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What The Vikings Said Following Their 30-17 Win Over The Seahawks

Transcripts, interviews and press conferences from Seattle vs. Minnesota.


Postgame quotes from the following:


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Head Coach Mike Zimmer

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Opening Statement

"Okay, feels good to win. You know, it was nice to finish off the game like we did. I thought -- I told the team, I thought that's the best offensive performance that I've seen in the eight years that I've been here. Kirk (Cousins) played outstanding. I thought (Alexander) Mattison ran the ball well. The offensive line blocked great. Tight ends, receivers blocked great in the run game, but also in the passing game. Very, very proud of the way that they performed today. Two penalties, I think, all day, and one of them we took on purpose. Defensively we started out a little shaky. They gave us some different things that we had to take care of to shut them out in the second half. I thought that was big, and Greg Joseph had six kicks that he made today, so it was a good all-around performance."

What did you think of that roughing-the-passer penalty?

"I honestly didn't see it. I was watching the coverage. It was on the other side of the field and there were some guys in front of me, so I couldn't comment on that."

You talked about the best offensive performance; what does it say to do it without Dalvin Cook?

"It says we've got more to go, hopefully."

Can you talk about the job Mattison did? He ran hard out there.

"Yeah, he always runs hard. He got many opportunities today. Alex is a good back. He's good in protection. He does a nice job in the run game, but the offensive line deserves a lot of credit, as well."

When did you have an idea that Dalvin wouldn't play? When did you know that?

"I got a text this morning."

Kirk seems to have brought his play to another level. What do you make of where he's at through three games?

"Yeah, I think he's playing outstanding. But not only that, he's playing with a lot of confidence. He's also -- I really appreciate the leadership that he's been doing lately. It's been so much better, something he wanted to work on this off-season. He's done a great job with that. You know, and he's very confident where he's throwing the football. He's very confident in his receivers. I think the offensive line has helped him to do some of those things, as well."

Q. What do you think has led to that additional confidence about where Kirk is throwing the ball?

A: You know, he's always been really accurate. I think maybe just -- he's been in the offense now for a while, and I think maybe he just sees these things a little bit more clearly. Defensively they have some change-ups in there that they used today, but he saw those really well. The blitz that he threw to K.J. Osborn I think was on 3rd and 6 or 7 was an outstanding play because he was going to get rocked, and he knew it, and made a great accurate throw to K.J. He made a nice throw to (Tyler) Conklin one time. He's just really accurate, and he seems to be playing very fast.

Q. What did you guys do to take Metcalf out? First 16 minutes he had like five catches.

A: Well, they've got two great receivers in (DK) Metcalf and (Tyler) Lockett. We were trying to focus on those guys and trying to back them down a little bit. When Lockett went out for a little bit, then we put a lot of our concentration on Metcalf, but we just kept plugging away. They hit us on a couple boots early and a trap pass, so we kind of messed up a couple of those things, and we settled down, and I think the players did a good job of adjusting today.

Did you do something to take away the deep ball to Lockett because that's a big part of their --

"Well, we tried. We tried. They didn't hit one, but they almost got that one late in the ballgame that Harry (Harrison Smith) knocked down or something."

That throw that Kirk made, the one you mentioned on the 3rd down blitz to Osborn, is that a different type of throw that he's making this year, the confidence that he's going to get rocked and he can still make that and get the ball maybe -- does he get the ball out quicker this year, throwing it quicker?

"No, he's not getting it out quicker. I mean, he knows when the extra rusher belongs to him, and he knows when he has to get it out. He's been -- he's hung in there before and done it. I think we just had a good play call on where they were in man-to-man, they were blitzing and we had some crossing routes, which it's hard to cover those things."

First regular season game with fans here in two years. How did you feel about the atmosphere?

"Yeah, it was great. It seemed like the fans have been pent up for a year, so I'm glad that they came out today. It was nice to have a late afternoon game where they could hit some of the local establishments before the game, but they were outstanding. That's what teams expect when they come into U.S. Bank Stadium. They expect it to be a loud affair when they come in here."

How pleased are you with what Klint Kubiak has been able to produce now just three games into his play calling career?

