TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on the offensive struggles)
Just inconsistent. We go for a fake punt, we execute it, and Babineaux did a great job, and we fumble the next play. It just seemed like whenever we did something on offense the penalties started adding up, the five-yard penalties, with motion, holding calls, at crucial times. We can never just get out of our own way to do something we wanted to do offensively throughout the day, I thought. On the onside kick, we recover that and fumble that out of bounds. We just couldn’t get out of our own way.
(on if the team prepared for a tough opponent)
We all thought that. We knew Minnesota’s play very well. They’re 3-1, they’re hard to beat at home, no matter what their record is. We knew we were going to have to play a very good football game. I think we thought we could come do that, and obviously, in parts we did – the defense, again, we had great field position in the beginning of the game, the offense was at midfield, and like I mentioned, after converting the fake punt, we could do nothing with it. The defense is eventually going to break down. The dam’s eventually going to bust, and they’re going to make a few plays, and they did. We have no one to blame but ourselves.
(on if fatigue set in on defenders)
I think they held us, and they kept us close. We turned the ball over twice again in the first quarter, the first quarter became the second, which, again, is killing us all season, and will kill you when you’re doing those things. And we put in on the defense; they held them to a couple field goals, which was big, we got the pick before the half. That game could have been blown out at half-time because of the way we were playing on offense, so the defense did give us a chance there with the 13 points, and then they get the ball back for us, and then on offense we go three-and-out again. We had six plays in the third quarter. Again, penalties; we got first-and-15 and converted. We had a holding call. It’s frustrating to watch because you never get a chance to run the offense, hardly today, I didn’t feel. And we just didn’t execute.
(on having difficulty in the running game)
I think the penalties and the turnovers really, I think, affected the flow of the game. That’s really been killing us all year. It kept us in one-down situation, which you don’t want to be in when you’re on the road in a noisy place. They have great fans here; we knew that. We need to avoid some of the situations we got into, and we were just out of sync. It’s a team loss. We didn’t play well at all, when the smoke clears, as a team. We have a lot of work ahead of us.
Well, you have to help him, too. You can’t put him in long-down situations over and over again. Their quarterback, I don’t know if he was in a long-down situation all day. That’s what we seem to be doing on our side. Obviously we’ve lost games that have been lopsided at the end when the scoreboard ended, and we haven’t had a chance to put pressure on the other team’s quarterback as much as our quarterback has been under pressure because of us being behind, us being forced to make plays on long-down situations like today, so it’s just hard to understand why we’re not playing better. We need to play better. It starts from me, to the coaches, to the team. We’re just not playing good enough right now.
(on if mistakes happen because players are pressing or failing to execute)
We know things happen. There’s no one answer for why C.J. fumbled, why (Hasselbeck) threw an interception, penalties. Obviously they don’t do this on purpose; that’s not what we’re trying to do, but right now it just seems like maybe when a player’s pressing he makes a mistake. It was noisy, so you know you’re going to have some of that, but we’re usually better than that. We usually don’t have them; we usually have three or four (penalties). We just can’t do these things on the road. We’re doing things to hurt ourselves. Even when we had a chance to give ourselves momentum, we get back in it, and we can’t get that onside kick. We’re still down a couple scores, but who knows? Maybe we’ll make it back into it – getting the fake punt thing, getting the first-and-10 on their 45, that should turn the game a little bit, but we fumble right away. It’s things like that that are hard to take; maybe we’re just not good at overcoming some of that.
(on if guys need to ‘step up and make some plays’)
It’s when you lose, when you’re 1-4, you’re definitely not making plays. We’re not doing that enough right now. We’re giving the ball up, and we’re helping the other team beat us. Credit the defenses, also, that we play for that. It’s not just us giving them up, obviously. They’re making too many mistakes, and we’re not making enough plays as a team. We had chances in this game. It doesn’t matter what the game is or what the final score is. There were obviously plenty of chances in that game for that game to go a different way, but we don’t make those plays in the windows we’ve been getting throughout the year. We’re just not making the plays. Like you said, it may be a pick, ball’s tipped and we don’t catch it. It could be on the offensive side – not making a play, not making a run. When you’re losing, those are things that are happening.
