Vikings Quarterback Christian Ponder
What a great experience and a great game. Something this whole organization should
be proud of, especially me. The things we’ve done and gone through this season and
things I’ve done and gone through this season; this is something we can definitely
be proud of. We’re excited. What a way to end the regular season and obviously
we’re not done yet. The crowd was unbelievable. I mean, our fans showed up and
stayed in it the whole game. I’m excited for them. I wish Adrian [Peterson] had got
that record and scored that touchdown in the end. It’s funny how in the first game
of the year we had Blair Walsh kick a field goal to win it and in the last game of the
regular season we had Blair Walsh kick it to win it. What an asset he’s been. What a
great game by the defense, by the offense, by the special teams. Everyone stepped in
and made plays. Jerome Simpson was huge on 3rd down. We knew that he was going
to get going like he’s done the past couple weeks. Jarius Wright has been stepping
up and playing huge and getting down field. I don’t have the arm strength to make
that throw but somehow I did it. We’re excited and we don’t know if we’re going to
play Saturday or Sunday but going back to play in Green Bay and Lambeau will be
a fun one. Twice in a row, we know its going to be a heck of a game. So we’re going
to have to move on quick from this one. We’re going to enjoy it but one loss in the
playoffs, we won’t be happy about that. We’re not done and we’re going to come to
work this week and be ready to play.
Q: What was Adrian [Peterson] like in the huddle today?
A: He was his usual self. I don’t think he was any different. He didn’t treat this game like it
was any different and just came out to play. Played like he did all year.
Q: You won a shootout today. What does that mean for you guys?
A: It was big. They’re one of the best teams in the league and a rival and it came down to
the very last second. What a very fitting way to do it. It was a great game and we wanted
to keep it interesting for the fans and we did so. Obviously you have to give credit to
Green Bay, we know they’re going to be ready for next week. But for us to win this one, it’s
definitely something to be proud of.
Q: Has it sunk in yet what it means for you to be in the playoffs?
A: Not yet. I mean I’m definitely proud of it, but like I said before, we’re not done. Yeah
you’re happy that you’re in the playoffs but you’re not going to be happy if you’re sitting at
home come the next week. Jared said it when he broke down the team, he said “make sure
you’re ready to come to work because it’s not good enough to just make the playoffs.”
Q: Your season could have gone South after the last game against Green Bay when
you were 6-6. Why didn’t it?
A: I think number one it was the staff, Coach Frazier and Coach Musgrave. Everyone
stayed the course. There was a huge emphasis on treating each of the last four games like
a playoff game because if we were to lose one, we probably wouldn’t make the playoffs.
Everyone came to work and had the right mindset. We stayed the course and did what we
did. It was important, starting with that first game with Chicago and to move on to St. Louis,
and Houston and Green Bay this week. There was a huge sense of urgency that we had to
win and we knew that. Fortunately for us, we took care of it.
Q: Why was the play action so successful today? Was it because of how they were
A: Yeah, I think their number one goal was to stop Adrian. We saw a lot of safety blitzes up
the middle and a lot of safeties down in the box to stop the run. We knew that. It set up the
play action. A quarterback’s best friend is a great running game and Adrian Peterson, he’s a
Q: Were you holding the 3rd and 11 play to Jarius [Wright] in reserve for a special
A: It was actually something we wanted to call early and we just never got to it. It came up in
a big way. We were able to capitalize on it and score a touchdown.
Q: How conscious were you of Adrian’s [Peterson] numbers?
A: I don’t think we were at all. I didn’t even know if he broke 2,000 yards or not until after the
game when they said he was 9 or 8 yards short of the record. We weren’t really sure. We
were all focused on winning the game and so was he.
Q: Was the 3rd and 11 to Jenkins a traditional route or did he adjust it?
A: That was something we drew up. We knew schematically what they were doing. That
was another play we wanted to call early and we called it at the right time and converted in
a big way.
Q: Your touchdown to Jenkins; was that the actual play you had drawn up?
A: We tried to isolate one of our tight ends and get him the ball and they covered it pretty
well. I bought some time with my feet and he came after the ball. I threw it a little low and
he dove for it and was able to make a great catch. We probably should have scored on the
one before that. I made not a great throw and we missed it but that was huge. It was at the
Q: 3rd and 11 with 2 minutes to go: what was going through your mind? Which was
more nerve-wracking, the game or saying “I do?”
A: Playing the game. I was nervous about saying “I do,” not sure my wife would be happy
about that. For me, one thing that has stuck in my mind throughout this whole season
was something that Michael Jordan always said. When it came down to the last minutes
of the game, when the pressure was on, someone asked him what he did differently. He
said “I stay the same. It’s everyone else that changed.” When there’s those high pressure
situations, I try to stay calm and treat it like any other down. When I was a younger player,
I let all that pressure get to me. I’m out there having fun. That 3rd and 11 situation, obviously
we had to convert on that to be able to win the game. I treated it like it was a 3rd and 11 on
the first drive of the game. It was no different. Fortunately for us, Jenkins ran a great route
and got open and we converted.
Q: Where were you trying to go with the ball that almost hit the roof?
