Vikings Quarterback Kirk Cousins
Q: Did you expect to throw so many times in the first half?
A: Well, you probably don't expect to throw it that much in one half but anytime you have a two-minute drill, whether at the end of a half or the end of a game you're going to get a lot more pass attempts and it's going to change your stat line than if you were in a four-minute mode or just running out the clock to end a half. I think that inflated it a little bit because we had a lot of plays in that drive, but when you put together long drives with a lot of third down conversions and you don't have any big long play to score, it's kind of just marching. It does lend itself to having a lot of snaps and I thought that was a good thing. I think we need that work and I was glad to see that we got a two-minute drill in before the real thing hits here in a couple weeks.
Q: How do you feel about how those 28 attempts went?
A: Yeah, good and bad. I felt like there was a lot of positives. I liked that we did well on third down. I liked that we moved the football. I liked that we got several guys involved. I liked that our o-line handled the protection well. We got the ball out and avoided sacks. But there's still several throws here, I've made a list, that we didn't hit and it's mostly me. We've got to him them and we can hit them. I came off the field feeling like we could have been so much better. There was a lot there to be had that we didn't do. I probably won't sleep as easily tonight because of that.
Q: Is that a standard thing you do to make a list or was that because you had time on the sidelines?
A: Yeah, I just felt like it was starting to add up which isn't a good thing. I mean it was the out-breaking route to Adam [Thielen] on the sideline in the two-minute that was down at his feet that should have been an easy pitch-and-catch. Latavius twice in the flat. The ball was high and away. The ball needs to be on him, not that the second one would've been a big gain but just can be more accurate. The inside fade I thought to [Stefon Diggs] would have been a touchdown, if the ball's thrown accurately. That's day one stuff you got to hit that throw. A couple of those red zone plays I thought were there. The sack was my fault. It was a protection deal that I put us in that made it a tough deal. I thought the two point conversion was probably there as well and could've made a better throw. When you go 17 of 28 and there's a few you want back, you could've really had a great night and I feel we just missed that.
Q: Are you pleased with where you are at if this is your last preseason game playing and ready for Week 1?
A: You never know. I think I'd be interested to see a study in if feeling pleased about where you're at affects Week 1. I don't know. It's all going to come down to how we start against San Francisco, regardless of what has happened prior to now. So the next two weeks we have to take advantage of every day. I just try to iron out details, communicate well, hone in on the game plan once it gets developed and come ready to go on Sunday, September 9th.
Q: After last week, did it feel good to get some of the longer drives and some of the third down conversions?
A: Yes. I think that was a point of emphasis was to come away with third down conversions, staying on the field, keeping our defense off the field. It is a mix of run and pass which is important. I felt good about some of the things we did tonight. I think there were a lot of positives and yet there is so much we know we have to go back and work on. No one is going to come back Monday or Sunday with the film and feel good about themselves. Everybody is going to be sitting there wanting to learn and get better. It was so fun to watch the third team to go down there at the end of the game and make plays happen.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Always nice to win. I thought there were some good things that happened in the ball game. Offensively, we were much better on third downs tonight. First group was 7-of-10, and they were longer yardage ones. We have to make those a little bit more manageable. We had a 90-yard drive for a touchdown. We were three-for-three in the red zone. Two-for-two inside the five yard line. There were some good things. Defensively, for the most part, we did alright. They hit us on a couple traps early, we had to get squared away. There was a couple times we tackled them, we hit them for 1-yard gain and it ended up being second and five. So, we have to clean that up this week. Did better on the screens though, from last week, that was an emphasis this week. Other than that, kicking game wasn't very good.
Q: What is your level of concern with Daniel Carlson's misses tonight?
A: I don't know if I'm concerned about him in general. I'm concerned about the coverage units. I'm going to chalk this one up to a bad night but hopefully it gets better.
Q: What's been your impression of Kyle Sloter through three preseason games?
A: Well, he comes in and makes plays. He's done that a couple games this year. So, that's been good to see. He moves in the pocket well, he needs to speed up his rhythm a little bit. He's made some plays. The touchdown was a big play.
Q: When you went for the two point conversion with the first team offense, was that to get them some in-game experience with the two point attempt?
Q: Was it because of concern after Carlson's miss?
A: Just let him know that if he's going to miss them, I'm going to go for two.
Q: How do you think the protection held up in the first half with Kirk Cousins in the game?
A: I thought it was pretty good. Early in the game they blitzed a lot and then they backed off a little bit and picked it back up at the end. I thought it was pretty good for the most part. I don't remember. He missed the one, the linebacker came up the middle the one time, I think it got called back. Other than that, it was not bad.
Q: How did you think Dalvin Cook looked in his first game back?
A: Yeah, he didn't get much of a chance. That was our plan all along. Let him carry once, maybe catch a pass or carry it twice. We just wanted him to get tackled. Not much there in the running game.
Q: What did you think of the running game in general?
A: That defense is hard to run against because they're always in an eight man box for the most part. So, you're going to have to get a hat on a hat and the back is going to have to beat a guy. Playing those kind of teams when you're running, it's always going to be a hard day of going. I'm not concerned, we didn't have many second-and-two's, obviously. Look at the tape and then see kind of how guys were doing.