(on where the team goes from its 1-4 start)
You don’t have time to feel sorry for yourself. We have a game Thursday night against a very good football team that’s coming to Nashville, so maybe that’s the best thing for us – that we’re playing in four days against a good team. Maybe see how we respond to that. Because, like I said, right now I think we can play much, much better than we did today. We had a chance to do that, even at halftime at 13 to nothing, the game’s not lost. It wasn’t. And unfortunately, in the third quarter, we didn’t make a game out of it when we could have. The defense gave us a chance to do it and we didn’t, and then the fourth quarter happens and the game’s over. There’s nowhere to go. We have to come back and win a football game. It’s coming back to work on a short week, find out what you’re all about. We are who we are. There’s no draft coming up, there’s no adding more players, getting new coaches. This is the group we have, and with this group we have to play much better, and we have to do it quickly.
(on if he used his timeouts to send a message)
I don’t think there was any message. I felt we had them, we might as well use them. Get the guys in the game, finish the game the right way. I hate to watch a game finish with kneel-downs. We had the three timeouts, we were hoping a score on that, so I thought let’s not get rusty. Let them play a little bit. Let’s run the ball a little bit; there’s still a couple minutes to go.
(on the severity of
We’ll get the details. It’s hard; obviously he was in a lot of pain when he got injured. For his knee, we have no idea the extent right now, and that’s the hard part of the game. You lose a game, that’s bad enough. When you get guys hurt, that’s the hard part about this, and hopefully it won’t be as bad as it seemed when it happened.
TITANS RB CHRIS JOHNSON
(on how disappointing it is to lose another game)
It is kind of disappointing, running down the same road every Sunday or whatever. We’re not able to put drives together and put up points.
(on what the problem was on Sunday)
Honestly, just not making plays, not staying on the field, not being able to sustain drives.
(on the difference in the running game this week from last week)
Not just running; the whole offense didn’t do anything. Didn’t put up no points, didn’t stay on the field. Everything took a toll, so just can’t say the running game, it was the whole offense.
(on if the offense is pressing the running game)
I wouldn’t say that. I don’t think our offense has been making plays, period. Not just the running game, if we can’t stay on the field and get first downs and score a touchdown I don’t think you look at just the running game, you have to look at the whole offense period.
(on how he feels about Javon Ringer)
Real bad. It’s just a guy that is at practice with us every day. Anytime someone has an injury like that, not really sure the whole thing, what really happened to him or whatever. Just having a guy there knowing it looked crazy like that was real sad.
(on if a defender hit the ball to force a fumble)
Yeah, they just made a good play. Trying to just make plays and run hard and they got it from the side, reached their hand in there and poked it out. Just a situation playing the position that I play, things like that happen. You have got to put it in the back of your mind and forget about it and continue to play.
(on where the team goes from here)
Really just have to try and come together as a team and start trying to get some victories here. Honestly, the worst thing that we could do is to start pointing the fingers, this person isn’t doing that and this person isn’t doing that. We just have to come together, honestly when we get on the field we have to make plays.
TITANS CB JASON MCCOURTY
(on keeping it close In the first half but not in the second half)
Well a play here and a play there we don’t make, and for us as a defense we have to make those plays. A touchdown by (Percy) Harvin, that was just a poor job of tackling for us, and no matter what is going on in the game, whether we are out there the whole game or just a few series, we just didn’t make plays today. For us on defense we have to find a way to make that not happen.
(on if he is baffled by the team’s 1-4 start)
Yeah man that wasn’t the expectations and intent by anything for us as a team to be in this predicament, but like Coach (Mike Munchak) just told us, we are who we are. We are in the situation we are in because of the way we have played and it’s up to us to go and change that. At this point we don’t have that many days to get ready for Pittsburgh, so the most important thing right now is putting this one behind us and getting ready because that game is going to happen Thursday if we are ready or not.
(on the defense spending a lot of time on the field)
When we are out there on defense we always say to each other, ‘Control what we can control.’ We are conditioned; we can do it. It is up to us to get off the field. The more that we can get off the field, the more we are giving our offense a chance. So part of it is we have to do better on offense, and the other is we have to do better on defense. Let’s stop them every time on third down and get off the field more, but for us we just have to improve.
