Vikings react to Titans win 08 Oct 12

Vikings LB Chad Greenway

Q: Talk about win streak?
A: We’re just trying to have fun and play football. It’s like the opposite of last year from the
standpoint of – you start 0-4, things just snowball. Everyone in the media talks about how
fine the line is in the NFL; how much parity there is. If you can get the ball rolling in the right
direction, those games can fall to you. Games like this can happen, where you can come
in and play your best football, or good football, and we can put up 30 and only give up 7.
Defensively, we aren’t where we need to be yet. We’re playing good football but we can get
better, and that’s the encouraging thing.

Q: Do you think you can continue to take steps as a defensive unit?
A: I think so. I think as Alan [Williams],keeps calling games, he’s getting better. We’re
getting better at just knowing what he is going to call and anticipating him. I’m so proud of
our back end (secondary). These guys took some heat in the last few years and they are
standing up. I don’t care what anybody says, any of you (media) says, they competed every
year. But they’re really making plays and coming into their own. I’m really happy for them.

Q: Did you have to ramp up the communication at all when Robert [Blanton] was
back there?
A: I just told him ‘Just be sure. Come down and let me know, just to make sure. If you’re
unsure, instead of making a mistake, just come ask. Just make sure we are on the same
page.’ There was really only one time, and that was more because of a communication
issue with the headset. But Rob, he’s a gamer. We knew he was a gamer from Day 1 of
training camp. He lost a lot of time. Now that he’s back and on special teams, he flashes.
He’s always around the ball. Great for him, stepping in and playing the way he did. We
didn’t miss a beat.

Vikings Quarterback 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.

Q: After the 2nd interception you threw, did you get yourself back in gear?
A: 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.

Q: It looked like you did a good job of spreading the ball around?
A: 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.

Q: Are you surprised to be 4-1?
A: 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.

Q: Is it a pleasant surprise to be where you are in the division?
A: 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.

Q: How would you describe Percy Harvin?
A: 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.

Q: How do you process it when you see him make the cuts that he does?
A: 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.

Q: What’s going through your mind when you’re watching him bounce off a guy and
then avoid two guys completely?
A: 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.

Q: Why haven’t teams been able to stop those plays?
A: 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.

Q: 91 yards right out of the gate (2nd series) – how important is that quick start for
the team?
A: 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.

Q: Did you wear a brace on your knee today?
A: No. I just had a little sleeve on to keep pressure on it.

Q: When did that happen in the Detroit game and how painful was it?
A: 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.

Q: Was there concern about it on Wednesday?
A: No not really. I didn’t miss a single rep in practice. It swelled up but it wasn’t bothering
me that much.

Q: Compared to the close games you had last year, is it strange to be almost
comfortable in the 3rd and 4th quarter?
A: 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.

Q: Explain the touchdown to Kyle Rudolph.
A: 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.

Vikings Wide Receiver Percy Harvin

Q: What were you seeing on that touchdown?
A: 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.

Q: How does it feel to have your offensive linemen commend you for what you do
when sometimes they aren’t even around you?
A: 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.

Q: How critical is it to this team to be able to sustain long drives?
A: 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.

Q: How crucial was it to keep it together after there were a few turnovers?
A: 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.

Q: Do you feel like you are improving every week?
A: 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.

Q: How was it to have that much breathing room in the fourth quarter?
A: 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.

Q: What’s going through your head on that remarkable run?
A: 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.

Q: Do you see every guy or do you just feel them?
A: 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.

Q: Do you think you still surprise people with your power?
A: 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.

Q: What do they say when you juke them out of their shoes?
A: 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.

Q: Talk about how well your defense has played.
A: 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.

Q: What did you guys do schematically this week to help you stay involved in the
game today?
A: 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.

Q: You talk about the physicality, but is it a mindset too?
A: 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.

Q: What does it mean to have some of your teammates calling you the MVP of the
league?
A: It’s humbling. It’s a great honor. Being that some of the names, not just in the NFL but on
this team, A.P. 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 DE Jared Allen

Q: Talk about Tennessee scoring late to prevent the shut out.
A: 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.

Q: Was this the best defensive performance of the year?
A: We have to go watch the tape. Each one’s on their own merit. Totally different team. Its
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.

Q: Is it just that you’ve learned the system or is that overstating it?
A: 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.

Q: Did you see them getting frustrated during the game?
A: 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 3rd & 8s, 3rd & 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
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.