"Yeah, I think, first of all, he did a good job last week, too, and the first week we're -- I don't know who could have called a good game on 2nd and 20 and 3rd and 20, but he called a good game again today, but he's also getting a lot of help from these other offensive coaches, Kennedy Polamalu is doing a great job and Keenan McCardell and Phil Rauscher, (Brian) Pariani. I probably left somebody out, but they're all doing really good. Andrew Janocko with the quarterback. I think he's done a nice job with him. It's a good collective thing where you figure out, all right, how can we affect this defense and what plays can we work to get to it."

Did you think about going for it there at the Seattle 1, 4th-and-1 at the end --

"I thought about it, but if we kick it we're up by 13; if we don't get it, it's still a 10-point game, who knows. But it all worked out."

The offensive line, is there some confidence that they're showing that maybe wasn't there a little while ago?

"Well, I think Brian O'Neill is kind of the guy taking charge in there, and I think he's helping these guys have confidence. (Garrett)Bradbury is basically a veteran now, too, and that's helping. Rashod (Hill) did a nice job today, I thought, as far as the things that I saw him do, and (Ezra) Cleveland is a quiet guy that just kind of goes about his business. But I saw him do a really nice job on a stay pass that he picked up the outside linebacker today, as well. They're doing a good job. They're working. Like I told the team last week, we work so hard, we prepare so hard, we deserve to win. These guys are working their rear ends off every single day. They're studying really hard. They come out to practice, and they go hard. They try to execute, do the things that we're trying to get them to do, and it's just good that it pays off so they can see there's some success at the end of the tunnel."

How does it feel to finally get a win over Seattle?

"It's a win."

Quarterback Kirk Cousins

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Opening Statement

"Great to get a win at home. Great to see our crowd again for the first time in a long time. Tremendous energy. I was sitting on the bench with Justin Jefferson during the first drive, and I forgot he had never been in our stadium for a regular season game with a full crowd like that, and he was saying, boy, it's loud in here, and I kind of looked at him thinking, yeah, I guess this is your first time. He was really impressed, and I was very impressed. It was great to start fast offensively. A lot of players stepped up today and made plays: Alex Mattison, Tyler Conklin, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, K.J. Osborn. The offensive line did a phenomenal job. Ameer Abdullah did a great job. I thought that Klint Kubiak just really had good plan. I think anytime the first drive is a fast start, it says a lot about our coaches and they way they prepare and plan and script things early. They did a great job. Proud of the effort, and obviously week 3 there's a lot of football up ahead, and you say it when things are going poorly, that hey, we've got a lot of football left as an encouragement, but I would also say that you say the same thing when you win; hey, we've got to stack them up. One win doesn't do it; we've got to keep going.That's where we're at, but I'll take some questions."

Q. How do you feel about the way Mattison comes in for Dalvin Cook today?

A: I was really impressed with what Alex did, not only running the football but in the pass game. Alex impressed me two years ago as a rookie when he came in how well he caught the ball, mentally how well he handled all the protections and running the routes. I was impressed today with the way he runs after contact. He really brings his pads and runs with a lot of forward body lean. It makes him tough to bring down, and he becomes a violent ball carrier, which I love to see. He was really good on screens today and really proud of the way he played. Then my shoe had just fell off, and I look at the ref and I said, do I get an equipment time out here for the play clock where I can put it back on, and he said, no, and I said, okay, so I stuck my foot in it, called the play, got to the line of scrimmage and realized I'm better off with just going without the cleat, so I threw it off. Pass got batted, unfortunately, but yeah, one of those deals.

When Zim says that this is the best offensive performance he's seen from the Vikings in eight years being here, and you guys do that on a day when you don't have Dalvin, what does that tell you that you do have with everybody else?

"I think it says a lot about our coaches. I think it says a lot about balance as an offense. We're going to throw to the tight ends, we're going to throw to the running backs, we're going to throw to the receivers, we're going to throw to several different receivers. So I think being a multiple offense, I think, really helps. I do think today just the time of possession, I think, anytime we can stay on the field it becomes a great defense for us when their offense isn't on the field. So I think time was possession was big, which goes back to converting 3rd downs, running the football well. But if you have to nit-pick, I do think that we can be better in the red zone. We I think kicked three field goals down there, and that will come back to bite you. I was frustrated on the sideline a couple of those drives stalled in the low red. We've got to find a way to get touchdowns."

What allowed for the tight end usage to increase today? It seemed like you guys were using more 13, especially in that first and second quarter.

"Yeah, I'm not sure. I'm not sure. Probably a better question for the coaches as to the angles they wanted to go at. It's great to get those guys involved. I think in the history of our offense, when the tight ends are catching the ball, usually things are going pretty well. It's good to target them and get them involved."

