Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
It's nice to get back to Mankato. There's been a great tradition here with the Vikings, the Minnesota State University, and the area here. It's great to see all of the fans out already. It's nice to get ready with the players coming back. I think we're all excited about the start of the season. I was out driving around through the fields and seeing all of the work the grounds people did, Chad Lundeen and Paul Martin. It's a first-class facility and we're excited to get back to work. We've got a lot of work to do, we've got a tough schedule and hopefully we can come together as a football team and accomplish some things that we want to get done.
Q: What changes will you make from training camp last year?
A: We're changing it a little bit. We'll change the amount of reps that we do in some of the periods, we're adding some things there. We're going to do a little bit more of inside run deals that I think are important for us to continue to preach the toughness and the mentality that I want for this football team. Other than that, it's not too much. Same format basically.
Q: How much different do you feel now compared to last year?
A: I feel good about understanding the communication between Rick [Spielman] and myself, the expectations of the fans. There are so many things you don't realize your first time going through, like how tough the job is in a lot of different ways. But I feel much more comfortable knowing the players better and knowing the set up better. It's exciting. It's just as exciting this year as it was last year, maybe more so.
Q: How do you feel about reworking Adrian Peterson's contract? Do you think he's happy here now?
A: You would have to ask him those questions, but as far as myself, I think it's great for both sides. I think we've both expressed our opinions on everything and like I've said before a million times, Adrian has always been great with me and that's all I care about. I'm trying to do my very best for him and I'm sure he feels the same way about me.
Q: What are your plans for him at training camp?
A: He's going to get a large majority of the reps. He's like everybody else as far as that's concerned.
Q: Was it difficult as an organization to be patient with the Adrian Peterson situation?
A: I think it was difficult for everybody at times. We all had one end goal in mind and that was what we accomplished. I just think that everybody involved, including Ben Dogra, came together and worked together and figured it all out what would be the best for both sides. When you're negotiating things, I think that's the best. I don't get involved in the contracts or the years. Rob Brzezinski does a fantastic job with that. I just try to give my feedback and lend my support where I can.
Q: You said Adrian Peterson will be trained the same as everybody else. Just with the time off, do you think there will be a difference in whether he's in shape or not?
A: He's in great shape. Through OTAs and minicamp he looked fantastic. He wants to get back too. I'll probably have to hold him back more so than push him. But we all have jobs to do and that's why we're down here right now.
Q: Will there be more contact with the inside runs?
A: There will be more contact with it because of the basic drill that we do.
Q: Is that something you want Adrian to do?
A: Yeah, but we're not tackling Adrian Peterson. All of the guys know that.
Q: Are you committed now to Brandon Fusco at left guard? If so, how do you look at the competition at right guard?
A: We're going to continue to look at that and evaluate it. The first four days we're not going to move anybody around and we're going to leave them where they're at. You'll just have to see where guys line up at first. We're going to leave them alone until we get to the first day off with the players day off and we'll talk about it some more and kind of work our way through things. We want guys that start feeling comfortable and not worrying about, "I'm a right guard in this play" and "I'm a left guard later on in the practice," so I think it's important for us that we settle it down, we get guys comfortable, and then we get moving.
Q: Do you plan on spending more time with that group?
A: I plan on spending more time with Rick Spielman. He just walked by. Actually no, I don't want to actually. I spend a lot of time with everybody, to be honest with you, but I'm going to be down there more. I'm going to be watching that position closely, like I did all spring. But I've got a job to do too and that's some other areas, too.
Q: Do you expect Brian Robison to be ready to go tomorrow?
A: I do.
Q: Do you expect anyone to be on the PUP list?
A: We're having physicals, so we'll find out. I won't know yet until we get done with the physicals.
Q: Your defense improved from 2013 to 2014. What are you looking to see improve in the defense throughout the season this year?
