Vikings Linebacker Desmond Bishop
Q: Is playing outside linebacker the best fit for you?
A: You know at this point, playing football is the best fit for me. It’s been a long time for me so I’m just anxious to get out there and show what I can do.
Q: How do you expect your body to respond?
A: I think I’ll be fine. I’ve put myself through some rigorous workouts just to kind of test to see where I’m at. It’s nothing like actually putting the pads on and banging around but I think I’ll be fine.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge coming in not having been in the offseason program?
A: Probably right now just trying to remember all the names I keep getting thrown out at me. I think just getting back acclimated with football, the schedule, the playbook and learning how things are operated around here. I think that will be the toughest challenge, but once I get past that I’ll be fine.
Q: When did you last test it?
A: Last two or three months or so. I put it to the test.
Q: Is it nice to have Jennings here?
A: Oh yeah, absolutely. He’s such a good guy and he’s definitely a good player, that’s without question, but his character and the way he motivates, and the way he talks, being a man of God. He’s a very powerful figure off the field and that means a lot.
Vikings Defensive Tackle Sharrif Floyd
Q: How was your first day?
Q: What were your thoughts as you signed your contract?
A: I’m officially a part of the team now. There is no, ‘hey you might be a Viking’ or anything, hurry up and sign and all of that. I’m a Viking now, officially.
Q: Were there concerns it might drag out a little bit or were you confident you would get it done before camp?
A: No, no concerns for me. My agent and the staff took care of that, so I didn’t have to worry about that I knew that the time was going to come. I signed today and now I’m here.
Q: What were some of the things you have heard from coaches about mini camp and some of the things you did there that you might want to improve on in the next few weeks?
A: The technique of the defensive line and how Coach Daly teaches it. Just picking up on it really well in mini camp, now I’m looking to capitalize on that.
Q: How much different is the system from college to the NFL and how might techniques change?
A: It’s not different, it’s like a coaching change in college. You are going to learn a new playbook, you are going to learn a new style of defense. That is how I to look at it.
Q: Did any of the guys tell you about things you should bring to camp to make it more like home?
A: As long as I have my pillow and sheets, I’m alright, that is all I need, nothing too extravagant.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge to be a contributor, play in and play out?
A: I don’t think I have any challenges ahead of me. I feel as though I’m here to help the Vikings get better and play hard. That is all I’m focusing on is playing hard and doing the best that I can, everything else will take care of itself.
Q: After everything you have gone through to this point, what were your emotions as you signed the contract this morning?
A: Again, growing up this was a dream for me, so, me signing the contract was a great moment, but at the end of the day my life goal is to play football as long as possible, so I’m just blessed to still be able to play ball.
Vikings Wide Receiver Greg Jennings
Q: What are you most looking forward to about this camp?
A: I’m looking for a new start, new fresh start, new faces and just a stepping-stone to our stalking successes. Like I said, it’s a new start and new look for myself as well as a new team, new environment and I’m excited about the fresh start.
Q: What strides did you sense within the receivers during the off season program?
A: I saw a lot of strides. I saw a lot of confidence being elevated not only in ourselves but in the quarterbacks as well. It’s going to take time for us to get that chemistry the way we want it to be, down pat, but that’s why we have training camp.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge?
A: Just timing. Spending time together and getting the understanding of what we’re all thinking and how we’re seeing things on the football field.
Q: Do you feel like a rookie again?
A: I do, I do in a sense. My body definitely doesn’t feel like a rookie, my body feels great but not knowing what’s taking place and getting my bearings I definitely feel like a rookie in that sense. This is something new and for rookies this is something new so I am a rookie in some senses.
Vikings Tackle Matt Kalil
Q: How will it help you coming to training camp for a second time?
A: I think just being familiar with the system and knowing what to expect. You go into things and it feels like it takes forever, especially the offseason, you don’t know the format as far as how everything is set up. As far as being comfortable, I’m more ready to go than being scared about my playbook and being familiar with everything so I’m a lot more comfortable.
Q: Have you established a list of essentials you have to bring to camp with you?
A: I pack light. My laptop, my phone, I always have my phone with me, and some clothes and that’s about it, nothing too much.
Q: When you came in as a rookie, was camp what you expected?
A: I guess I had an idea from my brother going through all that and experiencing that. You never truly understand until you experience it yourself. It was completely different and going against Jared [Allen] everyday, it definitely helped speed my development, which I think is why I started off well and last year. Having John Sullivan and all those guys help me out. It was different from what I expected because my brother got hazed while he was in Carolina, so I was expecting that, but everyone was really cool and made it a lot easier.
Q: Did you trim down in the offseason?
A: In the offseason, I was trying something new dieting a little bit and trying to lose my body fat so I got down to about 280 in the offseason. I’m about 307 [pounds] right now so I tried to put on that healthy weight again. I think I feel the best. I’m the strongest I’ve ever been and the fastest I’ve ever been, so I feel really good.
Q: Is that something you felt was a necessity after your first year in the league?