Definitely. He is our star middle linebacker. He is one of our captains, and he is a playmaker. So having him back out there was just huge for us. (I’m) just mad we couldn’t get the win but to see him back healthy, running around, making plays.
TITANS DL KARL KLUG
(on returning to his home state for the game)
It was fun because I got to play games here in high school and college so it was definitely fun to come back and hear all the support I had, plus all of the fans coming up from Caledonia. That was pretty cool, but unfortunately the game didn’t go that well.
(on how tough it was to get pressure on Minnesota’s offense)
Yeah, we just struggled in every aspect. Stopping the run and the pass (was difficult). We did have the two take-a-ways, but overall it was a rough day.
(on if he had a chance to meet with family or friends)
Not yet. Wait; I take that back, I met with my mom and sister and her fiancé, as well as her little niece before the game last night. I’ll probably catch up with some of the family afterwards.
(on how nice it was to have all the support here from family and friends)
It was awesome. You know, last time I was here I heard hometown people yelling out in the stands, so that was cool. I heard that again today.
(on if it makes it easier to play, or harder to play)
I would actually say easier for me, as it felt like a home game.
(on if his Minnesota connections make the loss easier to take)
More embarrassing. You lose 30-7 and then you have to come out and talk to your family, but life goes on and you just have to learn from it and just keep moving.
TITANS WR KENDALL WRIGHT
(on if he was able to develop a rhythm with Matt Hasselbeck)
He was coming to me so I just have to be ready and make a play at all times, so hopefully we keep that rhythm and we all get on the same page so we can get back to Tennessee Titan football.
TITANS G STEVE HUTCHINSON
(on the offense’s struggles)
They played good defense, but we shot ourselves in the foot so many times. We had missed assignments, myself included, dumb penalties. When we were getting some stuff going, defense and special teams gave us good field position in the first half and we couldn’t get anything done with it.
(on the difficulties in the third quarter)
That’s the thing. For as bad as we played offensively in the first half, the defense did a great job keeping us in it. Keeping it to a 13-point game, we just didn’t do anything with it. Too little, too late. We got something going there at the end; I guess that’s more for pride, just to show that we didn’t completely lay an egg. There’s fight in this team, and we are not going to quit. We just got to play smart. It’s nothing to do with can’t do; it’s just that we need to play smart.
(on if he is baffled by the team’s 1-4 start)
Yeah, I don’t know if there is any team in the league that set their goals to be 1-4 to start the season. Yeah, anytime you start out 1-4 you’re a little baffled.
(on if self-inflicted mistakes are the most frustrating)
Yeah, it’s hard. It’s not like they weren’t making plays over there. That’s a good football team. I obviously know all those guys, and we went through a rough season last year and they are making sure that doesn’t happen again. They are making the plays when they have to. But it’s not all the other teams that we are playing; a lot of it is what we are doing to ourselves.
TITANS QB MATT HASSELBECK
(on the offense’s struggles to find consistency)
I thought we started out well but we didn’t convert. But, after that we could not sustain drives. It felt like we were in third and long positions, and that is not what you want to be in against this team. We wanted to have a lead on them, and we were not able to do that.
(on the interception he threw and dropped passes in the first half)
Those things cannot happen. There were a couple things that turned the other way and were dropped. The one that was intercepted, I was anticipating he would turn inside and he turned outside, and it was a judgment call. Those are the kinds of things that we need to clean up. And finding ways to win the first and second downs so we can be more successful on the third down.
(on difficulties in the third quarter)
Extremely frustrating, and I think we liked how the feeling after halftime was. We were not able to do anything with it. It was (23-0) or whatever it was, and we went into the two-minute-mode too early in the game and we were not able to get it done. It was one of those situations where I asked myself, ‘What did we say we were going to do yesterday?’
(on how the team can find a spark and turn things around)
We are how we play and this is how we are playing. One thing that I can say is we can fix it, we can turn it around. We have a chance to four days from now. It’s going to be hard because we are not playing good football right now, and we need to try and figure out a way to fix it. We are not happy with the product we are putting out there. We had a really good practice this week, at times it was sloppy. I think the penalties showed up. I think it was in the double digits. Whether we like it or not, we have a game Thursday and we have to be ready to go.
