and opened things up for us.
Q: Is Stefon Diggs a guy you throw it up to when he's in a single coverage?
A: I think him and Thielen both, from our time together from last year and building on that this year, I have a lot of confidence in those guys and I've seen them make a lot of plays whether it be in games or it be in training camp. If both of those guys are singled there's a good chance I'm probably going to throw it their way just because I do feel very confident they're going to go out and get it.
Q: What do the dynamic looks from the offense mean going forward?
A: You know, I think it's always great to come out and play the way we did being the first game. Like I said, I think there was a lot of talk outside of our building. I know we didn't play too well in the preseason games but we were very confident in the progress we were making from OTAs to training camp. From the way we were playing, I saw it in our guys every day. I think tonight was the first time it translated onto the field. I think we have the capability to do that on a regular basis. If the guys upfront play the way they did, they kept me clean all night, they opened up holes in the run game and allowed us to use some play action. I thought we were pretty multiple in our looks tonight going spread, going 22, going 21 so hopefully that's something we can continue to do.
Q: How is Dalvin Cook's ability help the offense?
A: I think he went for 127 tonight and I mean for his first game as a rookie, I should be more surprised by that but I'm probably not just because of how talented I think he is and because what we've all seen from him since he got here. You can't really say enough about him, to be able to come in and play as many snaps as he did to keep pounding and pounding and finally break a few at the end. That last drive was big and to be able to finish the game in victory says a lot of our offensive line and about him and their willingness to go out there and finish that thing the right way.
Vikings Wide Receiver Stefon Diggs
Q: Did you take what they were giving you or was that the plan to really open things up tonight?
A: I feel like everybody was feeding off of each other's energy. Everybody was playing as a team and as a unit. The offensive line was a doing a great job and Sam (Bradford) was slinging it around. Adam (Thielen) was over there opening things up for me and I was trying to do the same for him. Just playing together and playing as a collective unit, we are a powerful force.
Q: The play of the offensive line must have been nice?
A: Yeah. You guys always have nice things to say about them, right? I feel like they do a great job and today they showed it. They moved the line of scrimmage. I am not an O-line coach but I love my guys and I am going to push them.
Q: What were some of the keys to the downfield passing game looking so good?
A: Sam threw some great balls. I just tried to run the route and catch the pass. Sam is a slinger.
Q: How fun is this for you with the whole nation watching on Monday night?
A: I get pretty excited. You can't get to excited though, you just have to execute. I know everybody is watching but I am just focused on doing my job for my teammates so we call can have success.
Q: You showed a lot of passion out thereo?
A: Yeah, we got a good thing going as far as team comradery. We love seeing each other win and win at a high level. It's exciting to watch especially being around these guys, grinding with them, being tired with them, being beat down, and coming out and still putting it together.
Q: Anything special about your celebration and doing that on Randy Moss night?
A: Just paying respect most importantly. He did some great things for the game and is a living legend. Just wanted to pay respect. I grew up wanting to play receiver just because of him.
Q: Do you get more jacked when you take a shot like that?
A: Yeah, I like the contact. It's a contact sport and I like getting hit especially when they go out of their way to try to hit you really hard. My job is to catch the ball and if you catch it you can get up and get juiced.
Q: After all the injuries you went through last season how good does it feel to start with some momentum early?
A: I just feel like it's my job to take care of my body. I play a contact sport with a 99.9 percent injury rate so getting hurt is going to happen. It's my job to take of my body. Come in week in week out and I'll see you guys on Sunday's.
Q: In terms of punting the ball into the stands, was that spur of the moment or do you plan that?
A: It's always spur of the moment.
Q: When Adam Thielen is playing that well how does that open things up for you?
A: It's like a relationship, you know, 50/50. We got some real unselfish guys in our room. Everybody wants everybody to win. I want him to get open and I want to get him open. I just want to do my job.
Q: How about Dalvin Cook having quite an opening night?
A: He seemed to be out there running the ball really well. It's exciting to watch him. I am mad at him, he didn't score, he broke a couple but we are going to work on that for next week.
