Players react to 21-14 win over Chicago 10 Dec 12

Vikings Defensive End Jared Allen

Q: Talk about how you were able to limit the Bears offense to seven points most of
the game.
A: We were able to take away the run game. They were forced into third and long situations.
When we played them last, they were in third and short the whole game. They were able to
dink and dunk us the whole way. Our back end did a great job of making them go to their
secondary routes. (Bears WR Brandon) Marshall wasn’t getting the same catches he was
the last game. We were knocking the ball away. We were able to get some pressure on
them. We knew they were going to max protect the whole game and show us different looks
and shifts. Our whole thing was just not to let (Bears QB Jay) Cutler run free. When he ran,
we needed to force him into bad throws, and we were able to do that. We got a pick- six and
a pick down to the five (yard line) early that got us up 14 and they had to play from behind.

Q: How were you able to keep them from spreading the defense out?
A: They really elected not to spread things out until the last couple minutes. Even when we
got up on them, they decided to keep everyone in. I think that’s an advantage to us. They’re
going to try and chuck the ball downfield and they took a couple shots. They got a couple
big fades on us, but nothing big. Never took the top off the defense. Our guys did a great
job of playing sound, fundamental defense.

Q: You spoke to the team earlier in the week. Can you talk more about what you said?
A: We got four games left. Everyone needs to get on the same page, from the coaching
staff down. Our first twelve games didn’t mean much; we’re 6-6. If we don’t win these last
three, we don’t even have a chance to make the playoffs. I’m trying to express to these
young guys that you don’t get the chance to go to the playoffs very often, at least I haven’t.
I’ve only been there three times in nine years. For me, that’s the best kind of football. I try to
tell these guys, if you don’t know what playoff football is about, it’s the only thing we play for.
To have an opportunity to still control our own destiny over our last four games – that needs
to be our main focus.

Vikings Left Tackle Matt Kalil

Q: It’s great to start with the big play from Adrian, isn’t it?
A: Yeah, I think with Adrian it’s not if he’s going to do well. It’s when that big run is going to
take place. You know, it could take place anytime. He gets his yards. He’s such a hard and
smart runner, he definitely helps us out a lot. It’s just great having him in the backfield and
then Josh (Robinson) coming up big with that interception, Harrison, too. Defense played
lights out. It was just an overall great effort.

Q: Is Adrian the best athlete you’ve ever played with?
A: Probably, I’d have to say. He’s coming up on a 2,000 yard season, so he’s hands down
having one of his best years.

Q: Rate Christian’s efforts today.
A: He did well. He managed the game well. He made some big passes. He definitely held
our whole unit together and kept us out there gaining yards.

Q: What’s the difference playing with the lead?
A: You have more control of the game. It makes it a lot easier for me. You know, having
a pass rusher like Peppers. Usually when you’re playing from behind you have to pass
the ball more. He’s probably the second-best athlete I ever played against. That guy is
probably one of the greatest players I’ve ever played. It just makes it a lot easier, gaining
that momentum. Sticking with that lead and building on it makes it a lot easier.

Vikings CB Antoine Winfield

Q: Tell us about the interceptions by Harrison Smith and Josh Robinson.?
A: They both had great days. Two impact plays that we needed, two turnovers. Harrison
finishing with the touchdown – we need those plays.

Q: Bend and don’t break – is that the best way to sum up today, with Brandon
Marshall?
A: He’s a good player. In my eyes, he’s the best receiver in the game. I put him up there
with Calvin Johnson. That guy is a problem. He and (Bears QB Jay) Cutler are always on
the same page. Cutler is going to give him the opportunities to make plays, and he made a
few today.

Q: Including in double and triple coverage?
A: Doesn’t matter if he’s double covered or triple covered, (Cutler)’s going to throw the ball
up to (Marshall). Marshall is 6’5” with great hands and long reach – I’d take my chances too.

Q: Was the mentality “Win and we have a chance, lose and we’re pretty much out” for
you guys?
A: Yes, our playoffs started last week, after we lost to Green Bay. We knew we had four
left. We’re going to need some help to get in, of course. But if we don’t win, we don’t have a
chance.

Vikings Safety Harrison Smith

Q: Brandon Marshall obviously had 10 catches in the game but every pass for him
goes a little high so were you playing back a little bit in case that happened?
A: Not really, you just kind of play it as it goes and that ball fell out and when it does, when
the ball did go over his head, that’s when I got to play the ball.