(on what was going through his mind during the game)
Just looking for solutions. Also, having been in this situation a time or two, it is the worst feeling you can have in football. We gotta get it fixed. I know it sounds dumb, but we need to roll up our sleeves and get back to work and fix things.
VIKINGS HEAD COACH LESLIE FRAZIER
Just a great job by our fans coming in and giving us a lot of energy. We thought it was going to be an emotional game by our football team, a game we felt like we had to have being at home. Can’t say enough about the energy we drew from our fans. It was great to have as many people here to cheer us on as we had. Look forward to that always being the occasion when we play at Mall of American Field. Our players played their butts off throughout the game. The first half to the second half, then being able to finish the game. Just a great effort all the way across the board; offense, defense, special teams, just understanding the things that are necessary to win in our league. The preparation that we put in during the week and then to go out and play as hard as we played, I take my hat off to our players and our coaching staff for preparing them to go out and play hard, play smart football, play tough football, disciplined football, which we want to embody. We want our team characteristics to show up every time we play. I thought our guys and our coaches did a great job of coming into this game with the right frame of mind. The only injury that we suffered, it was more of a pregame deal with Jerome Simpson. We are still trying to figure out exactly what is going on with his lower leg. Some of you may have seen us working him out early, trying to figure out if he was going to be able to go or not. We decided to let him play and he did a pretty good job but he wasn’t himself. We have to run some tests and see what’s going on with his lower leg, more the ankle area, and try to figure out what’s going on. We’ll know more hopefully tomorrow after they run some tests and try to determine what’s going on there. But other than that we came out pretty good. Usually there are some guys that will be a little bit banged up and we’ll learn a bit more tomorrow but from everything I’ve been told, we came out pretty good injury wise.
(on if Jerome Simpson had difficulty fully stretching before the game)
Yeah he wasn’t able to really push off and didn’t feel like he had the strength in the lower leg. We have to try to find out why, why is that the case.
(on what has improved since their loss in Week 2)
I still have to go back, when you talk about improving our team, to April 23rd when they came to the building and we began to really set the tone and set the foundation for this 2012 season. In that phase one of this new CBA, the coaches can really be around them but we talked to Tom Kanavy about what we wanted to establish with our players when they walked in the building. To have had the type of participation we had from our football team throughout the offseason, that’s where the improvement beings. When you have a situation like we had after I think the second ball game, the Indy game, because of the work we did in the offseason, you can draw upon that to help you get past that situation. Everything you’re seeing now is a by-product of what happened this offseason with our players. They are to be congratulated for showing up, and allowing our coaches to work with them and really put them through the paces this offseason so we could get this thing turned around and headed in the right direction. That’s how you change the culture, by the things that we did this offseason.
(on continuing to improve the defense)
You’re right, tremendous improvement, continued improvement. You have to credit Alan [Williams] and the defensive staff along with our players for preparing extremely well every week and going out and executing the game plan and really just believing in the things we’re trying to get done. I think Alan and the defensive staff deserve a lot of credit but our players’ willingness to say, ‘okay so this is how we’re going to do this, this is what’s it’s going to take for us to be successful’ and buying into that and then going out and practicing and playing the way they’re playing. Just can’t say enough about their effort and their desire to be good. They want to be the best defense in the League.
(on saying the game was one that Minnesota had to win)
For us, the previous wins were against teams that people on the outside probably didn’t think that we would have much of a chance to win. Then you come back at home against a team that they’re hearing from their friends, saying ‘Oh you guys got this you got this,’ and what tends to happen, you can have a lull in your preparation, you can have a lull in the emotion and necessary tools to go out and win a game like this. That’s a team, in our minds, that was better than their 1-3 record. They played some very good opponents and in our League, you don’t ever want to take any team for granted. Every team in this League can beat you on any given Sunday so it was important for us from a maturity standpoint to show that we can win a game against what we thought, and we still believe, has a chance to be a very, very good football team. For us to go out and dominate in so many ways, that’s a good sign about our football team.
(on his reaction to Kyle Rudolph’s touchdown)
I had just talked to our coaches on the headset about using the clock was more important than a touchdown. Then Bill [Musgrave] said, ‘Well we got a touchdown on this play, we can get it’. Okay, call it, and we scored. I turned around and looked at him and said, good job Bill. So much for using clock and running the ball. But it was a great play by Christian [Ponder] and Kyle and a great job by Bill and the rest of the offensive staff.