A: First of all, let me say some of the things that I think we did better last year, or we did good last year. I think for the most part, the players bought into the system. I thought they improved with their techniques throughout the time. We didn't give up many big plays. I think we played OK in the red zone, we played OK in third down so those are areas that we've got to improve. We definitely have to do a much better job in the running game. Sometimes, the stats get skewed a little bit both ways because in one game, you're trying to take care of the pass and you may give up some more runs, or vice versa. We have to do a better job there. I don't know how many sacks we had but we had quite a few late in the year and I feel like we could have had a lot more if we would have rushed the quarterback the right way. We let guys get out of pocket way too many times, which allowed the quarterback to hold the ball, move in the pocket and actually, a lot of the running game that goes on the stats are a lot of quarterback runs. Cam Newton had a lot of runs; Aaron Rodgers had a lot of runs; I think Geno Smith had a lot of yards running. That will add to some of the run stats that we have to fix, too.
Q: How do you think that some of the new guys, especially the rookies, will fit into the defense?
A: I have high hopes for a lot of them. What they've done in OTAs and what they've done in the minicamp. Not just there, but in the classroom, their attitudes. We're always looking for tough, passionate and smart guys and Rick's done a good job with that. But a lot of these guys, I have a good feeling about. Now, whether or not they come in here and perform up to my expectations is really what we have to get them to do.
Q: How much easier or better is it to come into camp with defined a starting quarterback?
A: Well that was the number one goal for us all through training camp and through OTAs, is to figure out that position last year. Obviously, we don't have to worry about that right now. So it's good. That position is such a difficult position; it's such an important position in our league and in the NFL. It's nice to go into camp knowing that this is our guy.
Q: How's the cornerback evaluation change with Jabari Price's suspension?
A: It doesn't change very much. We're disappointed, first of all, in what happened there. We're trying to clean up all of those kinds of things off the field with the Vikings. We're trying to make this a team that the fans respect; we're trying to make this a team that our fans are proud of, and to have things like that is not good and extremely disappointing. But it won't change that part about him much.
Q: With Adrian Peterson, Mike Priefer and Jabari Price, the team gives a lot of guys second chances. Does that happen a lot?
A: I wasn't here when all of the Priefer stuff was going down. All of those things are water under the bridge now.
Q: What do you like about Josh Thomas?
A: He's a guy that's played in the league some. He's a good athlete, so we'll see.
Q: What's it like working with Terence Newman?
A: Working with Terence is great. He's a number one first class individual. He's very, very intelligent. I know it was a while ago, but he was a 60 meter indoor Big 12 champion so he's always had great speed, athletic ability, tremendous heart, tremendous courage, and I've always had a great deal of respect for him. Everywhere he's ever been with me, he's played very well. I anticipate that he will do the same here.
Q: How do you manage higher outside expectations?
A: Yeah, I've been on a lot on both ends. I've been on teams that have had high expectations and didn't perform up to expectations. I've been on teams that had lower expectations and exceeded them. I kind of take it with a grain of salt. I believe that no team that has played in a temporary stadium has gone to the playoffs, so we got that going against us. We've got other things. We were 7-9 last year. I reminded the team of these things, but the thing I keep telling the team is that if we go out here in this parking lot and we play better than everybody else, we'll win the football game. If we're the smarter team on Sunday, if we're the tougher team on Sunday, if we take care of the ball better, if we execute better, we'll do those things. It's nice to have people say nice things about you but at the end of the day, if you don't go out there and work, which we have to do during practice, if we don't go out there and work the way we have to in the games and be on point with everything that we need to do, then they'll be saying the exact opposite very quickly. I think we all understand those things and it's part of sports. Honestly, that's the great thing about sports is really what's said in the papers and said in the media outlets, none of that really matters other than when we line up against a guy next to us, do we get to whip him or does he whip us?
Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson
Hello, everyone. It feels good to be back, to get training camp started. I can't say that I'm ever ready for training camp for the past nine years until I actually pull into Mankato and then get that sense, like, hey it's here, and no turning back, the ball is starting to roll. I'm excited and I'm looking forward to a great season.
Q: With everything you've gone through in the past, how does it feel to have fans chanting your name and MVP?
A: It felt good. It's a good feeling just to know the support that I've been receiving through the entire process. It was a good feeling.
Q: When you see the fans, do you feel like that chapter of your life is over?