Q: What is the fine line of getting the point across that he needs to make those kicks and not rattling his confidence?
A: Well, I was not in a good mood right then, so, I wasn't worried about his confidence.
Q: Are you worried about shaking his confidence now?
A: No, I'm really not. I mean, he missed like two kicks all preseason and he missed two tonight. It's never a good thing when you just release a guy and this guy goes in there and misses. So, maybe he needs some more pressure on him.
Q: Did you plan to not play Trevor Siemian as much today?
A: Yeah, we were going to get him out kind of toward the 4th quarter.
Q: How did you feel about the interior run defense?
A: They hit us on two traps. It's pretty obvious they game planned us because some of the plays that they had in there, which is fine. I don't care if they game plan or don't game plan but they were running, they ran three screens, they ran their flash play. The tight end came up inside you know and they've never done that, they were doing that to attack and then the two traps to attack Sheldon [Richardson]. I have pretty good confidence in our guys.
Q: What are you overall impressions of Sheldon Richardson so far?
A: He's been good, he's getting better all the time. We're trying to teach him a lot more techniques and things and really tonight on 3rd downs we wanted to look at [Anthony] Barr on the outside a lot more rushing, so really in the 1st half I think he was playing defensive end the whole time.
Q: Do you expect Dalvin Cook to play in the final preseason game?
A: I don't know. I haven't told him yet so I'm not going to tell you.
Q: How have you felt about Anthony Barr in the pass rush situations and him working with the defensive line?
A: Yeah he's doing good. He's really improved a lot. It's like anything else, you get used to doing it and then you become better at it. He's had some really good rushes in practice. He had a good rush tonight too, the ball got out but he had a really good rush.
Q: What was the hope for George Iloka tonight and what did you see?
A: I know I saw the one play where he tipped the ball but we were just getting him in the game and let him go and let him play a little bit. He knew, I mean I didn't have to, not make calls for him.
Q: With Daniel Carlson, where the snap and the hold okay with what you saw?
A: I didn't notice.
Q: Was Kirk Cousins throwing it 28 times in the first half, was that by design?
Vikings Safety George Iloka
Q: What did you see from that play where you tipped the ball for the interception?
A: The coverage calls, the guy was in my zone, so I broke on the ball. I tried to get my hands on it was trying to get it off the tip. Harris (Anthony Harris), he did a good job of getting that pick. That turnover is key; it helped the offense.
Q: What has made you successful when your called upon?
A: My knowledge for the game. I take pride in learning what the offense is trying to do and take pride in doing what the coaches ask me to do. Just trying to put myself in position.
Q: What have the last two days looked like?
A: I met with the safety coach and the defensive backs coach constantly throughout the day. Funny story, they gave me the playbook, just gave me the whole thing. I just came here last second, and this thing is like 366 pages at the bottom. It felt like, "Here was your gun and your badge. Good luck." Good thing for me was, I knew probably 80%-85% of it. Although it was 366 pages, it as probably like 40. Coaches have done a good job helping me adjust to the detail. The defensive backs out there have been helping me too, so it's going pretty smooth.
Vikings Wide Receiver Jake Wieneke
Q: The chance to make that play has got to be pretty big for you?
A: It was a pretty special feeling. When I saw that ball I knew I had to catch it and do anything I can to get in the end zone, so when I got in it was an amazing feeling.
Q: What has this journey been like for a kid right up the road to put this jersey on and make these plays to win the game?
A: It's been amazing, I'm just enjoying every second of it. I'm trying to embrace this whole thing. This game is so fun.
Q: How much have you learned in your time here?
A: I've learned so much. So much about life, and obviously football every day. From these receivers, [Stefon] Diggs, [Adam] Thielen, and also just about life, persistence and what is really important, controlling what you can control and getting everything you can every day.
Q: If I would have told 10-year-old Jake that someday in a huge stadium, you're going to play for the Vikings, and catch a ball that's going to get them a win, would you have believed it?
A: I would like to say I would, because that's what I've dreamed about since I was little. I'm very blessed.
Vikings Quarterback Kyle Sloter
Q: Can you take us back through that touchdown pass?
A: Honestly, it happened so fast, I don't really remember much. I just felt like I was getting flushed out of the pocket, and rolled to my left trying to buy time. I remember seeing Jeff Badet and I was trying to signal him one way, but I didn't quite get him to go that way. Then I turned my attention back to the right and it just happened to be a broken play. I saw Chad Beebe and tried to put it in place so he could make a play.
Q: You've got to be happy with the way that you played tonight, right?
A: Yeah, it was fun. There are definitely things that I can do better. I'm not happy with some of the things and the setbacks on me, I could have done better with those. The overall outcome of the game is awesome, but I'm going to get back in the film room as soon as possible. I'm sure I'll watch it before the night is over, and I'll try to make the necessary corrections to get out here and be even better.
Q: How important has it been for your growth over this preseason leading some of those important drives?
