Vikings Offensive Coordinator John DeFilippo
It is great to see everybody. I hope everyone is having a nice day. I thought it was really good for us to get in pads yesterday. The guys were really excited about it, to obviously to go up against our defense in pads and being able to thud a little bit and get after it and actually play real football. I thought we had a decent day in the red zone, which was really good to see. I think we've improved in the red zone since spring. The thing we need to always harp on is staying fundamentally sound. I didn't think we were as fundamentally sound yesterday as we need to be. At the end of the day, I always tell our guys, "Remember your fundamentals when things are getting tough". We have to be more fundamentally sound at every position. We are looking forward to getting better at that today and here on out throughout camp.
Q: Are you pleased to see Stefon Diggs get an extension?
A: I am going to let Coach [Mike] Zimmer and Rick [Spielman] handle that when that announcement will be made if that's happened.
Q: Can you speak about how Stefon Diggs has looked since you've been with him?
A: I love that guy. He is exactly what you want in a player, and in my mind a superstar player. He is smart, he loves football, he is assignment-sound, coachable, has a lot of energy, explosive and he catches the football. I think that describes pretty good receivers in this league. If that is the case, we are thrilled he is a Viking.
Q: Can you talk about the mentality of Dalvin Cook getting back out to practice?
A: I didn't see any signs that he was holding back or anything. He really looks like he is trusting that knee. He is explosive. I thought he's done a great job in pass protection. I don't see any hindrance out of him at all. We are continuing to monitor his reps and making sure that knee stays healthy and stays fresh throughout camp. It's a long camp until we get to the regular season.
Q: Is it exciting to see Stefon Diggs turn it on even more and shines when he gets in a game situation and the spotlight?
A: Absolutely. That is their stage. I want guys to have fun. I want their personalities to show on the field. That is what this is all about. As long it's not affecting the team and affecting their play, or getting us penalties and all those things, I want their emotions to show because that is what gets those guys going.
Q: What makes Stefon Diggs so effective despite not having a big frame?
A: I think number one is his speed. I think corners in this league have a really hard time knowing that, "Hey, he may run by me on a fade route". They are going to give him a little bit of cushion, which opens the room for quick-outs, slants. It gives him room to catch and run with the football. He is strong enough to catch and run with the football, break a tackle and dive into the end zone. I think his overall speed and explosiveness is why I think you see some free access on him in the red zone.
Q: What have you seen from Mack Brown?
A: I like Mack. The number one thing you notice about Mack is the way he runs the ball with violence. When you are vying for a spot, I think that is huge. I always tell our players, "I never want to see anyone tiptoeing through the tulips'. That is just pitter-pattering running the route, going through the hole. He has been hitting the hole with explosiveness. He has been catching the football. We are pleased with his progress.
Q: Where do you see C.J. Ham fit in your scheme?
A: First off, if you just talk from a team standpoint before we get to offense, obviously he is one of our core-teamers. He helps the football team out that way playing all four special teams. When you break it down to just offense, it's nice when you have a fullback in there. It allows your play action game, your two-back play action game to really take off. It obviously allows you to run the football with two backs and some old-school iso plays. You can run power with a fullback which, we love. I think whenever you have a fullback with an athletic guy, that is not just the old-school, "I've got a big old neck roll on", type fullback that is just a straight ahead guy, I think that provides you a lot of position flexibility. The thing with C.J. which I love, he is still athletic enough to be able to move around and catch the football. You are going to see him moving around in a bunch of different spots in the fall if he keeps doing what he's doing.
Q: How long does it typically take for a new quarterback and the center to get on the same page?
A: It depends. We are very fortunate that both of those guys love football. They've been communicating a bunch during the rookie camp. Pat [Elfien] was out here for practice and he and Kirk [Cousins] were going over everything together play-by-play. Would we love to have both of those guys out here on the field? 100 percent we would but that is not the case right now unfortunately. We are just fortunate that both of those guys are really, really bright guys and I don't think it is going to take that long.
Q: What have you seen from Laquon Treadwell so far?