A: No, not necessarily, but I'm focusing on looking forward. But it's comforting; it's definitely a good feeling to know that the people do have your back. But, it will take a while for this to get erased out of my memory.
Q: A few months ago, did you think that you would be standing here behind you?
A: I had visions of definitely being back here. Things work out and I feel like things worked out in this situation. I'm just happy that I'm here. I'm happy to be a part of the Minnesota Vikings organization. To get back to our goal, and that's bringing a championship to Minnesota.
Q: Were you surprised by the amount of patience the team showed throughout the whole situation?
A: No, not at all. In house, there was a lot of support. They've been around me for eight years so they know what type of person I am. Of course it was a tough situation and different for everyone involved, but at the end of the day, here I am and I'm happy.
Q: Did you ever think that you weren't going to be back here?
A: I didn't know. There was a point, like I said once before that; I didn't know what I wanted to do. I did a lot of praying and with time, I was about to sit back and think about things and smooth things out in my mind and really see what direction I wanted to go in. Those decisions have led me to be here today, being asked questions by you guys.
Q: How happy are you with reworking of your contract?
A: I'm pleased. I feel like both parties are pleased. I'm excited we were able to get things done. It just shows the support these guys have been showing me and that they believe in me and I believe them as well. I'm just looking forward to this season and kicking things off and getting things back on track.
Q: What role does training camp play in moving forward?
A: I think it plays a big role. Last year is over and done with. We were talking about the Minnesota Vikings as a team and the things we were trying to accomplish last year. This year starts a new chapter for that. Kicking off, transitioning from OTAs and the mini camps to training camp is huge. A lot of guys are more comfortable in the system. We know what the coaches expect from us as a team. This is the starting point of us really becoming more crisp, doing what we need to do to accomplish our goals.
Q: Veterans don't always love training camp. After sitting out last year, is there a part of you that's excited to get back out there?
A: It is, and you're right about that. The veterans don't like training camp – I don't think rookies like training camp either. But there is a sense of urgency to get back out there. I've been out there for a minute and I'll tell you, I enjoyed that time off just being around the family. Of course not being able to participate and play with my guys hurt, but being with the family and being able to relax and let the body rest was awesome. I'm excited to get back out there and get back into the swing of things. I've been playing ball since I was seven years old, so to know that I still can do it and do it at a high level, I've been itching to get back out there and start things off fresh.
Q: Is this the best you've felt physically in a long time because of that rest?
A: Yeah. My body feels great. Mentally, I'm stronger than I've been ever before. I just have a different mindset when it comes to life in general and football, too. With that, I know it's going to make me a better player.
Q: Do you have a plan with the Vikings about getting you back out on the field?
A: They haven't laid out a plan for me. I'll leave it up to the professionals – that's what they do. I'm sure whatever plan they have, it will include me so I'm just going to do my job.
Q: Was there any question about reworking your contract before camp?
A: Honestly, not really. There wasn't really a question. I think it was more so of just working out things so both parties would feel comfortable and be happy moving forward. We were able to come to common grounds and do that.
Q: Does the way the contract worked out give you the security that you were looking for?
A: Yeah, it does. Without a doubt.
Q: Are you happy to be a Minnesota Viking now?
A: Yeah, I'm definitely happy. If that wasn't the case, I would have just played this year out and not try to redo the contract. I'm happy to be a Viking. I can say that I've been around these people for a long time now, so they know me and I know them. It's a lot of new faces but it's a lot of guys that I've been around for five plus years. Just the entire organization, not just the head coach, but also the front office, people in the marketing building. You build that rapport with those guys and those women and they're family. It feels good to be back around family.
Q: Does it make you feel more excited to be with a team with a young quarterback In Teddy Bridgewater that's on the rise?
A: It does. He is a heck of a quarterback, he's smart, he has that drive and that want to be great. I've seen that in him last year, I've seen that in him at training camp and watching him through the season and how he finished off. I feel like the sky is the limit for him and the sky is the limit for our team.
Q: Do you feel a need to reestablish yourself in the community?
A: Not really, but those are things I do because that's the person that I am. For the past eight years, I'm sure that a lot of you guys can attest to what I've done in the community. I don't feel like there's anything there to go out there and prove this and prove that. I'm just going to do what I do normally and I think that speaks for itself.