*On that front with the tight ends, the play where Conklin catches the 16-yarder there, how big of a key to that is Adam Thielen, kind of setting up to give Tyler a quick release there? *

"I'm sorry, which play was that?"'

It was like a 16-yarder in the high red zone.

"Oh, was it the bootleg early in the game? The first drive?"

I think you hit it over the middle. Adam had kind of a mad --

"I really don't know. I'm not sure. I'm sorry I can't give you a better answer. Conk did a great job. Yeah, certainly Adam and Justin, teams are going to focus on them I would think, but when you have great athletes like K.J. and Alex and Tyler, it really helps."

Zimmer has mentioned a few times he's appreciated your leadership, stepping up a little bit in that area this year. What does that look like to you?

"I try to be the same guy, just be consistent. Make sure I'm always building relationships and staying connected with teammates and asserting myself when it makes sense to do that."

The 3rd down throw to Osborn, does that speak to the confidence you're playing with right now to make that throw and be able to connect?

"Yeah, and you could say it goes both ways there. If you're really trying to protect the football, maybe there's a time to eat that and not put it out there, but I felt 11 Dog, I felt pressure, I felt K.J. is going to be one-on-one in a shallow cross, I have a lot of trust in K.J.'s ability to separate versus man coverage and go get the football, and I felt like if I put it out there, there would be green grass and at worst it's incomplete. K.J. made me right."

"Could you see him on the throw or did you just trust that he would be there"

"You see a flash of purple. You have a ballpark idea. But I think when I talk about getting reps, reps give you the ability to play on instinct, so when you get a lot of reps on a play, you can see flashes of purple and just feel where you need to throw the ball."

When it was 17-7 in the second quarter, looks like you get sacked, they get called for defensive holding, are you amazed that the game just seems to completely change after that?

"Yeah, it's a great point because it is like that. It's a razor's edge. I remember after we scored on that drive walking off the field thinking that without that penalty we're punting, and field position is not in our favor and everything else. It's a razor's edge. We were 0-2 going into the game on a razor's edge, too, so you live it both ways. You've just got to prepare and play your highest level of football so that those moments when they happen, they're going to happen, but more often than not they're falling your way."

You always talk about reps and confidence, but some of these crucial 3rd downs you were still spreading the wealth to guys. What does it say about the depth of the guys that --

"Yeah, it just says a lot, not only about the player that we can rely on to give the ball to but our coaches, their ability to bring variety and have our offense be multiple and allow a lot of people to get involved. Don't get me wrong; there will be games where I think one guy may be the focus, but when you spread it around, I think it's really good for our offense."

How has the offensive line bounced back after that first game?

"Yeah, they've done a great job. It's a good group. It's a young group. They're well-coached. Phil (Rauscher) has done a phenomenal job with them. They love Phil. Proud of the way they're playing, running the football, protecting, and they're fun to go to work with every day."

Statistically I think it's your best three-game start to a season. Is there anything kind of different that you think might be leading to that?

"I think I play with really good football players. I think that helps. I also think that Klint Kubiak is doing a phenomenal job. I think Andrew Janocko is doing a phenomenal job, and I can't say enough about the working team around me, getting me ready for Sunday. Kellen (Mond) and Sean (Mannion) are there with me on a Wednesday and a Thursday well after 7:00 o'clock at night helping me, talking through plays in walk-through and watching tape. I can't say enough about kind of the working team that helps get me ready for Sunday that starts with Klint and Andrew but Sean and Kellen, too, and the help they've been. I think all that has made a big difference."

Alexander Mattison said you're playing with more swag. Is that a good word to use?

"I don't know. Irv said that a couple months ago, too. I don't know. I think if you win, it helps."

What does swag mean to you?

"I don't know, Kyle Shanahan used to say that my swag was having no swag. (Laughter.) He told me as a rookie to never change. He said when I came out for my first preseason game, he said my jersey looked so big it looked like I was wearing a Halloween costume. Someone said something about you should get a different facemask, a better jersey, this or that, wear your socks different, and Kyle cut them off and said, no, his swag is having no swag, and I like it that way. I kind of laughed, but there's a hint of truth in the joke, and so yeah, it is what it is."

Alex said with your locker being next to Jets' maybe it was rubbing off on you a little bit?