A: Yeah, I think getting a lot stronger, because I don’t think it’s too much about weight for me. It’s just about strength and technique, which is something you always try to work on and hopefully the weight comes naturally and it did. I’m right where I want to be at 307 right now.
Vikings Wide Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson
Q: What was that feeling like this morning putting the pen to paper and finally making it official?
A: It was great. I couldn’t sleep last night. I had to call my mom and tell her that life’s going to change a little bit. I told her I’m excited and she told me she’s happy for me.
Q: What time did you get to sleep?
A: Probably like four. Four or five.
Q: Did you know everything was going to be taken care of this morning or were you nervous something was going to go wrong and you’d have to wait a little bit?
A: I wasn’t nervous. I talked to my agent last night and he guided me the whole way through and told me what was going to happen so I woke up and gave him a call and he went over the same things this morning.
Q; What’s the biggest, number one assignment you are trying to accomplish here at camp?
A: I expect to learn the whole playbook. You can’t do anything if you don’t know the plays. I’m learning from all the other guys, especially Greg [Jennings]. He’s been a great mentor. He’s helped me get along pretty well so I know as long as I have someone like him on my side I’m going to get all I need.
Q: How far along in that process were you after mini camp?
A: I feel like I was great. I feel like I was right where I needed to be. There’s always room to improve where you’re at.
Q: Is there anything you’re nervous about going into camp?
A: No, I’m not nervous right now but maybe that’s because I’m just doing media. Maybe when I put those pads on I might get a little nervous. You can’t get me nervous right now.
Q: What does it feel like walking in here?
A: It feels great. You know, getting off that bus and having the fans be happy and having them scream your name “come sign this.” It’s great just being here for this because we didn’t have this in Tennessee. When we went to camp we didn’t have any fans. We were away from everyone and no one could see us, but in here it’s a great experience.
Q: What are your goals for camp?
A: One of my goals, like I said, is to learn the whole playbook and make sure I’ll be ready when my name is called. I’ll be ready to do something with it and do something with the ball in my hands.
Q: Do you feel like you can work your way into the starting line up by the regular season?
A: I really can’t say that. It’s not my job to say that I’m going to be a starter and then I don’t, so I’m just going with whatever the coaches have my role as and I’m going to try to get to that next step.
Q: Where do you think you came the furthest since the off-season program?
A: I think I’m a better receiver than I was in college. At Tennessee I saw a lot of things I was slacking in and when I got here these guys aren’t going to give you a break.
Q: What are some of the things you were slacking in?
A: My route running. At the top of my routes at Tennessee I would get sloppy with it and here Greg and all the guys are telling me ‘you can’t be doing that, just doing the things you’ve been doing.’ I feel like I’m where I need to be right now.
Q: Everybody says you’re such a raw talent, is that going to make it tougher since you don’t have a lot of college experience to make this step into the NFL?
A: You can’t go off what anyone says. People judge me every day and say I’m this or I’m that. I just live by what I know I can do and like I said I’m getting better every day and have great guys like Greg and all those guys that are going to help me get to where I need to be.
Q: Any big purchase with that contract signing?
A: I just signed this morning so I’m not going to have any access right now at camp but when I get out I might go out and purchase something nice for myself. Actually, I’ll take care of my momma first, and then I’ll take care of me.
Vikings Quarterback Christian Ponder
It’s great to be back, it’s great that football season is already here. The offseason absolutely flew by. It was great to make the drive down, drive through St. Peter and into Mankato and see all the signs and everyone out. Everyone’s excited for the season to be here, just like us as players. The new dorm looks great, a little better than old Gage Hall. I think Gage looks better as rubble over there than it did standing up. We’re just excited to be here, I’m excited to be here and start this season.
Q: When you look back on your success last year, what happened in the three weeks in Mankato that set the tone?
A: We worked extremely hard. Coach Frazier did a great job of setting the mindset that we’re here to work. It is three weeks of tough times, I mean we’re working from morning to night. But we have to have the right mindset that we’re here to get better, we know it’s hard we know it’s going to be tough, there are going to be days where it’s hard to wake up in the morning to get out and practice but we know that’s what makes us better. I think we approached it different than other teams and we have to do the same thing this year.
Q: Could you sense the progress at the end of last year’s camp?
A: Yeah, definitely. I think not only did we come together and become better football players but we really came together as a team and got to know each other better, built a lot of chemistry and we know it’s going to take even more of that this year than last year. We probably have targets on our back, teams saw what we did last year and people expect more out of us.
Q: What’s easier now in your third year?
A: I don’t think anything is easy. Playing in the NFL is a tough gig but I think just having an awareness of everything that’s going on and knowing my teammates and everything. Knowing the ropes makes it a little easier but again, I don’t think anything is easy about it.
Q: Do you feel more established this year?
A: Yeah, I do feel established. I do feel like I belong here, I feel comfortable. Knowing everybody, all my teammates, all the coaches, knowing the area and everything, knowing how things work. I just know that I need to continue to become a better football player and a better quarterback.