Most exciting time of the year; I get to see you all every day, get to be around my teammates every day. We're excited about this upcoming season. We're excited to be in Mankato for the Vikings 50th season. We're ready to get started.
Q: What's the difference this year coming in as a starter versus as a rookie?
A: I can say I have a year under my belt of playing experience. Playing in Coach Norv Turner's offense, I'm excited for this team this year. Like I said, I'm a year older. Let me tell you one thing I know my way around Mankato much better this year. I'm just glad to be back this year, ready to get started.
Q: How much does it help you to have Adrian Peterson behind you this year?
A: Oh, yeah, definitely. We're excited to have him back. I'm excited to have Adrian back, Kyle Rudolph, Mike Wallace, all of us on the field at the same time. These guys, they put in work throughout the OTAs and we're excited for the team this year.
Q: In terms of Adrian, how is this going to improve the passing game?
A: Well, you know everyone around the league knows what Adrian is capable of doing and I think he will be a huge asset for this team. He's already established himself in this league as one of the best running backs that has ever played this game, so everyone knows what he brings to the table. We're excited to have him.
Q: How important is it to have Adrian's contract situation taken care of and having that distraction eliminated? Chad Greenway was just saying the leadership that he brings is something that many of the young guys are going to experience now.
A: Adrian is probably one of the best guys you could get to know, even outside of football. But last year there was a point where I was struggling in training camp and he told me, 'listen, young guy, there are gonna be times when you struggle. No day is going to be perfect. You can't control the uncontrollable. Only focus on the things you can control and that's how hard you work and how much time you put in studying.' And hearing those words from him last year, it still motivates me to this day. You know he's a great leader, we're glad to have him back in this locker room, glad to have him back on this team.
Q: Mike Wallace was telling us about the workouts you guys were doing down in Florida. Do you feel like you guys have made a lot of progress even though it's only been a few months with him just joining the team? Do you feel like you have been able to make up for that and get a lot of good work in?
A: Yeah, Mike and I were able to spend some time in South Florida over the past five, six weeks. We put in some quality work and Mike is a guy who is eager to be great and to see how motivated he is to be great, it just motivates me. He's a guy who excels in his route running, catching the football. I just can't wait to get out there and compete in live action with him.
Q: Why do you like doing these throwing sessions?
A: The best part about that is you're the coach. You tell the guys how you want a route to be ran and the communication is so intact and Mike may tell me, 'hey I'm going to do this at the top of my route.' So now I know to look for this when he's about to break on an in-cut route or an out-cut route. So there are a lot of benefits to working out outside of the coaching area or outside of the facility. And we just benefit a lot from it.
Q: Are you more confident in telling players what to do?
A: Totally, it just comes over time. You just gain that confidence and you can't just go out there and be a rah-rah guy. You have to prove it on the football field first. I'm just one of those guys who lets my actions speak for itself and let my play speak for itself. But I know that I'm in a position of leadership and I'm not going to force it. We have great guys on this team that are great leaders. We talk about Chad Greenway, Linval Joseph, Adrian Peterson, Mike Wallace, those guys bring leadership to a team that makes me being a leader much easier.
Q: Many think the combination of Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson will make a very potent Vikings offense? Are they right?
A: You can't predict the future but we have high expectations around here that we're not afraid of. We're going continue to just get better. We know that we have a long way to go. We talk about a team finishing 7-9 last year and that wasn't good enough, and if we play that way this year it definitely won't be good enough, so we just have to continue to take it one day at a time. You can't look too far ahead down the road and just try to perfect each day.
Q: Do you think your relationship with Mike Wallace further benefited from you work ethics?
A: Yeah, this team just has a group of men who love to work and each day since last year I would come into work and see how guys put their hard hats on and just come to work and they're totally focused on football from the time they enter the facility to the time they leave. And you know it's pretty exciting for me because it sets a good example for me as a young guy and I can look up to these guys and see how hard they work and how much they cherish their jobs.
Q: What specifically was something you wanted to work on down in Florida?
