HEAD COACH PETE CARROLL
(On how big of a test the Vikings run defense will be) "They're doing great. All the guys up front, the guys that have played, they know the game. They mask what they're doing exceedingly well. They're fast, they're athletic and the experience really makes them really difficult."
(On why he enjoys the challenges of facing competitive teams) "Every game, games are all amazing challenges. These guys pose more challenges because of their background and their history than others. They're such a good situational team that red zone is good, third down is good, explosive plays are hard to get. Everything about them, their run defense, everything about these guys. The passing numbers are crazy. The quarterback's completing 71.3 percent of his passes this late in the year. It's crazy that he's that sharp, but that's who they are. They've got a receiver that's got 98 catches, another guys got 84 catches. It's a really terrific challenge."
(On how Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen progressions as players will make this matchup different than previous ones) "They seem extremely well connected with (Kirk) Cousins. The intricacies of the things that they're running and the timing that they're able to show consistently on really good concept stuff. The guys come through and make the catches, they're both good after the catch, they both get down the field. They're possession guys, they're down the field guys, they have all of that ability in them. So, it just makes it really hard and the QB (quarterback) knows it. They seem to really have hooked up well with the quarterback too. The execution is as good as you can get."
(On how Kirk Cousins is different in the Minnesota Vikings offensive system compared to being in the Washington Redskins offensive scheme) "It just seems as he's at his very best. As the guys keep growing – he's the same year I think as Russ (Russell Wilson) – they just keep getting better as they grow and they learn. They have great coaching and they just take advantage of it. They continue to become more in command of the game. He looks like he's totally got it wired."
(On the Vikings passing attack consistency throughout the game) "It's a west coast origin, the background of the scheme they run – which has always been about possession and catching and running and all of that. When you complete over 70 percent of your passes, you can move the football with your short game – which they can do, as they do. Their running attack, they've got good runners. Dalvin (Cook), he's really good. Latavius (Murray), he's really good. They've got big time strike ability, they're both averaging over four yards a carry. Last week, they averaged almost eight yards a carry in the game (against the Patriots). It's just a really loaded up team that they can go either way – they can run it or they can throw it."
(On if the Vikings offensive versatility will shift how the Seahawks defensively scheme for them) "Because of the efficiency of their throwing game, it totally attracts our attention. We have to be on it because they'll throw you out of the stadium. Again, it goes back to their efficiency is so good – it makes it really hard. But, I hear the coach talking a little bit about wanting to run the football a little bit more too, so we have to start where we always start. Start with the running game first. It does take a lot of focus to even have a chance to slow them down. They're averaging 275 or something a game throwing, which is crazy numbers."
(On if he sees the similarities in coaching styles between himself and Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer) "Yeah. As a matter of fact, I do. He's, more recently, been involved with running the defense – all the great years that he had in Cincinnati. My years of totally being in charge of the defense are a little bit farther removed. Most defensive guys, they're going to emphasize playing tough on defense, they're going to emphasize getting after you, they want to run the football – that's kind of the way most of us have been brought up. I think we're similar in that regard."
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR KEN NORTON, JR.
(On Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs) "They're good players. They have a good quarterback. I think they have a really good scheme. I think the quarterback knows how to get the ball to them and they know what to do when they get it. The guys understand how to receive and they understand how to run routes. They're really good, skilled football team, so I think it will work well together."
(On how the Vikings passing attack has changed the defensive point of emphasis) "They're really skilled in a backfield. I think that they're explosive, they're fast. They catch and run really well – the good receivers hit the hole and break tackles really well. I think we're going to have our hands full. They're a talented group and they are explosive and they do things really well. Their run game has been really solid, so it's going to be a really good matchup."
LB BOBBY WAGNER
(On Kirk Cousins) "It's pretty much the same thing. Quick game. They kind of incorporate a lot of the things they were running with (the Washington Redskins). He gets the ball out really fast, he tries to complement it with the running game. Sometimes when they get down in the score, they pass a little bit more and when he takes his shots, he's pretty accurate but if you blitz and kind of get in his face, he's the highest quarterback with the balls being batted down so we understand the game is going to be quick game and trying to hit the backs of the flats or the tight end over the middle and take your shots when you can. It's pretty much the same thing that we've seen."
(On the Vikings receiving corps) "They're good. They got a bunch of receivers, they got a great tight end that can get the job done too. I'm not surprised that you (Vikings) pass it. You got running backs who can get out in the flat and make plays, make people miss. You've got a receiving group that can go up and jump over people's heads and outrun guys down the field and you got a tight end who doesn't mind coming over the middle and getting hit. You're not surprised by it, but you probably would like a little bit more balance. You don't want to be predictable where everybody just understands that you're going to throw the ball every time. Again, I wouldn't be surprised if they just came in here and tried to pass the ball the whole time."
QB RUSSELL WILSON
(On playing against a defense without a glaring flaw) "Yeah, that's a good question too. The Vikings, when you turn on the film, they're really good on defense. I mean, they've got everybody that can play some football across the board. There's not one weak link, not in their scheme, not in their personnel, nothing. I think that we've just got to play great football. We've played some great defenses so far this year and we've been prepared. We've done a great job against some of the best defenses in the National Football League. We get to face one of the best defenses every day in practice and that helps prepare us. They have Coach Mike Zimmer (and) he calls it up great for them. They've got a lot of different guys that can make a lot of plays. Harrison Smith, watching him on film, he's one of the most talented guys on the field every time he steps on the field. It's fun watching him and seeing what he can do on the football field. The two linebackers, (Anthony) Barr and (Eric) Kendricks, they're all over the field too. The defensive line, they've got so many guys rushing and getting to the quarterback and everything else. They have a really good (defense) from the corners to everybody. Like I said, there's not a weak link. What we're going to have to do is just be really sharp in terms of our preparation. Be rock solid on third down, be rock solid in the red zone and see where that leads us."
C JUSTIN BRITT
(On the key to establishing the run against the Vikings) "Yeah, they've got a really good defense and it all starts up front with their front four and the depth that they've got – excellent linebackers and secondary. I think Harrison Smith is playing one of the best safety plays of the season that I've seen so far. We just have to stay true to who we are. Practice is everything – buying into it. We face really good defenses all year. We've excelled and put up the numbers and did what we had to do to succeed. Another great opportunity, nothing special. Just going out there doing the best that we can do and doing us. Not really worrying about who's over there to an extent. You hear it all the time, it's about us here."
(On the biggest challenges of facing a Mike Zimmer coached defense) "Their technique is very sound. They're not over complicated. Their third down is excellent – they're one of the best third-down groups in the league. We just got to stay on schedule, stay right, not get behind the sticks. Technique-wise, they're very sound and they're very disciplined with their gaps. Again, it's about us and doing right and understanding the schemes of the plays and the in and outs. The film study and preparation I think is everything."