A: I'm really proud of that guy. He has worked his butt off to really improve. I think from what I've heard he has matured. You see a young man having some success and not letting that success go to his head. We are going to continually challenge him every single day to stay mentally focused. He can do that. There is no doubt in my mind he can do that. I'm really happy where he is right now. Obviously, you saw him make a bunch of plays yesterday in the red zone. With that body type, that is a unique guy. That is a big guy that can run fast so we need him to keep progressing.
Q: Where do you think Laquon Treadwell has improved based on watching him during the offseason and training camp?
A: I've just seen his routes be a lot more precise. I see him coming off the football with a little bit more violence. I see his blocking on the perimeter, more effort there. Better angles to get to the safety. So I think you just see an overall player maturing, not only on the field, but off the field as well. We're really proud where he's at right now.
Q: Have you been able to see where Laquon Treadwell's ability for separation is coming from?
A: That was a heck of a catch. The one on the corner in the end zone, he was covered. That was great coverage by Xavier Rhodes. I know it looked like a pretty touchdown and all, but that was not an easy touchdown. The thing he does for a big man which he does a great job of leaning on people and understanding how to use his body. When you have a body like Laquon does, if you know how to use it you can really be a dangerous weapon.
Q: Why is Stefon Diggs so good at getting away from press coverage?
A: I think he's got a lot of quick twitch, got a lot of quick twitch. He can change direction on a dime and defensive backs have to respect that. His press coverage is going to be a lot of times two yards and not one yard because the defensive back does not want to get beat over the top. Press coverage for him a lot of times is going to be a little bit different than some other guys. The thing that we've really stressed with him is well to do off the line of scrimmage is really use your hands. If the defensive back wants to be violent with you, you have to get violent back. That's our ground too. We're allowed to go there as well as the defensive back is. Attack angles on the defensive back, don't attack him right down the middle, I think you saw that a little in spring with him, where he was attacking the defender right down the middle of him instead of attacking his shoulder and gaining leverage where he needs to go.
Q: How much can a receiver of Laquon Treadwell's size help to go up and get it in the back of the end zone?
A: A lot, a lot. I think you saw us throw one to Kyle [Rudolph] back there and obviously Rudy is a really, really big man, but again that helps a lot. When you have two guys that are big men that can go up and get the football obviously that is going to help your red zone touchdown percentage, 100 percent.
Q: With Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray, do you like backs that have different qualities or do you like a one, two punch where each brings the same thing?
A: I like really good players, and both of those guys are really good players. They both bring different things to the table. Obviously Latavius [Murray] is a bruiser-type back, but it can still be a three down back. There is no doubt in my mind that he can be a three-down back and wear people down. Obviously you see the explosiveness from Dalvin [Cook] and he can be a three down back as well because both of those guys are really, really good in pass protection. To me, I'm not really one to say, "Hey, we need three different body types in the back field". We just want the best players we can get.
Q: Is Mike Boone showing you what you want to see as far as somebody who can be a change of pace back?
A: For a young guy, he runs really, really good routes out of the back field. He's a mature guy. He takes pride in his job. He's very mature for a rookie, very mature for a rookie. Doesn't say much, just comes out here and does his job which is what you should do as a rookie, keep your mouth shut and do your job. I'm really, really pleased where he's at right now. He's done a really, really nice job. I'm really pleased where he's at.
Q: Can you give an overall quick updated on just what you've seen with Trevor Siemian at the first week at camp?
A: I called out Trevor [Siemian] last night in the offensive meeting. I said this in front of the whole offense, that's why I'm telling you. Trevor's a guy that does simple better. He does simple better. I used an example, about Trevor, in front of the whole offense last night. He has a really simple thought process when he goes to the line of scrimmage. He doesn't make it too hard. He doesn't overthink. He gets the ball, he'll check the ball down. If there's a throw to be thrown down the field, he makes it. Trevor is playing much, much faster now than when he was here. We've really challenged him to speed up everything he does, and he's accepted that challenge. He's really done a nice job. I think you can see his play on the field these last few days has shown that.
Q: Can you gauge Brian O'Neill's progress?
A: Brian [O'Neill's] done a really good job. I read the other day, somebody wrote a story about six thousand calories which was new to me. Pretty neat story, whoever wrote that, so thanks for that information. He's getting better every day. Watch him get to the second level today. He gets there with ease. Now the thing he needs to keep working on is his anchor, his hands, and his angles in pass protection. You see a guy get to the second level like him, it's pretty special.