A: The coaches gave me a game plan; they told me to just continue to just get quicker, be quicker in my decision-making, getting the ball out faster, keeping my elbow high when I'm throwing the ball, so the little things that will just make me better in the long run. So those are some of the things I've tried to perfect over the last six weeks.
Q: How do you think the offseason went?
A: I think it went pretty good. I'm hiding all of my muscles under this sweater right now but it went pretty good. Put in some quality work even besides Miami and South Florida. Down back in OTAs and everything it was just pretty exciting. We put in some good work, developed some chemistry and it's pretty exciting.
Vikings Safety Harrison Smith
Q: How do you manage the higher outside expectations heading into the season?
A: We have been hearing rumblings of how good we can be all offseason and that is something coach Zimmer addressed early. I think we are all pretty grounded guys, hardworking guys. That's all we're focused on. Can't win the Super Bowl today. Can't make the playoffs today. Can't win the division today. You just get better each day at a time. I know that's a boring answer but that's just the truth.
Q: There are many young guys on the defense this year. Being a veteran, are you saying anything to them or leading by example?
A: Obviously the coaches are the ones who develop the players best and teach them technique, but I thinking forming some chemistry with especially the young guys will help them with things that are more on with on field drills. Communicating well with them and having some confidence. They can trust you and come to you and ask you questions. It just makes everybody feel more comfortable. Especially on the back end in the secondary we work together and I think just having trust with another is key. I think when the young guys can count on you, then that helps that trust come along much faster.
Q: Are there one or two things you're hoping to improve on this year?
A: There are a lot of things. Really things in every area. One for example would be becoming a better blitzer, getting better pressure on the quarterback when I get a chance to go. You can improve on in every area especially myself. There's too many areas to list but definitely a lot of things come to mind.
Q: Are you a goal setter?
A: Every year I write down goals. I don't hit them every time but I think it just gives you something to mentally shoot for and kind of keeps you progressing towards something.
Q: How many goals did you reach last year?
A: I like to reach for some pretty outrageous goals, so last year I probably hit under half of them.
Q: What's an example of an outrageous goal set this season?
A: A certain number of interceptions, number of tackles, always number one is play in every game. If you can check that off that's a good one right there. Just down the line, just stats and stuff, which doesn't necessarily win you games but I think it just keeps myself held to a higher standard.
Q: How closely do you pay attention to the other safety spot with the competition there?
A: I wouldn't say I am reading up about it but we communicate a lot together. We play a lot, there is a lot of chemistry. So when you're out there with somebody, you have to be to work well with him. But everybody on the team, going through OTA's I got reps with most guys. Everybody is a smart player and that is the number one thing to do the job. I am just excited to see what happens, but at the same time nothing is given to you so I have to worry about my spot too just like everybody else.
Q: With all the youth and potential around this team how good is it to know to have the Adrian Peterson distraction behind you now?
A: There is always going to be distraction that comes up every year no matter what they are. I am just glad we have AP back. He is such an unbelievable player and a great locker room presence as well. All of us love playing with him, love having him on our side, so I am just happy that he is back.
Vikings Linebacker Chad Greenway
Excited to be in Mankato, and I'm obviously excited for the 50th season in Mankato. I just read that a couple of weeks ago, that's pretty cool. I think we are maybe second in long standing for training camp, super excited about that. In my 10 years they have always been a great host and they have always taken care of us. That's great. The weather looks like it is going to prime up perfectly like training camp weather so I look forward to getting started.
Q: What're your expectations compared to past years?
A: Obviously we have high expectations. Drummed up with the media or just in the organization, a lot of people are excited about this team. Obviously, we are young and have a lot of unanswered questions, but we have been here in this same day over the past ten years. There's been years that we haven't had these expectations and it not quite as fun. Obviously, it's nice to be sitting in a situation where everyone is excited for the team, excited about the direction of the organization and is looking forward to the season. Obviously, there is a ton of work to do and we know what its going to take to get to that point. It's just going to be one day at a time and it's going to be a fun process. Especially to see where the young guys kind of fit in and fill in. Expectations are a good thing, its fun.