"Yeah, we need to get Jets' to clear out -- you guys don't get to see it like you used to, but he's got some boxes stacked up in his locker. We need to get him to clean those out. Yeah, he's been great. Having Irv near me, having some of the defensive guys, (Eric) Kendricks and (Anthony) Barr and Harry (Harrison Smith), I love having my locker by them. It's been great to get to know all those guys better."

What can you say about the defense's play today? I know maybe they had a little slower start, but just their tenacity and getting back in the game and making some big plays to create that momentum?

"Yeah, I just think the bottom line holding an offense and a great quarterback like that to 17 points, making important 3rd down stops, 4th down stops, getting us the ball back, they did a great job. It really takes all three phases to win in this league, and it did today."

The jump start that maybe you guys gave the defense there in the second half when that first drive was eight minutes, how important is that when the defense is trying to find its footing after an up-and-down first half to be able to eat up that much clock?

"Absolutely. Finishing the first half with a drive and a score was a big part of the makeup of the game, and then we always talk when we score coming into the half, knowing we'd get the ball coming out, the importance of double dipping and scoring again. I think we only got a field goal, but to get 10 points in those two possessions is a big deal by the next time Seattle gets the ball. And like you said, churning clock, too. It's great to keep their offense off the field."

Another game with a pretty low play action rate. Do you think there's a reason for that? I saw you got nailed on a bootleg early in the game.

"No, I don't think so. It's a good question. I think it's something we'll talk about. I would agree with you. It's something I think we can do more of. I guess it's hard to argue with production, but I do think that there's a place to play action for sure."

Do you feel pretty good for Greg Joseph, six for six, and Myers missed a key field goal, too, for that one?

"Yeah, Greg is doing a great job for us, did a great job today, and there's going to be a lot of big kicks up ahead. It's a huge part of the game."

When you prepare for an opponent that you think their screen game is going to be on the menu, does that come to fruition each game that you think that's going to be there? What did that do for the offense today?

"I thought it was a big part of us getting started on that first drive, the second play of the game hitting a screen. I think we hit a couple others that were big. One of them we couldn't get up on the Mike and he made a great tackle and stopped us, but when you have a strong pass rush that's rushing hard up field, it's great to have that complement to be able to sprinkle that in. Sometimes screens don't hit, but when they do, it's a great thing."

The Seattle Seahawks take on the Minnesota Vikings in their third game of the 2021 season at U.S. Bank Stadium. This album will be updated throughout the game. Game Action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.

Defensive End Everson Griffen

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How was it sacking Russell Wilson?

"It's good. I feel like my feet are getting back underneath me. Just the more reps I get, hopefully I can keep getting better. But I'm just happy that we got the win. That's really all that matters. We're 1-2, and the first one is always the hardest, and we got that."

How was it returning to U.S. Bank Stadium?

"Being back at U.S. Bank Stadium, it feels amazing. They're the best fans in the game, and just going out there and putting on the performance that we did. Kirk's playing his ass off, the offense played their ass off. I haven't seen Kirk play like this in a long time. He's playing great football right now. You've got to recognize that, and we've just got to keep it going. Defense, we had a slow start, but we picked it up and we got composed, and we came back."

Was there a pivot point at all for the defense that led to a change in momentum? Your sack?

"My sack, you know, I think every big play creates a momentum swing. You've just got to be out there, every time you make a big play, you've got to go out there and make it. Defense, I think we just composed ourselves and we went out there and started playing our style of football, and we won."

*You said two weeks in a row you got off to a slower start; do you think it's a simple fix? *

"You know, you've got to think, the past two games, honestly, we should be 3-0 right now. We should have beat Cincinnati, we should've beat the Cardinals, but they won the game, we're going to give them respects, but we should be 3-0. This first one is love, and we were happy we were in U.S. Bank Stadium to get it."

At what point did you feel like you were 'back'?

"You know, I'm just getting my feet back under me. It's going to take a little bit, but I'm still getting my feet under me. The more reps I get, the better I feel like I'm going to get, and I'm going to start making my team better."

Wide Receivers Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson

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Justin, what did it feel like to get your first touchdown in front of a regular season home crowd?

Jefferson: "Crazy. It was crazy. It was so energetic. I was waiting for that moment for a long time now so to finally score a touchdown in front of the fans and hit the griddy, it was great."

Thielen: "Fans love the griddy."

Jefferson: "Facts."