A: It's been awesome. I've had a unique opportunity to go out there and meet some of those guys that are in the same position as me, and to help lead some new guys coming into the NFL. It's been cool, not many people get to be put in the position to get the ball at the end of the fourth quarter, and to have the chance to win that game. Last week I didn't go get it done, but this week we got it done. It felt good to go out there and get the win.
Q: To have that two minute chance, did you feel like you had the chance to shine with that time on the field?
A: I can't do it alone, I've got guys out there doing a great job. Chad Beebe, Jake Wieneke, the entire offensive line, they all worked with me and gave me the best opportunity to succeed.
Vikings Wide Receiver Chad Beebe
Q: Preseason or regular season game it doesn't matter it is pretty exciting to get the game winning score isn't it?
A: Yeah. Obviously it is always exciting to score a touchdown as a rookie. Getting in the end zone is always a fun time.
Q: You have kind of become a multipurpose guy, not just a wide receiver but punt returns and other things, whatever the team asks you to do. You go over the middle, talk to me about the fearlessness you need to do to go across the middle and not pay attention to those linebackers and things in the middle?
A: I think it is just focus. Obviously I'm not the biggest, not the fastest, not the strongest, but I'll get the job done. I just do what the coaches ask me to do and when the ball is thrown I make the catch.
Q: What were you seeing on that punt return?
A: Obviously we had a great job blocking up front. I saw that we had a left return and guys were getting the right leverage on their blocks. I knew if I just extend it up and get outside it would open up and that's what happened. I wish it would've gone longer, but that's just being competitive.
Q: You have one game left here in the preseason as a rookie, you get a lot of playing time next week. What are you looking to improve in your game in the last preseason game?
A: Just continue to eliminate mistakes. The mental part of the game. Obviously I still have a lot to learn being a rookie, so just to continue to be in the playbook and like I said, eliminate mistakes.
Vikings Safety Anthony Harris
Q: Do you feel like you're hitting some bullseyes when you need to here?
A: I think it's just coach calling the right play at the right time, everybody executing, and me securing the tackle on the sack. Then on the interception, just running to the ball. George did a good job of timing it up and getting a hit on the receiver. We talk about tips and overthrows and getting our hands on those balls. I just tried to come in secure it, then get some yards afterwards.
Q: Three weeks into preseason now do you think this is where you need to be defensively?
A: We had some good plays, some good drives defensively and offensively as well. There are definitely some things that we can go back on film, look at, to continue to improve. We're just looking, even though its preseason, to play a complete game. No matter who's in there, ones, twos, and even backup guys.
Q: What was your impression of George (Iloka)?
A: He's smart. His recall is good; he's able to pick up some things that he ran with Zimmer when he played under him. He wants to be coached. He's coming asking questions, talking to safeties, other coaches and corners. He's just trying to gather as much information as possible, then put it together with stuff he already knows to go out and play.
*Vikings Kicker Daniel Carlson *
Q: Where you able to determine what went wrong tonight?
A: No, I can tell you a couple of things right now, but I'll watch it more on film. After the first one I didn't want to think too much about that. Obviously I had a lot more game to play, and you after the second one you kind of have to try and have a short memory and get ready for whatever comes next. Obviously my part wasn't good today, wasn't up to the standard that I have and the team has. We got a good team win, but obviously lots to work on going forward.
Q: Did you feel any nerves before your first game as the main kicker?
A: I think the same as always. There's always a little nerves, which is a good thing, but nothing like that. It wasn't anything mental, just some technique and stuff, so there are some things I just need to keep working on and focusing on and continuing to grow. I'm going to put this behind me, but learn from it.
Q: Where you surprised the team went for a two-point conversion on the first touchdown?
A: Yeah, but I think that was just one of those things they wanted to work on in the preseason. Obviously at the end we didn't want to go to overtime, so we went for it again. That worked out. A little surprised, but obviously I'm just cheering for the team and whatever they need to work on this preseason to get ready for the season, I'm in support of that.
Q: This game aside, is only missing a few throughout the preseason and training camp a confidence booster and proof that tonight is a fluke?
A: I'm not going to let any one kick define me, good or bad. I'm just going to keep my head up and keep working each and every day and continue to do what I've been doing and learn from this and move on.
Q: Coach Priefer said earlier this week that he likes your calm and even-keeled demeanor. Has that always been a trait of yours?
A: Yeah, I think so. I think I'm very focused, and I do care a lot about my performance. I want to be a perfectionist, so times like these are frustrating. But you got to keep your head up and do what you can to fix the next one, because there's obviously nothing I can do about those kicks today. But I'm going to learn from it, move on and continue to try and be consistent and keep my head in every situation.
Q: What's the key to not allowing tonight to shake you, but learn from it and move forward?
A: It's part of the job, every kicker is going to have different misses in different situations. Luckily this is preseason, and we did get a win, so those are things I can be excited about, that it wasn't the end of the world. But I think as a kicker you just got to be prepared for the highs and the lows and try to stay calm and consistent and just continue to do your job one day at a time and one kick at a time. Like I said, there's nothing I can do right now to take it back, but I can get ready for the next kick that I get a chance to do.