Q: Entering into training camp how do you feel physically? Do you take care of your body any differently than say when you were a rookie or second year player?
A: A lot of things have changes since then. It's so much about recovery. You know, obviously, day after day after day the repeated practices and the process, you just try to get through it and try to continue to put good practices in a row and put them together. I also think it's safe to say, at my age and at this point in my career that it's a lot about recovery and a lot about preparing for the next thing that is coming.
Q: Last year you had a special veteran's day off, your first one ever, do you expect any of those?
A: I'm not going to go ask for anything like that, but I did have one of those last year. I think you have to be a certain age so I'm not sure how I felt about it but I took it, I know that.
Q: How has it been with having Adrian Peterson back around the team in OTAs and stuff like that?
A: The off-season was great. I mean, it's one of those things where it is a voluntary type of situation in the offseason and it was drummed up a bit more obviously because so much was going on publically. Once he came in and came back with us there were no issues. It was fun to have him back and he looks great. I know some new stuff with the contract broke. I was hoping he had to restructure like me, seemed to be a little different. He's a Viking and I think that's the most important aspect of this is, in this organization, he is very important he's one of the top players ever in this organization and obviously, one of the top running backs, I think, in the league ever I mean it's one of those things where you want him in here and we want him to be a part of this and he's going to make us a lot better.
Q: Were you surprised at all, especially in today's world, the amount of patience shown through out the whole process to get from where everything was to where it is now with Adrian?
A: Yeah, I just thought it was handled really well. I thought our organization did a really good job of answering all the questions and taking their time and seeing the process through. Obviously, it's just nice to have him in and have everyone on the same page.
Q: Have you spoken to Adrian at all over OTAs and the offseason?
A: I was in communication with Adrian really the whole offseason and the process. I can send you all of those text messages if you want to give me your number. It's one of those things where I have a lot of respect for him and I think its likewise from him coming to me and we have been through a lot of things together and we have been teammates going on nine years. It's a great relationship and a guy that I have a lot of respect for the way he works and the way he plays the game. I tried to help him through if he had any questions about it, any way as a friend and teammate.
Q: How does this environment benefit the team?
A: It doesn't benefit a guy with three children that's a promise, but it is nice to come down here and get our mind right. It's been summer and we have been enjoying our families, everybody has been either across the country or just enjoying their time off. I think it is nice to come back and refocus, it's going to take you a couple of days to integrate into that just like that every year. But it's all football, all day, all the time, and that's what you have to be if you want to be good. I think in this organization we have the guys that want to be good and great and take it to the next level and it's going to take a lot of work and we are hoping to get started.
Q: What's the dynamic like between competing and mentoring the other linebackers when you're competing for a starting job and playing time but you're also trying to pass along what you learned?
A: It's a pretty natural thing. It's happened throughout all sports, all the time, every year. It's a competitiveness that you have within your own group, just speaking of linebackers because I know it. It's also you root for those guys though because you see them put the work in, you see them go out in the offseason, you see they have the character, and the high character guys that they are so it's a little bit of both. It's competitive by nature and it's what we have done our whole lives, I don't think there is any line between it just kind of coincides and you just keep going day-to-day and they're going to ask you questions. Especially me in my room, I'm the oldest by probably six or seven years and so those guys have a lot of questions and I need to be there to answer them for them but I also, at the same time, I have to go out there and take care of business physically and try to start on this football team.
Vikings Wide Receiver Mike Wallace
Q: How's your relationship with Teddy Bridgewater?
A: Just timing, just really building a relationship. Just out there vibing and trying to build something special.
Q: Is there anything with this team that has surpassed your expectations so far?
A: The transition has been great. Coming from one team to another. Just trying to go with the flow and fit in with the guys. It's been great; the guys and coaches are great. The atmosphere is fun.
Q: What's the most important thing in your transition when it comes to building relationships with the guys? How do you fit in?
A: Be yourself. Make sure you talk to the guys. Don't try and shy away from them and don't be in their shadow. Embrace everybody.
Q: Did you get know Adrian Peterson at all over these past couple of months?
A: Yeah, I did. We worked out before with each other one time.