Q: What do you see in just how well that Clancy Barone and Andrew Janocko step in for Tony Sparano?
A: They've done a fabulous job. Whenever you are dividing up responsibilities in a position room, in a position room as intimate as the offensive line room, you've got to really, really examine the people that are being involved in that decision. Both those guys have zero ego and they want to see the team win. There's not going to be any push and pull with those two guys. Both guys are going to install, in front of the team, and are going to have equal voice and equal responsibility. It was an easy decision for us to make to go that direction because of those two guys. That's a credit to them. They've done a fantastic job at stepping up.
Vikings Quarterback Kirk Cousins
Q: What has been your takeaway from the first padded practices?
A: It is a little different carrying pads for the first time in a while, but I thought it was a good first day and I think we'll be a little sharper as the days go forward as we get used to that feeling again. Football is a physical game, so it's important to practice that physicality and make sure you get enough reps at carrying your pads and being physical and securing those blocks and protections, because that's how games are won and lost.
Q: Now that the pads are on, what is it like going up against this defense?
A: It's a great defense, I can't say enough good things about the guys. What stands out to me maybe is the continuity they have, having played in the scheme for so many years and having played together for so many years, in addition to the fact that they're talented. It gives us [the offense] a great challenge. They're also very sound. There aren't a lot of players running wide open or blown coverages, where they're giving you a touchdown or a big gain simply because of a mental error. They're on their details, and the scheme is sound, so you have to earn every yard. That's also the sign of a good defense.
Q: What do you like most about Stefon Diggs?
A: I could stand up here a while talking about Stefon and all his attributes. I think at the end of the day, what I most like is that he loves football and loves to come and work, because as a quarterback, it can be miserable if you're working with someone who really is just out here to get a paycheck and leave. He wants to work, he's excited to practice, he wants to compete, he loves the game, and he's coachable. That whole part of his personality, is what makes up when I say it's a great locker room and a great culture, it's players like that carrying themselves in that way. When you add to it great natural hands, good short area quickness and agility, long speed, ability to track the ball in the air really well, he's a seasoned veteran that understands the game and has played in big moments, you start to realize why there was a deal offered him of the size that it was.
Q: Stefon has been described as a guy who loves to work and wants to be here every day. What kinds of things does he do to show you that?
A: We were here until 9:15 last night doing install, and I've been a part of some locker rooms where by 9:00, some of your guys are sleeping in the back row and not taking notes, not paying attention, and they're basically checked out, they're texting or whatever. That's just not him, that's not these guys. So when at 9:00 at night as we're installing the 100th play of the install, he's still taking notes and he's listening. If the coach has a point to make, he's writing it down and he's taking the coaching and translating it to the field the next day. That's just one example, but it manifests itself over and over in each meeting, in each conversation at lunch, each practice session, each walk through. He's out here when I motion him in in walk through to block the safety, there's a sense of urgency. It matters to him, it's not just a walk through to go through the motions. This matters, to make sure he blocks the safety so Dalvin [Cook] can gain some yards on the doctored run. That's what you're looking for.
Q: How much does it matter to you that guys like Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are going to be around for a while?
A: I love it. Continuity to me is very important and it's not a luxury we have in the NFL these days. There is a lot of change year-in-year-out. I've come to accept that and understand that you can't use that as an excuse. As the new players come in, including myself, we have to learn quickly and get caught up to speed and go and expect there to be more turnover as the year goes. But if we can develop continuity that's just a bonus. It is an asset if you can have it. Now we've got to stay healthy, keep those guys on the field, but I think it can really make a difference if you can have it.
Q: Is there any particular route that jumps out to you that Stefon Diggs runs well?
A: If he had one route that jumped out, I don't think he gets the contract that they've offered him. But I think it's because he can run the entire route tree at a level that would warrant wanting him around. Whether it's a 9-yard stop route, double move, three-step slant. Whether it's a post I think everybody saw over there in the corner by the stands the first day the double move that he caught over the DB. The ability to track the ball, go get the football, play bigger than his frame. I think he can do just about everything and that's what you want from a receiver. He doesn't give you limitations.
Q: What does it mean for a quarterback to have two receivers that are not only willing but capable of playing on the outside and in the slot?