(on the decision to have Antoine Winfield be the nickel)
One of the things we want to be able to do with Antoine, and some of our other players’ is be able to take some snaps off them at this point in the season and hopefully when we get to November, December we still have our pressure Antoine Winfield and a guy who can really continue to play at a high level for us. It is his 14th season in the League so whenever we can take some snaps off him and get Josh [Robinson] a chance to continue to develop, we’re going to try to do that.
(on his thoughts regarding Harrison Smith’s ejection)
From everything I’ve been told, it was a justifiable ejection. You can’t touch the officials, it’s just not smart on our part doing that. We have to learn from that and it’s just not smart, not smart football.
(on his conversation with Percy Harvin this summer)
We talked about a lot of things back then. A lot of things and I’m sure winning was a part of it, but just making sure he and I wanted the same thing and that’s to bring a championship to Minnesota and that’s exactly what he wants, that’s what I want and as long as all our players feel the same way, there are no problems that we can’t work through. We are all on the same page. We want to bring a championship to Minnesota and that’s what’s most important.
(on Harvin’s season so far)
He’s been incredible. Whether he’s in the backfield, in the slot, wide out, returning kicks, he’s a terrific football player. We all know that. It’s so obvious. The emotion that he plays with, the way he practices, he practices hard. He’s a great example for our young players as to what it means to be a pro. I’m glad he’s a part of our team. I’m glad he’s doing the things he’s doing. He’s been fantastic.
(on what point this offseason did it become a priority to make Harvin more involved on offense)
I mentioned a couple, times when I was at the Senior Bowl, a lot defensive coordinators were coming up to me and even when we were at Indianapolis at the Combine, coaches were coming up to me saying, ‘Man, that Percy Harvin is a hard guy to defend. We have to do this, we have to do that,’ I said, ‘Man, we have to find ways to keep him on the field.’ Even when he’s not given the ball or he’s not involved in a play, those defensive coordinators are still trying to figure out, if Percy is on the field, we have to do this, we have to do that. When I came back and we started preparing for this next season, I talked to Bill [Musgrave] and the offensive staff and said, ‘Whatever we do, we have to make sure we’re trying to find ways to keep Percy on the field, even when he’s not involved in plays.’ There’s a little bit of risk-reward, we’re always concerned about over- using him and he plays so hard the fatigue factor comes in, but we have to see the big picture. I knew we had to be able to keep him on the field more than we did a year ago and it’s paying off.
(on his level of confidence in S Robert Blanton when he was forced to go in)
We have confidence in him. He had a good week of practice. We talked about the possibility, we carried three safeties a week ago, and we carried three this week. We’ve been preparing him in case this happened but you hope it doesn’t happen. If it does happen, we had an emergency plan, a contingency plan if something would have happened to another guy, to either he or Jamarca [Sanford]. Fortunate for us, Robert played very well and Jamarca had another very good game for us. It’s good. It’s good for all of us. It’s valuable experience, I don’t like for it to happen that way but it turned out good.
(on if he would have moved a cornerback to safety)
We had no other safeties so it would have been a corner but I’d rather not talk about who that would have been but hopefully we won’t have to get in that situation where we have to have someone to do it, but yes, it would have been a corner
(on if he dismisses Christian Ponder’s interceptions considering how well the game went)
I told him what I was so proud of was the way he bounced back from those two picks. A year ago, I don’t know if he would have been able to stay as engaged as he was after the second pick. It shows a sign of maturity because he came back, he didn’t have any drop off and he had great confidence. We talk all the time to our players about not letting the last play affect the next play and play one play at a time and just keep moving on if there is a mistake. We’ll learn from it and we’ll grow from it. I’m just very, very proud of the way he reacted to those two negative plays. That’s a great sign for our football team that he’s maturing that way.
(on if starting 4-1 changes his expectations of the season?
Not at all. You know from training camp what our goals have been and our goals have not changed. We want win the NFC North and we want to bring championship to Minnesota. Our goals have not changed one bit.