Q: What were your impressions that one time?
A: It's crazy. I see why he is the best
Q: What did you guys do in your workout?
A: Everything. A lot of things. We worked out for four hours straight. That was probably one of the longest workouts I have ever been through. It was great though, I see why he is a machine.
Q: What's it like seeing Adrian in a workout?
A: It's not even the things he does but it's the way he does it. He is always first and trying to win every single time. His endurance is crazy. He is leader and a great guy.
Vikings Linebacker Anthony Barr
Q: Feel any different heading into your second camp than it did maybe a year ago?
A: Yeah, I kind of know what to expect this time around. Everybody is excited to be here. I'm excited to be here and looking forward to getting started.
Q: Are you going to room with Eric Kendricks during training camp?
A: No I get my own room this year. He's taking somebody. All it takes is a year so I'm good on that end.
Q: How did you get your own room?
A: It's my second year all the rookies got to room with somebody else. I found that out pretty quickly.
Q: Are expectations for your self higher than when you came to camp a year ago?
A: Yeah, my expectations of myself are always really high, higher than anyone else's. Similar goals, different year obviously. I want to exceed the ones I set for myself and the team last year.
Q: What are you going to improve this year?
A: A number of things really it's hard to list them all. Just now that I know what I'm doing just play fast and not having to think as much and relax.
Q: Sitting out some of the OTAs and stuff is that something the coach wanted you to do? Or do you feel like you need that extra time to get healthy?
A: We talked and had a discussion and I feel it was good. We took steps to get me healthy, healthy as possible coming to training camp. I missed more time and I would have liked to have been out there to just get those reps, but I'm not too concerned. I'm going to make it up at training camp.
Wide Receiver Adam Thielen
Q: How do you approach this training camp? Is it any different than past camps?
A: No it's not. I'm going to approach it the same. I have a lot to prove individually and as a team. We're excited to get here and get started and I know we have high expectations and that's a good thing. There's going to be a lot of competition and like I said, that's a good thing.
Q: Has the story of former Maverick star been thoroughly exhausted in year three?
A: A little bit. It's nice to be back here, though. This city has done a lot for me. This school has done a lot for me. I loved my time here so it's always good to be to back and come back and see all the people I've been around for seven, eight years now.
Q: When you came here, two, three years ago and the coaches don't really know a whole lot about you, you've got everything to prove. Do you have to prove different things this time? Do you have to prove anything new?
A: I don't know if it's necessarily something different I need to prove. I want to improve every year. Every year I come here I want to improve on the season before. I have a lot of things to build on from last year and I'm excited to be able to go out and show that I can do more than that.
Q: Do you feel like you can be more of a pass catching receiver?
A: Yeah, absolutely. That's been my goal from day one, to be a wide receiver in the NFL. It's not my decision to see who plays and all that, but I'm going to do my best to show that I can play at a high level and whatever they want me to do I'm going to do it and help this team win football games.
Vikings Cornerback Terence Newman
Q: You've been through this a number of times. Is there anything you're looking forward to this camp?
A: It's fun to get to bond with your teammates and go through this journey. I really don't know what is going to happen at the end, who is going to make the team and who is not going to make the team. Here you make bonds that last forever so it's going to be fun to go out and try to get this team in the right direction, win some playoff games, and see what happens from there.
Q: What kind of goals have you set for yourself for these next couple weeks?
A: I mean, just to go out and compete, go get some interceptions, and help lead the younger guys and try to make this team better in any way that I can. Ultimately make the team, everything else from there goes on and those are goals that I will set once the regular season starts.
Q: You haven't been through a camp with this team but you've obviously done several with coach Zimmer. Does that make it so you kind of know the things that you'll be getting into and what will be expected from you?
A: You go through the OTA process and the minicamps and you kind of know what to expect. Every team is pretty much the same when it comes to camp. You know, you are here all day. It's a mental drag, so you have to stay focused mentally and be ready physically. With that being said, I think everybody is ready and I'm ready to get started. It got boring sitting at home during the offseason. I couldn't wait to get back here.
Vikings Defensive Tackle Linval Jospeh
Q: What is it like to have Adrian Peterson back in this locker room what does that mean to you guys?