A: I mean it's better than having no receivers that can do that. You want good players around you. Quarterbacks depend on everybody. It's the ultimate team game. We have one-on-ones where the running backs have to block linebackers, tackles have to block defensive ends, receivers go against DBs. Quarterbacks never do that and it's a reminder that we're never one-on-one and for us it's always a team game, we're always dependent on the receiver getting open, the protection holding up, the running back doing his job. We never really have that one-on-one moment. You need players around you, like you said, to have two guys who are known in this league as being accomplished receivers who have been there done that, it helps.
Q: What is your relationship with Laquon Treadwell?
A: We are off to a great start, I think he had a good OTAs and in minicamp, I think he is having a great start to camp. I am excited for what he is going to grow into this year. He has been getting a lot of reps, a lot of looks, and I am really pleased with what he has done so far in a handful of practices.
Q: You guys have had a lot of success yesterday in the red zone, in your opinion what is the key to a good red zone offense?
A: I think it starts with being able to run the football. When it's a condensed area it is really hard to run the football, but the good teams can have still had positive runs in the red zone, so we want to have rushing touchdowns and want to find productive runs down there. Also, it is important that we have a high completion percentage down there that we throw into the end zone, and that we use the back end line, put the ball up high where a guy like Kyle Rudolph can go make the catch. It is very tight windows, you have to have a great feel for the concepts that you can throw in anticipation because if you wait to see the route get open it will be too late. Whereas in the field you can make up for that because you have a little more space.
Q: What do you try to communicate with Kyle Rudolph to strengthen that communication between a center and a quarterback?
A: Well, you know our lockers are two down from each other. There are times during post practices or pre-practice where I will mention something that came up in meetings or that came up on the practice field and during the rookie practice days, we are able to stand behind the offense and talk a little bit. For the most part, you do what you can do and no more. We can't get the snaps, there are certain things we can't do and we have to make up that ground when he gets back.
Q: What do you think of Trevor Siemian so far?
A: I think he is doing a really good job. I think he is what you want in your quarterback room as far as a person the way he carries himself and the experience he brings. I believe he will be a great asset to the room, to me, and I think he will show that in the preseason and if he comes in in the regular season, I think he will do a great job.
Q: What has your relationship been with Mack Brown going back to Washington?
A: I have always felt that Mack Brown is a very talented running back with great athleticism. In Washington he did not get to play as much as maybe he or I would have liked but, when he did come in usually explosive things would happen. I remember in a four-minute offense against the Bears he took a run to the house that was probably a 60 or 70-yard run. He also came in a four-minute situation against the Raiders and had some explosive runs. So, when he has gotten his hands on the football even in preseason he has been very dynamic and so he will have another chance in this preseason to show what he can do and the tools are there to be a very good back in this league.
Q: Are there times where you are throwing in a window and wondering how he is able to come down with the coverage that Diggs sees?
A: He has just a natural ability to track the football with his eye. Attack the football with his hands. I saw, when he came down to Atlanta in early April, just throwing routes on air, he doesn't shy away from the ball. He attacks it and goes and gets it. You don't do that unless you have confident hands, unless you have natural hands. When you add defensive backs and you add traffic, those skills really come to the surface and show themselves. Have to continue to give him opportunities because if you are going to lead the league in that statistic, then it would make sense to give him the ball in tight windows or when it looks like he might be covered, you give him a chance to continue to show what he can do.
Q: Is anybody talking about the night practice and what to expect?
A: We talked about it a little bit yesterday, just how we are excited to turn practice into more of a game feel. I think it is important to get that before the first preseason game and even in addition to the preseason games. To have substitutions for the sidelines. To have a true flow of a game. The more we can simulate game day during practice, the better off practice becomes. So, I am looking forward, from that stand point. In addition to the atmosphere, fan attendance, their support, obviously that will be exciting under the lights in a brand new facility. The way it mirrors game day, I think is most important.