Q: Are you enjoying the NFL's relaxed rules on celebrations?
A: I don't care about none of that. I'm just worried about catching the ball, I can tell you that is more important. But it's fun, I can have a little bit of fun.
Q: What are you going to do with those custom Randy Moss cleats?
A: They're going in the case. I wore them, but I didn't want the autographs to wear off, I was going to be mad about that. But they're going in the case, I'm done with them for the year.
Q: Did you feel like last year there were plays you could have made downfield if Sam Bradford would have had just a little more time?
A: I'm a big guy on the current, I don't talk too much about the past. Last year is last year. If we can go back in the future and make those plays, I don't know. But we can't do that. But we can talk about this game, we had some great passes this game.
Q: How about going forward?
A: Going forward I'm going to trust Sam. Whatever it is that our offensive coordinator wants to do, whatever Sam wants to do, I'm all for it.
Vikings Cornerback Xavier Rhodes
Q: Tell me about the game plan and the execution of it.
A: We were just trying to play aggressive. We tried to create turnovers and keep them to a field goal and that's what we did tonight.
Q: We talked last week about the chance to hit Adrian Peterson for the first time. Did you talk to him out there? If so, did you talk trash to him?
A: It felt awesome for the first time. Oh yeah, I talked to him, but did not talk trash. It's a game, you have fun with it. We love Adrian and still love him to death. He has done a lot for Minnesota so we still have respect for him.
Q: It looked like you frustrated Drew Brees, and that is hard to do.
A: Yeah, very hard to do. He is a Hall of Fame quarterback and made some great throws, especially toward the end of the game.
Q: Seems like coach Zimmer had a pretty good game plan.
A: He had a great one. Every week is a great game plan. We just need to execute every week like we did this week.
Q: You go up against Stefon Diggs a lot in practice. What was it like to see him have the night that he had?
A: He is a great competitor. He wanted to catch every ball, get down the field, get extra yards, and touchdowns.
Q: What was the health problem? Was it just a hydration issue?
A: It was defiantly a hydration issue. I did everything I possibly could using IV's and drinking lots of water, but I was still cramping.
Vikings Wide Receiver Adam Thielen
Q: The biggest difference in your team's play tonight was the big plays. Was that something you saw when scouting their defense that that was available to you?
A: It's something that we've been waiting to do, just open up the playbook and play football. Obviously the coaches did a great job of getting us in the right spots; Sam did a great job of checking, and we knew that they were going to give us a bunch of different coverages, so we decided to make sure that we reacted to what they gave us.
Q: You guys weren't stellar as a first team offense in the preseason. Does it feel good to know that you can perform in the regular season when it counts?
A: Yeah, that's what the preseason is all about. You have one quarter of play, so tonight it was great to play 60 minutes and really show what we can do as an offense. There's plenty of things that we need to work on, so it's going be great to look at this film, and get ready for next week.
Q: How much does the amount of pass protection Sam gets effect his accuracy, considering he had so much time in the pocket tonight?
A: Yeah, it's pretty impressive. For us as receivers, we know that if we're open, we're going to get the ball, and it's going to be on a spot where we can catch and run, so it's pretty awesome to have a guy like that. It makes it a lot easier when you're running routes because you know if you're open, you're getting the ball, and it's not always like that in this league.
Q: All three phases were really good tonight, how big is that in week 1?
A: It's huge. I think that's going to give us a lot of confidence. I think this offense had a lot of confidence going into this game. I think a lot of people didn't really believe in us, and that's what we love, and we're going to carry that chip on our shoulder into the next week and just try to keep getting better.
Q: There was a lot going on in this game, not just the game, but there was Randy Moss, 9/11, Adrian Peterson's return to Minnesota, but you didn't let any of those distractions phase you.
A: I think that is what's so great about this team, that we're not really worried about those things. We're just worried about playing football, and I think it starts with the coaches and it comes down to the leaders, and then it comes down to everyone else. I think we have we have a ton of leaders on this team, and I think it really shows on this football field.