A: It means a lot to us, I'm glad to have him back. He is an elite running back and I'm glad we are going to have him this year.
Q: You've gotten a chance to see him perform in OTAs. Does he look like the same running back? Has he lost a step at 30 years old?
A: No, he's still got it, I think that year off just gave him two more years on his career so I think he is ready to roll.
Q: How big of a year is this for you guys on the defensive line because I know the run defense kind of struggled last year, how are you guys looking to improve that and how can you improve that?
A: Well, right now we have one year in our system with our coaches and this year is going to be a good year. OTAs everybody was crisp and we just want to get back on the field, come back together and get ready for the first game.
Vikings Tight End MyCole Pruitt
Q: How are you feeling, what have you learned about your role so far?
A: I'm feeling great. I feel like my coaches have trusted me a lot from the jump and they feel like I can handle a nice load so I am ready to come in and work this camp and prove it even more that I can handle that.
Q: Seems like it is a pretty versatile role that they are looking at, is it making it more difficult to pick everything up just given the fact that you are going to be moved around quite a bit?
A: Yeah it makes it a little more difficult, but you know I did some of this stuff in college and I was able to move around and learn a few different positions so the transition hasn't been that hard.
Q: What do you think when people start comparing you and your role to how it can be similar to a Charles Clay?
A: Obviously, that is a great comparison. I'm honored to be compared to a guy like that, and hopefully I can have just as much production as he has had for his team.
Q: Do you get a feel for how much you think you'll be used at this point?
A: Yeah, Norv is always telling me great things and I just have to work this camp like I said and I'll find out even more.
Vikings Guard Brandon Fusco
Q: How big is this year?
A: It's a big year especially for me coming off an injury. This team has high expectations, we want to go all the way this year, do it for the fans, for the city and state, so it's a big year.
Q: Did Matt Kalil stand to your left, because you guys are going to have to get used to this during the season?
A: Yeah, we're going to have to. So, it's a good start.
Q: Is the adjustment from right to left guard a hard one?
A: No, it should be pretty simple. It's not too new to me. I played it before in the past. It's been awhile, but really with OTAs and minicamp I got comfortable with it.
Q: What's in like having Adrian Peterson back in the backfield?
A: It doesn't hurt to have him back, right? He's the best player in the NFL. Best player in the world. We're happy to have him back with open arms and we're just really excited for the season.
Vikings Running Back Matt Asiata
Q: How does it feel to be back at camp with Adrian Peterson?
A: I'm happy to be here, happy to have Adrian. I'm really glad he's back you know but now it's time to work.
Q: How do you look at your particular role?
A: Just going to help the team win and back up Adrian and the rest of the running backs and try to get wins.
Q: Have you talked to Adrian much since mini camp?
A: We text here and there but I try to keep training and stay ready for the start to the season but when it's time to go it's time to go.
Q: People seem pretty excited and happy about how everything transpired throughout the spring and getting his spot back with the Vikings?
A: I think he's happy. I know I'm happy. Glad to be back and ready to roll.
Q: Does he look like the old Adrian from what you've seen?
A: Adrian is going to be Adrian. I'm glad he's here.
Q: How do you and Jerick McKinnon stay motivated knowing that Adrian is going to be the number one guy again?
A: You know you never know what's going to happen but it's a long season. We're here to work, we're here to bump each other up.
Vikings Punter Jeff Locke
Q: Does it feel real to be at camp yet?
A: It does. We get that solid amount of time off from January to March and we get a couple of weeks off after OTAs so about a week out, you're biting to get back and get to work.
Q: These fans are following you in the hot of the summer. What does that tell you about this fan base?
A: It's crazy out here in Minnesota and I love it. Being from California and having no big team out there and seeing the fans kind of go different ways with their allegiances to everyone being die-hard Vikings is really awesome to see.
Q: How has the packing changed over the years?
A: A lot less. You know what you need and don't need. When you first come in, you think you need to pack everything because you don't know what you need. I'm probably two bags less each year. I just kind of know what's going to be needed and what's already here for us. You don't need much.