(on at what point does he start to think maybe there’s something special here)
Well it’s still so early. There’s so much more football to be played. We all know there have been a lot teams that have gotten off to great starts and, like I said before, you don’t see them in December. We don’t want to be one of those teams. It’s much too, early to write the script about how the season is going to end. There are so many factors that can come into play that could affect the season. We’re going to work as hard as we can and play one game at a time and do our best to be prepared for our next ball game.
(on if he had a chance to talk to Harrison Smith after his ejection)
Yeah, we talked after the incident and just a few minutes before I came in here so we have to learn from it. We have to learn from it.
VIKINGS DE JARED ALLEN
(on Tennessee scoring late to prevent the shut out)
They did a good job. They changed it up and went no huddle. We thought they were going to take a shot (downfield), but in the schematics of the game – you’re up 30 points – you just don’t want to give up a quick score. If they check it down the whole way down the field and they waste six minutes off the clock, that’s it. But I was hoping for a shutout. I really was.
(on if this was the best defensive performance of the year)
We have to go watch the tape. Each one’s on their own merit. Totally different team. It’s been accumulative since that game. Something clicked after that loss to the Colts. We were out of body and out of character for what we do but we’ve gotten back to that. A lot of credit goes to Coach [Alan] Williams (Defensive Coordinator) because he was able to recognize that and listen to some of the vets, take ideas in, and hone in what we do.
(on if it is that he’s learned the system or is that overstating it)
I think that’s overstating it. Yes, we needed to learn the system, but the coach also needed to learn us. So I think it’s been a combination of him knowing what we can do well and we knowing what we can do well in the system.
(on if he saw the Titans getting frustrated during the game)
I wouldn’t say frustrated, but their confidence wasn’t where it was at. We came out and our thing from the get go is that we’re going to be physical. That’s what we want to do: Be physical. “Out physical” the other team. When you’re able to stop the run, and you put them in third-and-8s, third-and-7, you can dictate what you are doing. (Titans QB Matt) Hasselbeck gets the ball out fast and that really is a good team, as far as the things they do. Short and intermediate route running. Hasselbeck doesn’t turn the ball over so to get a pick and two sacks is huge for us. We knew we were going to have to take advantage of the opportunities and the only, way we could do that was to get them in third and long.
VIKINGS WR PERCY HARVIN
(on his touchdown catch)
It was just a bubble screen. It was a great job by my blockers. I just tried to find space and do what I do.
(on receiving praise from his linemen for the plays he makes on his own)
That’s the special thing about this team. I’ll put it on them, they’ll put it on me. Like I said, we’re all in this together. As long as we come out with a victory, I could care less how we got it. We’re a close-knit team and we’re going to keep fighting. Hopefully the results keep coming with wins.
(on how critical it is to be able to sustain long drives)
It is very, very important. Keeping the defense off of the field. Switching field position. Winning the field position battle is huge. Just being in rhythm. The more Christian can get in a rhythm the better for our offense. The more snaps for our offense the better.
(on how crucial it was to keep it together after there were a few turnovers)
I think that focus has been crucial these first few games. We’ve had a lot of things not go our way. We’ve been in the redzone a bunch of times; wanted to get seven, but only got three. We’re just going to keep fighting. I think it’s a direct result of us just staying in tune, a vice-versa of last year.
(on if the team is improving every week)
We took a couple steps. We still left a lot of plays out there on offense. Still would like to get seven instead of three. So we’ve still got a lot of work to do. We’ll watch film and improve on it.
(on having breathing room in the fourth quarter)
That was huge. I was talking to the trainers and they said it’s been a long time since it’s been like this. I think it’s been since my rookie year, maybe since we’ve been able to shut it down like that. I think it’s a testament to our work. We’re just going to keep working and keep working and hopefully we’ll be sitting on a lot of victories.
(on what’s going through your head on that remarkable run)
I am blessed with a lot of ability. That’s my thing. I just try to get in open space, ever since I was younger. If I can get in open space I feel like I can make things happen. It was a missed tackle by them.
(on if he sees every guy or does he feel them)
It’s a little bit of both. It’s hard to describe now. A lot of ball carriers will say, not only me, that you can just feel defenders. So I had awareness of where they were at, so I was able to make one miss and was able to get in the endzone.