Vikings Defensive End Everson Griffen
The offensive line played great, the defense, we played well. We have to go back to the tape and find the mental errors, the details, and get ready for Pittsburgh. We'll enjoy this win.
Q: You have to feel good knowing you stopped Adrian Peterson after his comments he made about playing your team.
A: We stopped him and didn't let him get going. On that first run he got nine or ten yards almost. But, we just played Vikings ball, great defense and we played for four quarters and that's how you win games.
Vikings Linebacker Eric Kendricks
Q: What were your expectations coming in to tonight with three different running backs?
A: We knew they had three stable backs and that we couldn't get caught up in all the commotion outside the locker room.
Q: When the offense is making plays out there and scoring points, how much does that amp you guys up to get back out on the field?
A: Absolutely. I felt we played a pretty complete game, special teams included. It was fun to be out there with my teammates.
Q: Was there any extra motivation to play against Adrian Peterson?
A: I'm very motivated to play the game I love. It is the first game of the year and on Monday night so it was pretty exciting. If we can't get excited for the first game no matter who it is, something is wrong with us.
Q: What do you have to say about your defense stopping them in the red zone so many times?
A: We were just so confident. We've been in that situation thousands of times in practice. It's about doing your job and making the play when it comes to you.
Q: How do you translate from practice into a game scenario? You have to flip the switch.
A: Do you? It depends on how you practice. We practice like we play in the game. We do a good job preparing for teams and it showed tonight.
Q: How complete do you think the effort was tonight? The two outcomes were three and outs or field goals until the very end.
A: The field goals they got were super long drives and they had to get penalties. That's what we want to do, eliminate the big plays, stop the run, and finish our tackles.
*Vikings Center Pat Elfein *
Q: What was it like playing tonight?
A: Growing up watching Monday Night Football and just watching the NFL and finally getting to do that was pretty surreal, it was awesome. To soak that all in and go out and do that especially with the five guys (o-line) we got out front, I couldn't ask for better teammates to go out there and do this with.
Q: On plays where we see you 15-20 yards down field, is that designed?
A: That's just a type of play that we got. That's the play design and that's how it worked, and it worked out well.
Q: Your offensive line didn't play a lot together in preseason, how do you feel that you did?
A: I think it was good. Obviously we got the win so that's always important, that's number one. We'll go back starting tomorrow and the next day and break it down and see what we need to work on. There's obviously some things we need to get better at but as a whole I think it was a pretty decent start so we'll just build on that.
Q: How does it feel to have your running back rush so well?
A: We knew we had to go out there and get a first down there at the end, and we wanted to get 100 yards rushing and close the game out. So we went out there and we did that, so it was kind of a sense of pride thing we wanted to go out there and do.
Q: Better pass or run blocking?
A: It's hard to tell before you watch the film, but I think we were protecting decent and moving the ball decent. I think we had some good balance but there's definitely areas we have to improve on overall.
Q: Where would you like to improve?
A: Personally, you always have a couple plays that stick out in your head that you want to get better at. I have to watch the film and kind of dissect footwork, making calls and that type of stuff and make sure I get it all right.
Vikings Wide Receiver Jarius Wright
Q: How was it playing with Sam Bradford tonight?
A: You can't say enough good things about the way he threw the ball tonight. I think he only missed four passes, and this is an NFL game. It's hard to throw that on air. It was amazing, amazing night not only for Sam but our receivers made some big plays. When I say receivers I mean Kyle (Rudolph) too.
Q: Three plays 74 yards, you don't see that often.
A: No, you don't. Excuse my language but it was a hell of a drive. Adam started it off, I caught one in between and Diggs finished it off. Us receivers take pride in making plays and for it to go like that it's great.
Q: Was the ball out before you made that break on that reception?
A: It's hard for me to say because I knew I had man coverage and I was just trying to shake him off me. When I got to the point that I knew Sam was looking at me the ball was on its way so he had to throw it early. It was great timing.