*In addition to that, just want to say I am excited for the high school games here this fall, with Lakeville North, Prior Lake, Eagan and Farmington. I saw some of the players out here in their jerseys today. I tell people to this day, high school football is my favorite years ever playing football. Certainly, I wouldn't trade living a dream here playing in the pros, but nothing gets more fun than high school varsity football under the lights. I will probably go into the facility on Friday nights and watch from the window to be able to see the games. I am looking forward to it just as much as everyone else. Can't wait to see it unfold. *
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
I thought practice was good today. We got a lot of good situation work in. Offensively, I feel like we're getting better in the red zone. We had a couple of different little situations, so that was good. We're excited to be able to get Stefon Diggs locked up. He's been a great kid, he's worked his rear end off to be a good player. He made a heck of a catch out here today. We're excited to have him and we'll continue to keep trying to lock up our good guys.
Q: What does it mean to you to have so many key offensive players locked up for at least three years?
A: First of all, the Wilfs have done an outstanding job with monetarily helping and doing the things that they're doing here to help us have a good football team. And then Rick [Spielman], figuring out who the good players are, and then Rob Brzezinski and George Paton have done an outstanding job. We're going to continue to try to lock up all of our good guys as long as we're here. That's kind of our mantra that we try to do. But those guys all did it, I didn't have anything to do with it really.
Q: Where have you seen Stefon grow in the five years that you've had him here?
A: The big thing with him, he's came in here and worked. He's came in and proved, as a fifth-round draft pick, the things he can do, the catches he can make, the routes he runs and the way he works. He's been a good person off the field, he's been a good person on the field as far as that. When he messes up, he knows. One time I had him in my office and I asked him, I don't know what it was, but I asked him a question and he said, "Now Coach, you know you knew the answer when you asked the question." He's a smart guy who's done a great job.
Q: What makes Stefon so tough on the cornerbacks who try and press him?
A: He's got big time speed and great quickness. He's got big time acceleration. He catches the ball well, but the way he runs his routes he's able to get the defender on his back hip because he can beat him at the line and get into that spot.
Q: Is that a result of the emphasis he's placed on improving his footwork? How much of that is natural talent, and how much of that is taught?
A: Both. He's obviously natural, but he's worked extremely hard.
Q: With Diggs being drafted in the fifth round and Adam Thielen arriving as an undrafted free agent, does the organization emphasize the importance of what you do on the field as opposed to how you enter the league?
A: Yeah, it's important. When guys get here on this football field, we see numbers, we don't see draft rounds. We see numbers and how they work. Marcus Sherels, there's a bunch of guys who have been in that situation who come in here [and succeed]. Eric Wilson last year, we try to put a big emphasis on getting free agents who can come in and make the 53-man roster.
Q: How useful is having a player like Diggs in practice for your defenders?
A: It's great, because they're going to be going against good receivers when we get into the season. It's a great challenge for the defense, a great challenge for the defensive backs, and we don't ever try to take the guy away in practice. It's good for them to see what they have to do with no help.
Q: Did you happen to see what happened to Mike Remmers today?
A: Yeah, I saw.
Q: Can you elaborate?
A: I don't know. We don't talk about injuries. We're not required to talk about injuries here, and the NFL has stated that coaches and players are not allowed to talk about injuries. How simple is that?
Q: Could having to put others guys out there on the offensive line turn out to be a blessing in disguise?
A: They're all going to get reps. Everybody that's out here today is going to get reps.
Q: How has Tashawn Bower progressed since last year?
A: He's getting better every day. He's a lot stronger and more physical now. He's still working on the really good techniques that Andre [Patterson] teaches, so it's still little steps as we go. But he's doing a good job.
Q: How long do you think it takes before a young pass rusher can really get in and contribute?
A: They're all different. Tashawn is a different rusher than [Stephen] Weatherly, so when they're using their ability and learning their techniques, they could be two completely different kinds of rushers.
Q: Mackensie Alexander had a nice interception near the end of practice. How has he improved in his time with the team?
A: Immensely. He's really taken a lot of nice steps. He was a little bit of a bite-back early in his career here. He wanted to do things his way, and he's lucky he's got an even more hard-headed coach than he is.
Q: How much did you enjoy having Darren Woodson here at practice today?
A: It was great. It was great seeing Darren. He's a tremendous football player, I always tell everybody that he was a great football player but he was an even better person. He could do so many things on the field, and he was doing things back then that safeties do now. He was an unbelievable player.
