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Timeout with Matt Asiata

Matt Asiata is a man of few words, but when he hits the field, he speaks volumes.

The running back heard his number called in 2014 when the Vikings played nearly the entire season without Adrian Peterson. He finished that season with nine touchdowns.

When Peterson suffered a torn meniscus against the Packers two weeks ago and needed surgery, Asiata was prepared to step up again.

"It's devastating when your friend and teammate goes down," Asiata said, "But me, Jerick [McKinnon] and Zach Line are going to try to hold it down for him."

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer named McKinnon, in his third NFL season, as the starting running back in Peterson's place. But Asiata's role will likely increase, as well. It isn't uncommon for the Vikings to bring in the hard-working back for pass protection or in third-down situations, and Asiata is prepared to do whatever is asked of him.

"You just have to go in there and execute and do your job," Asiata said. "For me, I just want the whole team to win, so I try to go in there and help pass protect or run the ball, just trying to get down the field and get first downs."

Peterson in the first two games drew extra defensive reinforcements, and Minnesota was challenged in making headway on the ground. Asiata now takes the responsibility on his shoulders to get that part of their game up and running – literally.

"There's always something to improve every day and every week, and that's something as a team we're going to work on, is our running game," Asiata said. "Just go out there and do our best to clean it up."

We caught up with Matt for a recent Timeout.

Q: How do you and Jerick as a tandem challenge defenses?

A:We have different styles. A one-cut guy or a guy who can make you miss out in the open. Me and Jerick are just going to go out there and do our best and try to hold it down for our running backs.

Q: What's one of the biggest things you've learned from Adrian?

A:Just the attitude with which you approach the game. Just his attitude and coming into the game with focus, knowing what to do and running the ball hard. How he runs is how he acts.

Q: What is Coach Kevin Stefanski like in his first year with the running backs?

A:[He's] a great coach. He tells us what to do on the field, and it's our job to execute.

Q: What did you learn about coming back from injury after suffering a broken leg in college?

A:It's all mental. All the physical stuff, you can handle by yourself, but the mental part is something you really have to overcome. Sometimes you want to quit and just say, 'OK, I'll go find a job,' but just being mentally prepared and trying to push yourself to the next level.

Q: What is your favorite part about U.S. Bank Stadium?

A:I think it's everything. It's exciting just to be out there in a brand-new stadium in front of all the Vikings fans and your family.

Q: Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life, and why?

A:My wife. We've been together since junior high. We have five kids, and she does all the work, and I am just [able] to come in and play football. She's back home taking care of the kids, getting them to school, changing diapers all day, and my job's easy. I give credit to her.

Q: What do you most enjoy about being a dad to five children?

A: Just being around them – just hang out, play with them, really just chill out. Just hanging out and being with them [as often as possible]. Having lunch together.

Q: What is your family's favorite Twin Cities activity during the offseason?

A:During the offseason, as a family we enjoy just going to dinner, going out and spending time together. Eat dinner and talk about, 'How was your day?' and 'How's school going?' and so forth.

Q: If you weren't playing football, what could you see yourself doing?

A:At first I wanted to become an FBI agent or a cop, but I don't know. I think I want to chill and just coach my son in high school football – go back to my high school and coach. Football is basically my life, and that's what I'm good at. After the NFL, hopefully I can continue in the sport.

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