Q: For you guys to put this on tape in the first game so future opponents see what you guys might be up to
A: It's more than just the future opponents. It's about us being us, coming out a lot of people were down on us because we didn't score a touchdown in the preseason so you know it was good to show people you can sleep on our offense if you want to, but we have a lot of great weapons and we can move the ball.
Q: How did it feel playing tonight?
A: It felt great to be back in the offense, to be involved in the offense and have the chance to make plays. I'm not a selfish guy I don't have to play the whole game; I just want opportunities to make plays and help the team win, and that's my main priority, winning the game.
Q: Was the offensive line a big part of tonight?
A: No doubt about it. Without the offensive line, there wouldn't be throwing the ball around, there wouldn't be Sam only missing four passes. You see the run game come along. We rushed for over a 100 yards and if you can collectively rush for over a 100 yards that's good in the NFL.
Vikings Tight End Kyle Rudolph
Q: Thoughts on the game tonight?
A: Kind of what we had in mind. We've been working for five or six months and Week One is our first chance to make a first impression. That's the kind of football team that we've built. A physical, dominant, wear you down, just get games in the fourth quarter and take over. It was good to see that kind of come out. Obviously there's some things we need to go back and clean up but it's always good going out after a win.
Q: You guys were able to get the ball down the field quite a bit, what changed?
A: It's something we've been working on all offseason, there's been a ton of questions about our downfield passing game and that starts with us running the ball. I was asked before the game who I thought would be the MVP of this game and I said the offensive line, and it couldn't be more true. They set the tone for us, running the football, wearing them down and when you do that they have to bring safeties down and play single high coverage and that allows Adam, Diggs and Jarius and those guys to make plays across the middle.
Q: You guys played great with Randy Moss in town, did you make that a point?
A: Absolutely, when you have one of the best receivers of all time here tonight being honored we wanted to make sure that he went out of here with a win as well.
Q: How big is it to get a win on the season opener?
A: It's huge, like I said you put everything in the last six months to come out here on Week One and you want to start off on the right foot. With that being said it's one of 16, it counts just the same as every other one. We're going to enjoy this one tonight and tomorrow we have to get back to work. We have a short week and we have to go play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh.
Defensive Tackle Linval Joseph
Q: What was it like playing against Adrian Peterson?
A: It was like playing against any other back. But you know it's AP. AP, he had a great career here and I'm just glad we won.
Q: We didn't see this in the preseason, tell me about the preseason?
A: The preseason we were just trying to get everything in order. Tonight we did that and we have to keep doing that.
Q: Is the defense as good as last year?
A: We are trying to be better than last year. Today was a great start, we made a couple mistakes, we have to fix that. We have to get after it the next game.
Q: What was the key for your strong start defensively?
A: It's a new season and we all said we were going to attack today and do our job. And that's what we tried to do to the best of our ability.
Q: All three phases of the game looked great for you, what was it like watching the offense succeed tonight?
A: That was a great feeling. We work hard every day ever since OTAs and to come out here and display it on Monday night that was a great thing.
Vikings Safety Harrison Smith
Q: There aren't many defenses that are able to bottle up Drew Brees like you guys did tonight. What did you guys do?
A: It all starts with the coaches having a great game plan and then we have to go execute it on the field as a unit, and that's what we did. Like I said, it was a great team win. We're both playing well off of one another, and special teams is doing their thing. That creates a good opportunity to win.
Q: How were you able to slow them down in the red zone so many times?
A: We were just playing our responsibilities, nothing crazy, playing our keys.
Q: How much does your defense feed off big plays? You had a lot of them tonight, a lot of tackles for loss, and sacks.
A: We feed off each other, no matter what. Plays are going to happen; you're going to give up some things every now and then, but you just have bounce back. That's what we were able to do today, but we can make even more, so that's what we want to do, and progress.
Q: How much did you guys feed off the crowd, Monday Night Football, and all that, what was that like for you?
A: This crowd is crazy. I mean, the stadium, the crowd, Monday Night Football, so it's hard not to get juiced for that.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about what Zimmer said to you in the locker room after the game?
