Postgame Reaction from Vikings-Eagles 16 Dec 13

Vikings Running Back Matt Asiata

Q: I am sure it was tough when you were not able to play, but how do you look at it

now?

A: I look at it as a blessing, just getting the opportunity to show the coaches what I can do

and help this offense out.

Q: In your dreams as a kid, did you picture scoring three touchdowns in the NFL?

A: No, my dream was to make it to the NFL and I wish my dad was here to witness it.

Q: What is it like to go through a season and keep grinding away behind guys like

Toby Gerhart and Adrian Peterson, finally getting the opportunity and coming up the

way you did?

A: I came in with the same mentality as if they were playing. Come out and execute the

plays, and play hard.

Q: Did it feel different waking up this morning, like this might be your opportunity?

A: To be honest I woke up pretty early this morning. I had a lot of butterflies and came ready

to work.

Vikings Quarterback Matt Cassel

It’s a good day for the Minnesota Vikings. You know what, we had a lot of guys step

up today that were called into action. I think everyone took it as a great challenge

today to step up and I think that everybody rose to the occasion against a good

football team, that has won five out of their last six football games coming here. We

knew we had our work cut out for us, but I thought the way these guys played today,

the effort that they gave was outstanding. It was fun to get a great win against a good

football team in front of our home fans.

Q: What’s your connection with Greg Jennings?

A: You know, that’s why we brought Greg in here was to have days like this, he is a special

player, he does a tremendous job of getting open and we continue to work hard each and

every week and it showed today. It makes my job easy when he gets open, I put the ball in

his hands and he makes plays.

Q: Were you worried that the offense may struggle starting your third-string running

back?

A: You know what, we went through the entire week practicing with those guys at the

running back position, Matt Asiata did a tremendous job today, he had three touchdowns.

He is a guy that works tremendously hard each and every day when he gets out there, so I

wasn’t worried about it one bit. I think also the other guys like Joe Berger who stepped up

today, the offensive line did a tremendous job, receivers all did a great job catching the ball

getting yards after the catch. It really just came together for us today and it was exciting to

see.

Q: As the week goes on do you feel like more is going to be on your plate?

A: There’s a lot on my plate each and every week. I have got three kids at home too with a

five month old, but in terms of football it’s fun for me. I love playing football and this is what

it is all about, coming into the locker room with these guys, celebrating, the hooting and the

hollering all of that stuff and celebrating. So you know what, whatever the challenge is next

week, it is what it is and that’s what I love to do and I’m happy I have the chance to do that.

Q: What does it mean to this team that never has given up putting up 48 points?

A: I’ve said all along, I’ve been on a lot of teams and some of those teams have struggled

I think that this locker room, more so than any other team that I have been on that has

been struggling, they have stuck together. The attitude has been great, they have great

camaraderie, we have good leadership so as you can tell nobody is laying down for

anything. We are still playing for something, we are going to go and try and end this season

on a high note with three wins.

Q: Is it hard to wonder what could have been if some of those close games earlier in

the season had ended that other way?

A: You know what, I don’t look in the past to be completely honest with you. You know what,

there are decisions that are made and you never know how they are going to work out.

At the same time I’m just excited that I was able to go out there and perform today and I

continue to look ahead, I never look behind myself and you continue to just to look forward.

Q: Have you thought about your future here, and has it changed after this game?

A: You know what, I don’t know what the future holds. The one thing about this league and

the NFL is that you never know what is going to happen and I really don’t concentrate on

that too much, because I think as long as you go out there, you perform, you play well then

the rest of it will take care of itself.

Q: How do you stay so focused with as much as you have moved around on the

depth chart?

A: I think I keep things in perspective to be completely honest with you. You know what, this

is a game that I love to do and we all get paid to do our job, just like you guys, and our job

is to go out there, work hard and perform and whatever duty you’re asked to do, my attitude

is like, “Hey, I’m going to do it,” and you know and I’m going to have a good attitude. I’m not

going to be a distraction and I think that goes a long way when you are put in those type of

situation and you face adversity. It’s the only way I think I’m able to continue to push forward

and putting the right foot in front of the left, I don’t know if that makes any sense.

Q: The fact that you threw for 382 yards, you would assume that Adrian Peterson

helped set up the passing game, did it surprise you at all that it was a pretty balanced

attack?

A: There was a balanced attack, I think we ran the ball 30 times or something like that and

I don’t know how many plays we had, 60 something plays, so we had a pretty balanced

attack. Like I said Matt Asiata stepped up to that today, and the offensive line. Because I

think if you get one dimensional one way or another it’s tough sledding sometimes, but if

you can keep them off balance and show them that you’re going to continue to run the ball,

set up play action that’s why it worked out for us today.