Q: You've been out here for a week. When will you start putting together your depth chart before the first preseason game?
A: Probably more so after that. We'll obviously have a depth chart, but going into the game and seeing our guys play, luckily we get a chance to practice against Jacksonville for a couple of days, so they'll be some good evaluations along with the evaluations we're doing here. It's really not important to get everything set right now, it's important to get set and then move forward once we have some time to work together.
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman
We're excited to get this contract done. Stefon [Diggs], not only what he does for us on the football field, but when I was talking to his mother and how proud she should be of him as a man and how he reps his name, how he reps the Minnesota Vikings off the field as well. I will stay after if anyone wants to grab me for questions, but he's another young guy that we were able to lock up all due because of our ownership and the resources they gave us. Once we got back to normal business it's been a couple late nights here with Rob and I can't tell you how good a job he does and also Adisa Bakari, his agent, did an outstanding job being able to finalize this and get this going.
Vikings Wide Receiver Stefon Diggs
First and foremost I want to thank God. He's played a huge role in my life and my family's life and I thank the Wilf's for everything, Rick [Spielman] and crew and everyone involved. My agent, Adisa Bakari, for getting together and helping us get something done. I love it here. I truly do and I'm just happy I'll be here for a while now. That's why I want to play for them for selecting me in the fifth round. It was a bumpy road that day and I just remember getting a call and they gave me a chance. They believed in me and they won and going forward they pushed me to be where I am now. Just a story I'll share; It means a lot to me because my dad sat me down a couple months before he passed away and he just told me to look after your brothers, look after your mom, and basically look after your family and then. And that meant a lot to me. But with day going forward it just came full circle and I have a lot of emotions, if you can understand a little bit. For it to come all the way around I'm happy that I can look at my mom and smile and tell her that everything is going to be okay. I'm just very thankful for everybody involved and everybody who played a huge part in it. I appreciate it. Lets keep going forward and I'm going to continue to prove them right with the chance that they took on me and believing in me going forward.
Q: When did you tell your mom?
A: That was the first person I wanted to tell. I called her a couple times. You'd be surprised she didn't answer. She probably got the message and she was little frantic a little bit, but she was excited. She was real Momma D in the situation like that. A couple months ago she almost had a heart attack with the touchdown, so I would think this one was a little more relieving. It's just a happy moment. Pops left me a message to do and I accomplished it. Now moving forward I just got to continue to do so and continue to make my mom happy.
Q: What was her reaction?
A: I called her. I knew before you guys, but I called her yesterday and she was like "Okay, okay". I was like I need you to get on a plane right now. I need you to come out here. I need you to be a part of this and she's been with me every step of the way so need her to be here.
Q: What is this going to allow you to do for her and your family?
A: You know everybody. My family is a little different, everybody holds their own. My mom holds her own so I'm going to have to make her do something for once, but it allows me to give her a little relief as a mom. She worked really hard. She worked on the train for almost thirty years and she supported four boys, it's a lot of men in my family. I kind of stepped into the leadership role as a father figure. I have two younger brothers as you all know and for me it was huge to tell her that she don't have to do it anymore. It's going to be okay and say "I got it" once. I got it from now on.
Q: How have you handled the last seven months?
A: I would say just stay grounded, just like football good things happen, bad things happen, just kind of roll with the punches. That's how my life's been pretty much and I try not to get too high or too low, just move forward. When great things happen you take that moment, you savor it. Be thankful for everything that happens because good things don't happen to everybody. Everybody's had some bad ones. So for me I just take the opportunity and thank God and thank everybody involved and move forward so we can all work as one. For me, I'll continue to do what I do, continue to work hard, continue to put my best foot forward so I can continue to do what I'm supposed to do.
Q: Did you ever think this deal would get done?
A: For me it wasn't really a thought process. It wasn't a lot to it. It was something I put in the back of my head. I got to trust that it'll get done. Being a part of an organization is hard sometimes. We have a lot of young, great players and I fully understood that, but for me if it was meant to be it would happen and it did, because it was. For me I was happy because this is where I wanted to be. I didn't want to say too much. I wanted to keep it inside but this is where I'm happy. These are my teammates, my friends – you know Adam [Thielen], I love him to death – other guys, but we've built something special here and I've been here for a while now here a while and we've built something special
Q: When did contract talks start?