Q: Why do you think you guys played so well today?
A: Some people were saying we were falling off these past couple of weeks but we just
went out to play ball and have fun. That’s why we play; we play for each other and the
Vikings and play strong to get a win.

Q: Were you worried they would say you stepped out of bounds?
A: No, I knew I scored. Positive. I was just looking at the end zone.

Q: What did you think about Cutler and Marshall?
A: They work well together. Marshall is a freak, he’s a big guy with really strong hands and
long arms and Cutler is not letting go of the ball, and that makes them a great tandem.

Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson

Q: How did your run in the first play help get things started for you guys?
A: It was big for us. The crowd got into it; the guys were pumped up.

Q: Was there anything in the Bears defense that led you to believe you would be able
to run for 100 yards in the first quarter?
A: Not really. You just go out during the week and get your preparation in and let the chips
fall where they may during the game.

Q: How close did you feel to breaking some of those tackles?
A: I’m sure you saw my reaction on a couple of those, like three or four where I would break
a tackle and was off to the races. I can sleep well tonight because ultimately we came out
with a W.

Q: In Urlacher’s absence, were you facing a different Bears defense than two weeks
ago?
A: They still played outstanding. They came out in the second half and made some
adjustments, forcing me to be more patient. When you take away a guy like that, it kind of
hurts the defensive movement. The guy they had in, (Nick) Roach, is quicker, and in the
same sense you had to work for him as well.

Q: What kind of jolt did you experience being ahead 14-0?
A: It was big for us. All week long we have been talking about controlling our own destiny
and looking at this as a playoff game. In the situation that we’re in, we have to win out.
That’s the focus we have. To come out and jump out like that, it felt good but we still had
to stay focused. We still had three quarters left. When I looked up and we still had eight
minutes left in the first quarter, I thought ‘Wow.’ But you still have to stay focused in your
mind when it gets like that.

Q: What’s the focus in your mind when you know that everyone on the other team
knows that you’re going to get the ball?
A: It’s all willpower. They pretty much know we’re going to run the ball. The offensive line
knows it, and the receivers. Everybody’s on me to see what kind of job I’m going to do.

Q: Are you thinking about getting to that 2,000-mark?
A: Yeah, I think about it. I don’t try to think about it too much. I feel like it will happen. Like I
said, it’s obvious we’re going to continue to run the ball so I feel the chips will fall where they
may.

Q: What do you think of two young guys in Josh Robinson and Harrison Smith
stepping up and making big plays early?
A: It was huge. Coach also talked about that, these young guys really stepping up and
knowing that 12 weeks in, you’re not a rookie anymore. It’s time to make plays. They did
that today. It was huge for us. The defense spotted us seven (points) at a critical moment in
the game and that really was a blow for Chicago and we were able to finish off.

Q: That first play was a simple dive play. What were your expectations for it?
A: I got my reads first, so I didn’t know for sure if the d-end was going to get hooked but on
this particular play he did, but basically…I’m basically stretching it. I’m reading it out. My
eyes go from d-end, if he can reach his back end to the tackle, I was patient and I was able
to take it outside and turn it into a big run.

Q: What did Zygi Wilf say to you guys this week when he visited?
A: He just came in and expressed his desire and his passion that he has for this team,
just… “I’m here to back you guys up through thick and thin. We’ve been through a lot, taking
a shot with Percy (Harvin) going down and not being with this team for the remainder of the
season.” The guys responded in a “positive way.” He came in and he talked to us and the
focus just continued through the week from everyone.

Q: Is a true barometer of this team being able to win on the road?
A: Yeah, we haven’t really been as successful on the road, but we know our goals and
that’s to finish 4-0. We’re 1-0. We have three more. Being on the road, it is what it is. We
still have a job to do. We have a goal that we want to accomplish and to obviously do that,
we have to come out and play good football. It’s that simple.

Q: Did this feel like one of the biggest games you’ve played in awhile?
A: In a way, I guess you can say that because it’s a Division game, especially with how the
last game went. With the expectations that we have as a team of making it to the playoffs,
we knew this game was important. To come out against a good Chicago team and get a
win, it was huge for us.

Q: How would you have felt if this game was outside today?
A: Mind over matter, just get it done.