Q: Are you surprised by what Cordarrelle Patterson can do once he gets his hands

on the ball?

A: Yes I am. I’m always surprised with what he does when he gets his hands on the ball.

He’s just a special athlete and especially like you said when he gets the ball in space

there’s not many people that I have been around that can do the things that he does.

Q: Would you talk about Greg Jennings reaching another career-high after what he’s

done in his career, especially a career-high in receptions?

A: Well he is a special player and I’ve said this earlier today, that is why we brought him

here, because he is a great player, he works hard, he’s a great leader and he makes our job

easier at the quarterback position because he runs great routes and is always where he is

supposed to be.

Q: Would you talk about what you saw on the third -and -14 completion to Chase

Ford?

A: Well, it was just dictated by coverage, they were in split safety coverage with a one-on-
one with a linebacker on Chase (Ford). You know, he is another guy that did a tremendous

job today making a huge catch, breaking a tackle and putting in position to score again.

Q: When the team is not winning and you’re not playing how did you stay patient?

A: Well I mean you don’t really have much of a choice, you know. I think the main choice

is whether you’re going to let that get to you or whether you’re going to continue to move

forward in the right direction and have a positive attitude and help the guys around and I

think that I chose to go that route rather than the other.

Q: Has Coach Frazier pushed any buttons to keep you playing as hard as you are?

A: I think Leslie (Frazier) does a good job each and every week of trying to get us prepared

to play and like I said, the season hasn’t gone as planned, but at the same time Leslie

does a good job of making sure that we understand the game plan, what the strengths and

weaknesses are with a certain team and also the key categories to victory each and every

week.

Q: Was your rushing touchdown a designed play?

A: It was a designed play and actually, we had it in practice and it opened up like that in

practice, and I was like, “Oh man, I’m going to get smashed in the game for sure,” and then

sure as day I take the drop and it just parted like the Red Sea. I was like, “Oh my goodness

this is great!” It was a great play, great design by the coaching staff.

Q: How much did it help today that you had great starting field position all day long?

A: That is a great point that you bring up. A lot of people don’t take that into account but

our starting field position today was phenomenal because they were doing the pooch kick

and we were getting field position at the 35 (yard line), 45 (yard line) and that’s great for a

quarterback in any offense to go out in the field and cut down that field that you have to go

in order to score.

Vikings Wide Receiver Greg Jennings

Q: What is it about the chemistry you and Matt (Cassel) have, does it go back to

training camp?

A: He’s a very smart quarterback. He has a lot of poise back there and he tries to make

plays down the field with his eyes and his arm.

Q: It seemed like a big key today for Matt (Cassel) was being able to step up in the

pocket, is that a big difference?

A: Absolutely, just like I said being poised and understanding that his offensive line is going

to perform a wall around him, give him that opportunity to step up in the pocket and make a

throw down the field. He takes advantage of that, and we saw that today the way he spread

the ball around.

Q: You’ve played with two of the best quarterbacks the league has seen in many

years, did you realize you just caught the most passes you’ve caught in a game?

A: Yes, I’ve never been a guy to have a whole lot of catches, but I’ve never been a big stat

guy either. I’ve had a great run with a lot of good guys throwing the ball. Obviously Brett

(Favre) and Aaron, (Rodgers) but this afternoon with Matt (Cassel) he was feeding the ball

to a lot of guys and I just happened to be on the receiving end of quite a bit of them.

Q: As a receiver what goes through your mind when you’re wide open like you were

on that long catch and you know if he just throws it you’re going to get a touchdown?

A: I wasn’t technically wide open initially. It was funny because I was running a route and

I saw nothing on the backside and my route wasn’t technically supposed to be over there.

I was supposed to keep it a little higher the way they play their defense, but I looked back

and I saw Matt (Cassel) look at me and shed a tackle, step up and throw the ball. It was a

great throw from Matt (Cassel) and I just did the easy part, catch the ball and get it in the

end zone.

Q: Do you talk much in the huddle about being open on certain plays on a specific

route.

A: Not at all. If a guy says that a corner is squatting and different things like that, I’m one

of the more vocal guys who will go back and tell Matt (Cassel) and specifically my position

coach and then Bill Musgrave. I want whomever the corner that is squatting to get taken

advantage of and that so happened to be Jarius (Wright) when he caught the deep ball

down the right sideline. We had said that a couple of times if the corner is squatting or

sitting, so we sent Jarius right by him and he caught a long ball.