A: All games count as one. Obviously we're happy that we came into our house in our home opener and got the win, but as we all know, it's one. It's one of 16 right now, so enjoy it, but get ready to move onto next week.
Vikings Defensive End Brian Robison
Q: Did you feel good about the entire game tonight, or did you feel like you had some rough spots?
A: There were a few penalties that elongated drives for them so we'll look at those and probably feel like we could have gotten off the field and allowed a little less of their offense in terms of yardage. But, we did a great job of keeping them out of the end zone in critical situations up until the end there when they were able to drive and get a touchdown out of it. We'll look at the tape on Wednesday and see some things that we can clean up and hopefully guys don't get complacent and we just keep working towards our ultimate goal.
Q: You're one who always points out that it's only one game, but coming out of the gate as strong as you guys did, it has to mean a little more since you dominated on both sides for the most part?
A: Absolutely, we had a little down preseason for us and we didn't have that swagger that we normally have so for us to come out here on Monday night in a primetime game against a very good New Orleans Saints offense and be able to do what we did obviously that means a lot to us. But like I just said, we can't be complacent or satisfied with where we are and we have to keep working towards our ultimate goal.
Q: What do you think worked so well in the goal line situations?
A: I just think all eleven guys were on the same page, making sure that we were in our gaps, playing fundamentally sound football, and just changing our attitude as far as how we play down there. You have to be able to gain penetration, so for us those were all things that were able to come up big.
Q: On some of those third downs stops were you noticing as you guys were getting some momentum and getting into that groove that it was taking some of the life out of New Orleans?
A: I don't know if we necessarily felt like it was taking the life out of them but we were definitely putting the pressure on them. I think Drew Brees was having to get the ball out of his hands before he really wanted too. We blitzed well and we were able to rush with our front four pretty well tonight so those are all things that we just have to build on and keep getting better at.
Vikings Linebacker Anthony Barr
Q: You waited a long time to tackle Adrian Peterson, how did it feel to go against him tonight?
A: It didn't feel any different from tackling anybody else honestly. Whoever is back there, that's the opponent you have to go out there and do your job regardless of who it is. It's a familiar face but the same idea.
Q: Adrian Peterson was not much of a factor, did you guys understand that was going to be the case despite what you've heard.
A: It was never Adrian versus the Vikings, it's the Saints versus the Vikings. And we knew we had to stop the running attack whether it was [Mark] Ingram, Adrian, or [Alvin] Kamara .Who ever is back there it is important for us to slow him down and make them one-dimensional. And we were able to do that tonight.
Q: You were able to stop the passing game pretty well also, how were you able to do that?
A: We preached being tight in coverage all week. Incompletions will frustrate them and we were able to do that tonight.
Q: Your pass rush was great. How have you been able to rush the passer so effectively?
A: The work we put in all offseason. Those guys up front are very determined. They are working extremely hard every week. Kudos to them and they kind of make this defense go.
Q: What was the atmosphere like tonight?
A: You were out there, there is nothing like it. This stadium, these fans are great, they show up every week. Win or lose they come out and support us, especially a big Monday night opener. We appreciate them.
Q: Your team preaches one game at a time, but it must have been great to see the offense and defense do well.
A: We didn't play too well on defense or offense all preseason. It was important for us this week to have a good week of practice and to have a sense of urgency. Getting lined up, reading your keys, and going and playing hard. We were able to do that tonight.
Vikings Fullback C.J. Ham
Q: You had two big tackles on special teams, talk about that contribution, and how big special teams is a part of your role here.
A: Honestly I haven't gotten a tackle since high school, so it just felt really good to be out there and get a tackle again. I haven't tackled somebody in so long, it just felt awesome, and it's something new to me, and I really love doing it.
Q: Tonight you were a little bit like Jerick McKinnon's bodyguard so to speak, you were hitting in front of him, and he was hitting the gaps where he needed to.
A: My job is to open holes for all my running backs, that's in my job description, no matter who is running the ball, I want to make sure I'm getting my job done, so they can do there job.