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Water Break with Pat Jones II

Pat Jones II was on the move from an early age.

The Vikings outside linebacker was born in Yokosuka, Japan, on a U.S. military base, where Jones' father served in the Navy. When Jones was 3, his family was relocated to Jacksonville, Florida.

Two years later, the Jones family relocated again and spent three years in Naples, Italy. After that, they returned to Japan, where the family stayed until Jones was 14.

Despite moving around a lot, Jones recalled living in different countries as an amazing experience.

"I got to experience a lot of different cultures," Jones said. "I lived in Japan; I lived in Italy; I lived in Northern Japan, Central Japan, right outside Tokyo; I lived in the United States, too, so just being able to blend all those cultures, it was just amazing."

We sat down recently for a Water Break presented by Crown Royal.

Q: What were you able to learn from your father's time in service?

A: "My dad taught me a lot. Just to pin [it] on one thing, I would just say consistency. When you're in the military, you've just got to be consistent. You take orders every day and you're just consistent with it and you've got to be the same person when you go to work. My dad was the same person every day he came home. It was just consistency."

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Cowboys.

Q: Did you discover football in Japan?

A: "My parents wanted me to experience the United States, too, so I would come back for the summertime. All my cousins played football, and they all happened to play defensive end. Those are the people I looked up to, so naturally I just wanted to be like them. I always wanted to play football, so when I got my opportunity after I moved back over here, I just took it."

Q: Were you able to experience some high school games in Japan?

A: "They've got football on the military bases, too, but it's not as competitive as it is in the United States. You have to wait until you're in high school to play [in Japan]. They don't have Pop Warner and little league."

Q: How special was it to represent Japan with a helmet decal during Weeks 4 and 5?

A: "It was super cool. Just being able to wear the country's flag and then really just speak to the kids over there. I was over there and no one ever thought I would make it to this position I'm in right now. [I got] to show somebody else over there who might have been like me or anybody over there in general that they can do it. It was a blessing."

Q: What do you appreciate about the NFL's Salute to Service initiative?

A: "I think it's a great thing. My pops served 30 years in the military, so I just think it's a great thing."

Q: You were the No. 1 defensive end in Virginia your senior year of high school. How much did that boost your confidence level going into college?

A: "It boosted my confidence a little bit, but I didn't really look at stuff like that. I've always just been a guy that just puts my head down and works."

Q: After being teammates with Brian O'Neill at the University of Pittsburgh, what was it like reconnecting with him when you arrived in Minnesota, and what were those battles like against him in college?

A: "It was cool. Brian was a great player in college and he's a great player now. It's kind of crazy, I got to go against him when I first got to Pitt and he got me so much better, and then when I first got here, I got to go against him and it got me so much better, so it's just really cool having him as a teammate."

Q: How special was it to get your first two career sacks against Miami in Week 6?

A: "It just felt so great because, first of all, my mom was down there, and she got to see me do it, [and] it was something that we've been talking about. I was a little frustrated about not getting any sacks, so when I finally got it, it just felt so good because the first sack's always the hardest to get."

Q: What's it been like being able to learn from Za'Darius Smith, Danielle Hunter and D.J. Wonnum at your position?

A: "Man, it's a blessing. You've got Za'Darius, Danielle and D.J., all those guys just go out and perform at high levels. Za'Darius and Danielle have really been playing in the league for a long time, so I've got people who have the blueprint that I can follow, so it's amazing."


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Q: What's the relationship been like with outside linebackers coach Mike Smith?

A: "Coach Mike's a great guy. He's a great coach, he has good energy all the time and then he's very knowledgeable. He teaches me a lot."

Q: What has Special Teams Coordinator Matt Daniels brought to the team?

A: "Coach Hat, he brings energy out to special teams and he just makes special teams fun. A lot of people, they think that special teams — they don't enjoy it, but special teams is a really fun part of the game."