Vikings Linebacker Audie Cole
Q: A couple of nice picks (interceptions). On the first one where they not sure if you got in?
A: I don’t know. I have no idea if I was in or not, but the call said yes, so I’m going with that.
Q: Take us through each one. I mean the first one; it looked like they were trying to throw it high over your head?
A: Yeah, the first one was a high ball, and it was just thrown right at me and I just picked it off. Everyone on the sideline was saying I should of ran it straight in, but I don’t know I guess I just didn’t know (what I should do). I don’t touch the ball usually so I just tried to make some moves out there.
Q: On the second one (interception) did you just jump a route?
A: Yeah, I think he ran an out route, and I just undercut it, and he (Bills QB Brad Smith) threw the ball right to me. I guess I was fortunate.
Q: Feels good to make a couple of good plays out there doesn’t it when you’re trying to make the team?
A: Oh yeah, it’s what you sit the night before and think about doing stuff like that. You know, just like you said I am just trying to make the team, and I hope that (tonight’s performance) helps my cause.
Q: How many career interception return for touchdowns have you had?
A: Ah, counting today? Two. (laughter)
Vikings Quarterback Christian Ponder
Good to get a win. Coach Frazier brought up the point last night that we wanted to be undefeated at home starting tonight and we did just that. I thought we came out very focused in pre-game and we knew that we wanted to score early, and score often. We got a touchdown which we wanted after last week. We had to settle for a field goal after that and those are two plays I wish I could have back The offense is clicking and doing really well. We’re putting up points and that’s a good thing to do. There’s still some plays we have to get fixed and get better at but it’s a good starting point. My job is easy right now when guys like Percy Harvin and Jerome Simpson take a four-yard catch and make it into a fifty- yard gain, it’s unbelievable. The offensive line is doing such a great job. We’re spreading the ball around like crazy and making plays. I’m very excited for where we’re at right now.
Q: After those five drives are you starting to feel confident?
A: Yeah, definitely. Everyone is just so much more comfortable and confident in what they’re doing. Especially at the quarterback position, we’ve done such a great job during the off-season. I know where I want to go with the ball pre-snap and the receivers are doing a great job of getting open and the o-line is doing a great job of blocking where I can get that third or fourth read. Things are just going well.
Q: What does Jerome Simpson bring to this offense?
A: There are so many weapons on this offense. Between Jerome Simpson, Kyle Rudolph. Percy Harvin, Stephen Burton and Michael Jenkins, he’s doing a great job of being a leader. He’s a veteran guy in that receiving corps who is doing a great job. Guys are getting open and making my job easy.
Q: What did you think about Jerome’s hurdle?
A: I thought he was going to score after that. I was like, “Dude, why didn’t you score a touchdown? I’m giving you a long touchdown catch.” He’s so athletic. Everyone knows he’s improved his athleticism and he showed that tonight. He’s unbelievable.
Q: Is there a guy that can take Jerome’s role?
A: Michael Jenkins is a guy that has been solid and obviously had a great catch tonight. Stephen Burton who has been getting a lot of playing time. Someone will step up. We’re not sure who it is yet, who will be filling in that role but someone will and they will be fine.
Q: 2nd and goal, Rudolph was open. What happened?
A: He was open and we had another guy open in the flat. They went cover zero and I probably got the ball off a little too early and made a bad pass. That’s one play I wish I could have back. We definitely should have had a touchdown on that drive.
Q: What happened on the 3rd down of that same drive?
A: The fade route to Jerome? I’ve got to give him a chance. I let the ball go too far out of bounds and I have to give him a chance to make a play.
Q: What happened with your headfirst slide?
A: Coach Musgrave made this cut-up about sliding head-first vs. sliding feet-first and we’ve never seen someone get hurt sliding head first. So it’s on purpose. When you slide feet-first, you’re exposing your body to get hit and like we saw at Washington and me last year, I got pretty jacked up that game. People are tweeting at me like “Dude slide feet-first, what are you doing?” But it’s a planned deal.