(on if he surprises people with his power)
A lot of times in the pile guys will be saying to me, “Man I can’t believe you’re that strong. Or man, slow down.” It’s all good stuff, but like I said, I’m not worried about that. I’m just worried about getting my job done.
(on what do people say when he jukes them)
A couple of them tell me to slow down that, they can’t catch up. I just look at them and laugh and say that’s my job.
(on how well the defense has played)
They’ve played big. They’ve carried us these last two games. While they’re doing that hopefully this offense can get going because if they can keep making stops like that, it’s going to be our job to put points on the board.
(on what they did schematically this week to involve him in the game)
We knew early in the week that their secondary was giving up that seam. We were going to have some opportunities with the pass to make some plays. By doing so, we were able to come out with the win.
(on if physicality is a mindset too)
Definitely, it’s a mentality. Around here we count every yard. All I mean is if you run out of bounds you’re going to have a coach look at you kind of funny. We want every yard. Every yard is hard to come by so I want all of them.
(on what it means to have some of his teammates calling him the MVP of the league)
It’s humbling. It’s a great honor. Being that some of the names, not just in the NFL but on this team, (Adrian Peterson) and guys like that. It’s just humbling. But at the same time I’m just worried about doing my job at a high level. So I’m not worried about all the talk, I’m just trying to do what I always do.
VIKINGS RB ADRIAN PETERSON
(on how pleased he is with the offense)
Our offensive line had a great game. Unfortunately, I didn’t play well the first half and that was just because of low energy and lack of focus. Overall, our offense did a pretty good job.
(on the team’s 91-yard drive setting the tone for the game)
That’s how we play. We come out, start fast, and finish strong from every position.
(on how important is it for the team to positively respond to turnovers)
Coach Frazier tells us all the time that there are going to be situations when we have to overcome adversity. We were able to stand up and move forward, but not think about what happened before. We were able to come back and create drives to run that clock down.
(on if he was pleased with his performance)
No, I was out of whack. I was thinking about my ankle too much because it was tender. I had to come in second half and re-adjust. I did all right the second half, but I can do better than what I did.
(on how important Percy Harvin is to the team)
He’s extremely talented. He’s one of the best players I’ve ever played with. He is so explosive. We need to continue to get the ball in his hands because he will make something happen sooner or later.
(on if he feels like the team is getting closer and closer to where they want to be)
Yes, I’m big on faith and with faith, you have to be patient. Things don’t always come when you want them to.
(on if the confidence on this team is getting higher and higher)
Yes, it is, especially when we go and see how many opportunities we blew. It could have easily been 30 to 0 at halftime. It’s good for our confidence, but we still have a lot to improve on.
(on having more success in the second half)
Yeah, we came out and continued to run the ball. I feel like offensively we were more in tune and got into a rhythm.
(on if the offensive line is coming together)
It is. These guys are improving more and that’s all you can ask.
(on why Percy Harvin’s versatility has continued to improve)
He can do anything. He is determined and strong willed. He is taking on challenges that our offense is throwing to him. He is taking advantage of his opportunities. He has always been a hard worker. He works just like me during practice. It’s not such a surprise to us when he comes out and does these things.
(on why he said he lost a little bit of focus during the first half)
In the second play of the game I got my ankle twisted up. I was thinking about it too much. I couldn’t cut and I was trying to test it out. That threw my focus off. I was hesitant on some plays, but the guys kept me encouraged and I bounced back the second half.
(on if he got banged up in the second half)
Just got my ankle twisted up. The whole game I was fighting through it. The wrong tackle aggravates it, but I got through it.
(on if the ankle injury kept him from getting to the outside)
Yes, that’s what it was.
VIKINGS QB CHRISTIAN PONDER
It’s nice to officially beat last year’s record so that’s always good. 4-1, for us to string together three wins now is big-time. Obviously, last year we never had back-to-back wins and for us to do it and continue to be undefeated at home is huge for us. The crowd today was unbelievable and the defense played extremely well, held them to only seven points and that was towards the end of the ball game. Offense made plays, we had a lot of big playmakers make plays and it’s not good, but it’s good to get the interception thing out of the way and not have to worry about it. Great team win and we’re excited and we’re going to enjoy this one but again, the NFL is a week-to-week deal. We have to put it behind us but we’ll enjoy it tonight.