Adam, what's the difference on third downs today? You guys looked like a totally different team.

Thielen: "I don't know. I think just trusting the process. We talked about it last week when we talked. Just trusting the process. We knew what kind of players we have. We know what kind of play caller we have. We know what kind of quarterback Kirk [Cousins] is. Now we just have to go and do it. We knew we could be good on third down. Last year, we were pretty good on third down and we knew that we could be a good third down offense. We just had to go out there and prove it and we did today."

Adam, you bring up the play caller. What's stood out to you about Klint [Kubiak] these first few games?

Thielen: "I think just trusting us. We trust the process and he trusts us. He gives guys like Justin [Jefferson] the ability to go out there and play ball and get the ball in his hands and let him work. He knows what we're really good at and just lets us go to work. That's all you can ask for as a player."

*Adam, with Dalvin Cook out, what did you think of the job Alexander Mattison did replacing him? *

Thielen: "Anytime you have a guy like Dalvin [Cook] out, not only the type of player he is on the field, but the leadership and energy. It's tough, but Alex [Mattison] is such a great guy to be able to come in there and fill that spot for him because he's just got a great mindset and he's in there working and not talking. He's just out there working and every time he gets those opportunities, he makes the most of it so we had no worry going into this game. We knew what kind of player he is and we knew that we had to step up in the receiver room to make plays and to start the ball moving and get first downs early, so we could continue to play our game."

You mentioned knowing the kind of quarterback you have. With three games, averaging more than 300 yards, 8 touchdowns, and no picks. What stands out to you about Kirk Cousins in these first three games?

Thielen: "Just attitude. He's just no fear. He's not worried about anything other than just going out there and doing his job. I think he's a guy who now is able to be in the fourth year in the system and be around a lot of us players. He just kind of trusts us and trusts the system, trusts the O-line. I think we haven't given those guys any credit. They did a great job. Usually when you aren't talking about the O-line, it's a good thing, so I think he trusts in them to keep their blocks and that's allowing him to sit back there and spread the ball around. "

*When you mention no fear and you see him throwing that throw off his back foot where he's got the defender in his face. As a receiver, what is your opinion of that and what do you think when you see him do that? *

Thielen: "I think that just gives us confidence that we know that he's going to stick in there for us, we better make some contested catches. We better do our job after the catch and making plays and moving the ball. The biggest thing is just making those third down plays to move the ball and then he can really go to work."

Justin, you're the fastest player to 100 catches, passing Randy Moss and Stefon Diggs. How does that make you feel?

Jefferson: "Yeah, it's good, a good achievement. I didn't even know I was even close to that

record so to see that on the big screen that was, that was a big honor. And I mean, just having credit

to this man to the side of me [Adam Thielen], just being on the other side, and doing his own thing.

Kirk has been doing a tremendous job for the past two years so I mean I'm just around these great

players and he just giving me the ball."

How much more has your offense opened up today with the way [Tyler] Conklin played


Thielen: "Yeah, I mean, we talked about it when we were talking to the media when Irv [Smith Jr.]

went down and saying "how are we going to find a guy that, to replace, Irv [Smith Jr.]. Again, a guy

that meant so much to this team, this offense. And I think, I think, when you have guys like Conk

[Tyler Conklin], you have you have so many guys that can fill that role: KJ [Osborn], Dede

[Westbrook], I mean, I'm missing people you know, there's so many guys that can come in and

contribute. And that's what Kirk is good at. He's good at distributing the ball, find the open

guy, doesn't care who it is he's gonna trust you, you know, and Conk [Tyler Conklin] we know what

kind of player he is, we see it every single day. We're just kind of waiting for him to take off."

Jefferson: "Facts."

You're 1-and-2 now, same as the [Seattle] Seahawks and the [Kansas City] Chiefs are 1-and-2, do you feel, despite the two losses, you're in really good position now with so much of the season yet to go?

Thielen: "I wouldn't say we're in a good position but I think we're gonna try to ride this momentum."

Jefferson: "Yeah"

Thielen: "This is a momentum league, we knew we just got to get a win, it's been frustrating,

obviously, after the first two weeks, but we knew that we were just gonna focus on this week. And

now, after we enjoy this today, tomorrow we're gonna move on and get ready for our next opponent

because in this league you got to do it. We talked about it, I think we were talking about it before the

game, its like, man, its hard to win in this league and these young guys were kind of talking about it

like, "man like Kansas City's [Chiefs] losing and some of these really good football teams are losing."