A: Jarius over the middle, he was coming open. The safety, I think it was the free safety,
that got through and drilled my arm as I was throwing. Fortunately Jarius came back and
made the play. That was unbelievable.
Q:So it worked like you wanted it to?
A: Exactly. It was to the right guy so it worked out.
Q: Did you get the sense that it was you versus Rodgers?
A: No not really. Obviously Aaron is a heck of a quarterback, best quarterback in the league,
and for me, I just focused on my job. I knew that for us, our goal every time we are out
there is to score on every drive and put points up on the board. That’s what I was focused
on. We knew that was going to be a close game and that it was going to come down to
the last couple minutes and it worked out that way. You never worry about what the other
quarterback is doing, you just try to stay focused on your job
Q:Are you able to breathe a sigh of relief now after the last couple weeks?
A: No not really. Obviously everyone expects the quarterback to play well, especially in the
NFL, and I have high expectations of myself. I expected myself to play this way and I expect
myself to play better. There’s still a lot of things I’ve left on the field today and the last few
weeks. I’m not going to be proud of anything until we have that number one goal of ours
and that’s to win the Superbowl. Then that’s something where we can sit back and take a
sigh of relief. And then you have to work on the next year.
Q: What was the key to having a better game today than the first game against Green
A: I think obviously decision making was the biggest key. A couple weeks ago I turned the
ball over a couple times in crucial situations. I just made smarter decisions this week.
Q: After the last game, what were the odds did you think of you quoting Michael
A: No idea. After that game in Lambeau, it was definitely a tough loss. Tough on me. I
turned around after that, I think it was a wakeup call that I need to play better. I used it as
motivation and now we’re here.
Vikings Defensive End Everson Griffen
Q: What do you think made you guys come back for the victory?
A: We fought a good ball (team) today and we just kept on pushing and pushing and we
never gave up and we then got the victory.
Q: There are so many chances to fold but it seems like every time the other side is
about to, you guys always find a way to fight back?
A: Yeah, you know we start with practice. We play as a team, we work hard, and we work
together and that’s how you win championships. We’re back to the drawing board on
Monday and we got Green Bay on either side of us next week so we got to come back in
and fight and keep on fighting the Minnesotan way. We got to keep on doing it like that.
Q: Do you think you’re going to go back in there and get a win again?
A: Oh yeah, no doubt! We just have to stick to our game plan and dominate like we did
today. If we keep on doing that, nobody can stop us. If we keep on playing together as a
team, and keep on sticking to our scheme, and don’t worry about nothing, it starts with us
and at the end of the day, no other team is about to beat us.
Q: Is this a different team the last quarter of the season?
A: Oh man, it’s amazing how we are playing with everybody stepping up on every different
level. We got running backs, wide receivers, Christian Ponder’s playing amazing, yeah
know everybody is playing together and that’s all we can ask for.
Vikings Kicker Blair Walsh
Q: Did it seem like they were content to let the clock roll down?
A: Yeah, I think they were content to let us go and try a long one, and then we ended up
getting a 29-yard attempt.
Q: How many times have you been iced in your career, going back to college too?
A: I think (Steve) Spurrier tried icing me once when I was in college. I made it, it was a
relatively short one my freshman or sophomore year; I don’t really remember.
Q: You started the game with a 50-yard field, that has to come automatic now?
A: No, it’s never automatic. You have to make sure you have great execution all-around and
we did, had great blocking, just had to put the ball up.
Q: Do you ever think about the magnitude of the kick?
A: No, I just go out there and try and hit another kick. I knew what it was; I’m not going to
ignore it and try to fight what the kick means, but you have to go out there and try and have
fun with it. There is definitely less pressure when the game is tied, but there still is a lot of
pressure because you have to make it.
Q: Do you empty your mind before you kick it or do you think about the emotions you
have to go through?
A: No, you just go out there and hit it. You don’t think about any emotions or make it too
Q: Did you think about making that tackle?
A: No, I just tried to get in the guy’s way. I knew I wasn’t going to make the tackle. He was
going full speed. I just hoped to slow him down just enough. I think he sort of ran through
my arm a little bit, and I may have slowed him down just a tad and someone else finished
Q: Did you imagine when you were drafted that you would be having the year you’ve
had? Could you ask for anything more?
A: I don’t know; I can’t predict that stuff or think about it. When I came in all I wanted to do
is just be dependable for this team, and I think that I have done that so far. Now is when it
really counts and we are in the playoffs.
Q: Did hitting the game winner in week one take a little pressure off this one?
A: You can never take pressure off other kicks. They each have their own unique set of
pressures. Again you just go out there and try to hit it. I knew that everything else around
me was going to be perfect, the blocking, the snap and the hold and if I just did my job it
would go through.
Q: How much practice will you be doing outside this week knowing that Lambeau is
A: Hopefully we can find an area that doesn’t have snow on it. I don’t know. I don’t know
how great the grass will be at the practice facility. We will figure it out.
Q: Do you know what your range is outdoor?
A: No idea, no idea.
Q: What’s the coldest you’ve ever kicked in?
A: Probably something this year, either at Green Bay or Chicago.