Q: Did you get the sense that as the week went along and it looked like Adrian

(Peterson) and Toby (Gerhart) weren’t going to play that the receivers were going to

get a lot of opportunities today?

A: Yes, we talk about that in our receiving room every week. We have a special group

in that room and it’s as if we fly under the radar because of our running game and that

we don’t throw the ball as much as other teams across the league. When we have an

opportunity to make plays this is what can happen. We have a guy that’s back there who

can divvy it up and can spread the ball around. The offensive line did an outstanding job

all day long, I don’t think Matt (Cassel) touched the ground once all game long. It was

awesome to see the instinct of the offense operate as a well-oiled machine all across the

board.

Vikings Wide Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson

Q: When did things turn a corner and it all started to get easier for you?

A: You just have to work hard. When you don’t see good things happening, you can’t let

that get on you. You just have to work hard at practice with guys like Jerome Simpson, Greg

Jennings, and Jarius Wright. This is the NFL and there is nothing easy about it.

Q: No Adrian Peterson, and you get forty-eight points while Matt Asiata has three

touchdowns. Could you have drawn that up?

A: Not at all, we missed Adrian out there. We told them that we have their back.

Q: Opponents are not kicking to you. Does that affect you at all?

A: Not at all, we start with the ball at the thirty-five yard line, and it helps our offense. If they

keep doing that each game, then we will let them continue to do that.

Q: What does Cassel bring to the huddle?

A: He brings his leadership. This is his eighth or ninth year in the league. He has been a

backup, but every chance he gets; he steps up and does his thing. He is a great leader in

the huddle, on and off the field. I am glad we have him.

Q: Were you trying to throw the ball on that sweep play?

A: I was trying to throw it, but Greg Jennings wasn’t open. I couldn’t throw it, so I used my

best ability to find a hole and get the first down.

Vikings Defensive End Jared Allen

Q: This has been a coaching staff that you have been with for a long time. I imagine

you have a lot of confidence in them?

A: This staff has changed, but we have been with Coach Frazier a long time. He was here

when I arrived. We have a good personal relationship. I have enough on my plate to start

worrying about other people’s stuff. My job is to win football games. After we watch the film,

we will put this game behind us. The focus is on the Cincinnati Bengals and trying to get a

fifth win. We just need to keep fighting, and knock a few more people off along the way.

Q: What does this say about the second half of the season?

A: I think they have done a good job of getting self-motivated people in here. When we have

a lot of guys fighting out here, and we are not going to make the playoffs, it shows we have

a lot of character on this football team.

Q: What do you have to say about the secondary being banged up, and they were still

able to limit their guys?

A: I think they played their butts off. I think they only had a couple big plays on us, and they

tackled well. I think they played a heck of a game. I haven’t been able to watch the film, but

they gave us time to get a rush.

Vikings Linebacker Chad Greenway

Q: I know you talked earlier in the week that you didn’t really care. It’s all about you

guys damaging someday else’s playoff.

A: Yeah, I mean they were playing hard today and if we were playing the Bears or

something like that it obviously means a lot more. We need to win. If anything, you need to

put a smile back on your face and go back to work, especially with the way last week turned

out. There was just a great all- around team effort today.

Q: You guys lost a lot of close games this season. What’s it mean to get a win like

this late in the season with the record that you guys have?

A: Well thinking about our organization from top to bottom and the coaching staff, I think the

leaders and the teammates we have in here are great. I mean nobody has quit all season.

It’s been a tough season. We don’t get any breaks until the end of the game, and we have

been in every ball game for the most part. We look back on every weekend at Leslie saying,

“Great effort, great effort” but you really look back and appreciate that as a guy on the team.

There are guys busting their butts every week. The guys are just stepping it up to play great

football.

Q: There is already talk about finding a replacement for Frazier. As a player, how

would you respond to that in terms of how you guys have done?

A: I think a report is a report. We have two weeks left now, two games left of the season.

The coaching staff has done a great job at keeping us focused and maintaining what they

want to do in a consistent message and they will maintain that throughout. You can’t stop

those things. When your team has four wins, it’s going to happen. It’s the NFL. It’s just the

business we are in. It will happen if you’re a player that isn’t playing up to par as well so it’s

just the business we are in. You have to move forward and whatever happens, happens.

Q: With that said, it sounds like you very much appreciate the staff that is here for

you.

A: Yes, I have been with Leslie for seven years out of my eight in the NFL so there are

guys here that you create good bonds with that you have been around for a long time that

have done a great job coaching. It is not my decision to make one way or the other but I

appreciate the things they continue to do for us to put us in the best position to get wins.