(on recovering after throwing the second interception)
Yeah, I just shook it off. Good thing was with both of those interceptions, they weren’t bad decisions, they were bad throws. The first one, Kyle (Rudolph) was wide open, threw it a little high and it bounced around and the second one, I should have waited like a half-second more to let Jerome (Simpson) clear that backer but I shook it off and moved on. That’s part of the role, part of the job. I was going to throw an interception at some point this season and knock on wood, but it might happen again, probably will happen again and that’s my job to put the team first and move on and forget it.
(on spreading the ball around)
Yeah, I think we had eight guys receive the ball. Yeah, I think that shows the depth that we have of playmakers on this team. There are a ton of guys that are filling in roles. Rhett (Ellison) stepped up big, had that big catch at the end and rotated between receivers with Devin (Aromashodu) and Michael Jenkins and Stephen Burton. Guys are getting in there and making plays.
(on if he’s surprised by starting 4-1)
No, we knew we had a good team going into this thing. I know everyone else is surprised that we’re 4-1. What stinks is we should be 5-0, we had that close game against Indianapolis. We’ve always had a good team. When you look back at last year, nine games were really close and it could have been a lot better record than it was last year. We feel good about being 4-1, but we’re never satisfied.
(on if it is a pleasant surprise to be where they are in the division)
It’s nice for now but it doesn’t mean anything. We still have 11 more games to go so things can change and shake up but we definitely like where we’re at right now. We still know there’s a lot of work left to do.
(on how he would describe Percy Harvin)
One of the best players in the NFL right now. Very dynamic. I saw someone call him a beast so that’s probably a good word to describe him. He’s so athletic and that touchdown catch that he had to make all of those guys miss was unbelievable. Again, we’re going to keep giving him the ball and he’s going to keep making plays like that.
(on what he thinks when Harvin makes the cuts that he does)
It’s crazy but it definitely makes my job easier and that’s the bubble route that we’ve thrown a million times and guys are always trying to take it away but he still does a great job of making it happen and making it work and he’s definitely an unbelievable football player.
(on what’s going through his mind when Harvin bounces off a guy and avoids two guys completely)
What’s going through my mind is that I could probably do that too. No, it’s kind of like you’re in awe watching him and between him and Adrian Peterson, those guys, when they get the ball in their hands are fun to watch.
(on why teams haven’t been able to stop those plays)
They did a good job of trying to take it away but he’s Percy Harvin. When I threw a screen route to him on the left side and the guy was right there but he made him miss. Defenses are doing a good job of trying to be there but Percy is making plays.
(on the 91-yard drive on the second series)
It’s important for us. We always talk about starting fast and keeping the pressure on the other team. In Jacksonville, we didn’t do it that way but Indianapolis we started out with a good drive and got three points. It’s important for us to get touchdowns and get points early and to keep the pressure on the other team.
(on if he wore a brace on his knee)
No. I just had a little sleeve on to keep pressure on it.
(on when he hurt his knee in the Detroit game and how painful was it)
It happened twice. My knee just banged against the ground but there is nothing internally that is damaged. It’s just swollen up and a bursa sac deal. It’s not that painful there is just some pressure in there. I would say it is more uncomfortable than painful. [Eric] Sugarman (Head Athletic Trianer) did a great job of getting me ready. It’s something that will probably be around for a couple of weeks.
(on if there was concern about it on Wednesday)
No not really. I didn’t miss a single rep in practice. It swelled up but it wasn’t bothering me that much.
(on if it was nice to have the lead in the third and fourth quarter)
To get taken out and be able to relax on the sideline was a pretty cool feeling. Even the games this year have all been pretty close to where I have had to stay out there. It was nice to sit back the last six minutes and just enjoy it.
(on the touchdown to Kyle Rudolph)
We tried running the same play twice before but they kept going Cover 2 and the safeties were so wide that we weren’t able to get the ball to him so I was hitting Percy who burned them on little pivot routes. They went man coverage and we saw a one-on-one match up with John Carlson and Kyle Rudolph and I trust Kyle because he can make big plays. For him to hang on to that ball with two defenders on him was unbelievable. It was a good match up and we took advantage of it.