A: I don't know. You'll have to take it up with them. That's a question above my paygrade.
Q: Did talks ramp up in the last few days since we've talked to you?
A: No, it was pretty much after that, I guess. I didn't have any updates at that point. You guys were a day early, I guess.
Q: How important was it for you to get the contract done before the season so you can focus on football?
A: I was going to focus on football regardless, whether it was done or not. I want to win. I play for the Minnesota Vikings so I want to win regardless. When I'm under contract, it's not like I'm playing and I'm not under contract. I'm still a part of the organization and I'll want to win regardless of the situation. We can figure it out when it's time. Winning is all I care about.
Q: What does it mean to you that the organization puts such an emphasis on continuity team-wide?
A: It says a lot about the organization. Just as far as what they build and how they build it. As far as having young players and building them up and coaching and bringing them along. We all kind of grew up together, everybody in my class, everybody is still kind of here for the most part. It says a lot. They like to keep their players here, they like to keep a good thing going, especially if it's something special. We do have something special here with the players we have and the pieces that we added. Hopefully we can make this last for a long time.
Q: How do you feel about playing with Adam Thielen for at least three years?
A: Yeah, he's stuck with me. Even after that, I'll come back and bother him for a long time. As far as what we build here, working in tandem is going to happen for a little while longer. I'm excited, I'm looking forward to working with him. Camp has been a heck of a time as far as spending time with the guys and building something. We're all working towards a goal and it takes day-by-day, we take it day-by-day and try not to get ahead of ourselves. Everybody wants to be perfect on this team.
Q: What do you need to do to bring your game to the next level?
A: Just focus, take my time. Focus on the little things, what's gotten me here. I've been growing since I got into the NFL. I try to take that serious, try to take a next step each and every year. Get better at one thing, add it to my game, add it to my toolbox. My thing is, I'm still going, I'm still learning, I'm still young. I'm looking forward and trying to make a lot more plays.
Q: You talked last year about investing in your body to prevent injuries, will this help that?
A: This will definitely play a huge part as far as how much I can pour into my body. Investing a lot of money into my body and making sure I'm in tip-top shape moving forward. I took it serious before but this will definitely something huge that I can use this, and use that.
Q: What sort of things will you be able to invest in?
A: I already have two massages a week but maybe I can double-up on my acupuncture and double-up and maybe get a hyperbaric chamber. Things like that, just small things that I can learn from our veteran guys and the guys that I know that helped them play for as long as they did. T-New [Terence Newman] is an older guy, he's been in the league for 100 years so I'm pretty sure I can learn a thing or two.
Q: What was your draft day experience like?
A: It was a rough day for me. I felt like I had talent but I'm not a complainer. I felt like I was going to go when I was going to go. I was happy when I did get chosen. For me, it put a chip on my shoulder that I still have. Still have a lot to prove. Being that today was such a big day, you just add a couple more chips onto your shoulder. As far as moving forward, trying to still work at everything. How I got here, I worked. I worked to get everything that I got. I earned everything. I had a great support system so moving forward I'm trying to do the same thing.
Q: What do the relationships that you've already established with Kirk Cousins and John DeFilippo mean to you?
A: It's like a relationship thing, as far as being in a relationship with anybody. As far as dealing with someone, you want to make it as easy as possible. The position that they have, as far as coaches and quarterbacks, you want to make it easy on them. For me, I want to be coachable, I want to learn everything. I want it to be done how you want it to be done. That way, I can have success and you're happy at the same time. For me, I try to build that relationship by asking questions. Asking questions, asking how bout this? Or how bout that? Am I doing this right? Just to make sure we're always on the same page. That way, you take some relief off the quarterback and you take some relief off the offensive coordinator so they can trust you out there.
Q: What would you say to your dad if he was here?
A: I don't know, that's a great question. It's kind of weird, because at this point I kind of did everything he told me to do. If he was next to me, I'd just be like, 'Are you happy now?' I don't know. It's kind of like one of those things where he's not here, it probably drove me even more because I knew he wasn't here. I know, hopefully, he's watching down and he's happy. I don't know what dads do in proud moments, my dad was a tough guy. Hopefully he can at least smile.