Q: Are you worried about ball security?
A: I mean, not really about the ball security. I don’t know. If you fumble the ball then that’s big but I’m not really worried about ball security.
Q: Looked like you got hit low on one play. Were you worried?
A: The guy kind of fell right into my knee but fortunately I was fine. You’re exposed at the quarterback position so you just have to hopefully not get hurt.
Q: Those first two drives you had three close 4th down conversions.
A: Yeah, yeah. We had that one big 4th down conversion on the run. We had a few 3rd down conversions. I think it goes back to us going back and doing a lot better job on the first and second down and putting ourselves in third and short situations. We weren’t really at the third and long at all tonight and that’s a good sign.
Q: You guys had a good completion percentage on first downs.
A: Yeah, that’s the goal and people always tell me that it’s such an unreachable goal but you have to set your goals high. That’s the plan, we want 75% completion on first down, keep the sticks moving, and keep the ball in our hands.
Q: You were able to stay in the pocket a lot. What is your comfort level with the offensive line?
A: It’s huge. The offensive line is doing a great job of giving me the time to get through my reads and stay in the pocket. I used my feet a couple times tonight but I’m not feeling much pressure. I’m able to sit there and throw the ball down the field.
Q: You got sacked a couple of times early on, where there any adjustments made?
A: No, I don’t think there were any adjustments made. It was early on in the ball game and had to get used to the speed of the game. I could’ve done a better job, especially on the one where the guy hit my knee. I could’ve moved to the right and probably done a better job of getting out of the way. But after that I had all day back there.
Q: Did you see much of Audie Cole in camp?
A: Fortunately I never threw a pick against him. He was at NC State and we played them every year and I remember him sticking out as a great player on defense. Obviously he made two unbelievable plays. I’ve never seen two back-to-back interceptions for touchdowns before. Obviously he made an impression tonight and he’s always done great in camp. He’s a good guy, I’ve hung out with him a couple times, he’s a pretty laid back guy. Good for him, I’m happy for him.
Q: You guys have a little momentum going. How important is it to carry that through to the regular season?
A: It’s important. It’s good that we can build our confidence in this, but it’s only preseason. We still have a long ways to go and two more weeks before the regular season starts. We want to have the confidence where yeah, we’re moving balls, we’re making plays, but we don’t get overconfident. We know that we still have a ton of work to do and keep making strides. The good thing is that we keep taking steps forward, we haven’t really taken any steps back and that’s a good sign.
Q: You and Jerome Simpson are clicking right now. How are you handling that he will be out for the first three games?
A: I haven’t really thought about it. We’ll handle that when it gets here. And again, someone will step up in his place. We are enjoying the time that we’re on the field together right now. We’re trying to make plays.
Vikings Defensive End Jared Allen
Q: How do plays like Audie’s (Cole) help young players fighting for a roster spot?
A: That helps. That helps no matter what. I mean, it’s great. The guy made a great break on the ball and the guy’s fast. Plays like that are going to help us win games this year.
Q: Seems like you guys had a productive night on the defensive side of the ball.
A: Yeah, absolutely. We got a couple series in and they went great, couldn’t ask for more. They came up with that screen pass, we just got to make a tackle there, but I thought we answered the run game very nicely. I think we only had one third and long and we drew a holding call there, so yeah, productive. I thought everybody played well. The linebackers were downhill, and you know, they didn’t get any traction on our run game.
Q: How encouraging is it for the starting offense to play like this the first game at home?
A: It was very encouraging to see the offense go down right away and score a touchdown and come back with another field goal. To get points each time we were in the red zone was great. Defensively, we didn’t like the way we played against San Francisco. Preseason or not, 260 yards rushing is unacceptable. We have to focus on coming out and playing fundamental Viking football and making sure we have an emphasis on stopping the run and just finishing our jobs whether it’s getting off a block or running the ball. I felt the first group did a great job, and even the second group. Minus that one drive towards the end of the game those young guys were playing great ball.