Q: What do you want to accomplish down here in the next three weeks?
A: My biggest thing is just to become a better football player. There are probably specifics that I’ll work on but the general idea for everyone, it’s all the same, we want to be better.
Vikings Cornerback Xavier Rhodes
Q: What was your feeling walking in today?
A: A relief, all of the work has paid off, now it’s time to go show it. What I worked hard for, a dream come true. I’m just happy to be here.
Q: Happy to get the contract stuff out of the way?
A: Yes, I would like to thank my agent for all of that and the Vikings staff for helping me get through that, because I was ready for that to be over so I could come and get ready for the season with my teammates.
Q: What’s your biggest concern coming in? What’s going to be your biggest adjustment in the NFL?
A: When I first got in the NFL, just the tempo. So by me doing the rookie camp and mini camp, I got used to it a little so I’m looking forward to getting used to the tempo.
Q: How much do you think that will help compared to when you guys actually get pads on and you play preseason games, how much do your spring workouts help?
A: It helps a lot. It lets you know how fast the game is. Because the coaches want the practice to be a game like situation, so it has helped me a lot.
Q: Do you feel like you’re going to excel next week when you get the pads on so you can show the physicality of your game?
A: We will have to wait to see about that one. I don’t want to speak about it, I’m going to play to my best ability and do what I do best and work hard.
Q: Were you nervous at all last night?
A: Nervous? I wouldn’t say I was nervous. I was just ready. I’m anxious to go out there and play football.
Q: Are you coming in here with being a starter as a realistic outcome?
A: No, I just come here just to work hard and get better each day. I’m not expecting to start or anything. I’m just coming here to get better and help the team by any means necessary. I mean, corner, special teams or anything, I’m just ready to help the team win.
Q: Are you ready to start if that’s the way it turns out?
A: I mean if it happens, it happens and I have to be ready for it no matter what. If they put me in the position to start I have to man up and just play my role and do my job.
Q: Did you talk to anyone this offseason about what to expect during your first training camp?
A: I talked to Chris Cook a little bit, he told me expect a lot of running. A lot of running. I talked to a few players also Nigel Bradham, he plays for the Buffalo Bills. I talked to Antonio Brown. A lot of people I know in the NFL they told me about training camp. They are going to work you a lot, it’s going to be hard, there are probably going to be times you probably want to quit, but you have got to fight through it.
Q: How do you prepare for those times where it wasn’t quite what you expected?
A: I mean every camp in college is the same situation, just a different level. They just say it’s all a mental thing, you have to be mentally focused, mentally ready for it, and if you’re not mentally ready or focused, that is when you feel like you’re going to quit. It’s basically the same thing, the only thing different is the tempo of the game.
Q: Which receiver gave you the most problems during OTAs and mini camp?
A: All of the receivers I would say, they have put me to work. They have been watching film on me like I have been watching film on them. We just work each other, they picked my weaknesses and I pick theirs, so we are just competing every day.
Q: How much do you go back and forth with receivers and cornerbacks with tips for each other.
A: Everyday. I learn from them and they learn from us to try and get better. When you go against big receivers, fast receivers, receivers of today’s caliber. We learn from them and they learn from me, a big corner, when they go against big corners they just take away from my game.
Q: What’s your impression of Cordarrelle Patterson and what type of receiver he can be?
A: Oh, he’s going to be an explosive player, an explosive receiver. Everything about him is fast. Once he gets the ball in his hands, it’s gone. I’ll tell you that. Once he’s a step or two in front of you there’s no catching him. I can tell you that.
Vikings Kicker Blair Walsh
Q: What stood out for you as a rookie last year in training camp?
A: Everything was just so new. I had never been to an off-site training camp, I’d never done it obviously in the pros and it was just a totally new experience for me. This year I’ll know a little bit more about what’s going on and the schedule, and how to pace myself and it should be good.
Q: Do you feel any pressure to follow up on the very solid rookie season you had?
A: No. You kind of wipe clean what you did last year, you learn from it and you reflect on it in the off-season and you start new. We haven’t proven anything so far this year, our team is 0-0 and we need to win games and as long as we can help win games, that is what we are here for.
Q: With Jeff as your holder now, has that changed anything?
A: Obviously it’s an adjustment in the beginning going from Chris to Jeff. Jeff works hard and he’s going to be a good holder and with the help of [Special Teams Coordinator Mike] Priefer, and doing the drills you see us doing on the sideline everyday, with him holding, it’s going to make him one of the best holders in the league.
Q: Did it take awhile to get the timing down at all?
A: It took a couple of weeks but we clicked quicker than I thought we would. And he takes his job very seriously so that helps and he’s willing to work.
Q: What are the specific adjustments that he had?
A: He just had to get used to the way I liked it, the way I like the ball titled, how fast I get to the ball compared to somebody else because you know, even thought it’s a couple milliseconds off, it’s still different. It’s also getting used to the way of Cullen snapping, so there’s just a bunch of little parts that you don’t necessarily see right away.