It's like man you can't, it's not like college where you can kind of have those gimme games where

you're paying $500,000 and you should crush them. You can't do that in the league and that's what

makes it fun. That's why I love, I love playing."

First time back, fans in the building for a regular season game since 2019 your thoughts on


Thielen: "They were lit."

Could you expand on that?

Thielen: "Justin [Jefferson] you can talk about the fans."

Jefferson: "I already had my piece. It's your turn."

Thielen: "No, it was great, obviously, they're so important to our success. That's why we couldn't

wait to get home. We couldn't wait to get in this building. A guy like Justin [Jefferson], never even

played in front of this crowd."

Jefferson: "Right."

Thielen: "So, it was awesome. Can't wait to be back next week."

How many times have you lined up in the backfield like in your career or even just in


Thielen: "I did in seventh grade. Wasn't very good that's why I play receiver."

Adam, what's Kirk's (Cousins) read like on that 3rd and 13-yard touchdown pass? What's he looking at, what are you looking at?

Thielen: "I have no idea to be honest, I'm just out there running my route. I don't know what he's reading but I'd imagine coverage like two high or one high and then he's got a certain progression. But for me, I just, you know, run the route that's called and then try to get open so if he is throwing to me, I'm open and I can make a play but I told him right after that pass I mean that was good timing, that ball was on me right when I broke, So, I think if that's a little later, that safety has a chance to smack me and it's a tougher catch. He's been like that all year though, it's been a different Kirk [Cousins], He's just locked in and moves on time, he's trusting it. I think a big part of that is our o-line and just the way that they're blocking and giving him time to sit back there and make his reads, like you said, he's got a progression and then finding open guys."

Running Back Alexander Mattison

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Coach Zimmer said "this is the best offensive performance he's seen is his eight years. How does it feel to be the catalyst of it?

"It means a lot. We go out there and prepare to be the best offense that we can be. It was a huge win today individually, as a group, and as a team with the o-line, tight ends, receivers all together. Kirk (Cousins) did an amazing job today and it was great the way it clicked. It was great to see and now we can go back and work on the little details."

When did you find out that Dalvin Cook wasn't going to play? What was your mindset after hearing that?

"Between me and him I knew a little bit sooner than everybody else. I prepare every week the same way. Having a routine a, KP (Kennedy Polamalu) is big on us having a routine and going about it that way, having a routine but, also having to take care of my body little different missing a lot. Taking all the reps in practice and also knowing you are going to be taking the first snap rather than coming in to the game."

*How is 32 touches feeling? *

"Feels a little tough right now but, it's one of those things that I love about the game. You feel every single one of those reps but, they all paid off and we were able to come out and get the victory, so that's all that matters."

*You tied your career high in yards. *

"Feels good when you get the ball and are able to be productive. We love to be productive as running backs in this offense so it feels amazing. We wouldn't be able to do it without those guys upfront."

What was the difference on 3rd down? What made that killer instinct?

"It was just honing in on the details and understanding that we had to be better on 3rd downs and we went out there and got the job done. Huge credit to all the guys that were in on those 3rd downs and making big plays, making big catches, big throws and making big blocks up front for us to convers on those."

*What do you think of the screen play after the defensive holding early on the first drive? *

"We knew that we could probably take advantage of them in the screen game. Real glad that we were able to come out and execute that part of our plan. Just knowing how those guys play it was something that we were able to target a little bit. The offensive line did a great job and Kirk put it on the money just having open grabs to go out there and make plays."

*What was it about the defense that made them susceptible to the screen plays? *

"It was a combination of everything. Understanding how the linebackers play and how the defensive line plays and try to attack up field a little bit. Being able to get that separation and get that space between the linebackers and the defensive line and make a play."

Did Dalvin (Cook) say anything specifically before the game or give you any advice?

"He didn't really apply pressure on me or anything like that. He knew I didn't need a pep talk or anything. I was ready for the opportunity and he told me just to go run with it. He was with me every step of the way. When I would come to the sideline I would get advice from him if he saw something. Most of the time he told me I was doing exactly what he would do. That made me proud to be that little brother in a sense and just trying to learn from him and it prepared me for the moment. Being behind him the last couple years has been a huge blessing."

Middle Linebacker Eric Kendricks

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Opening Statement

"I just want to start it off and thank Lil Uzi Vert for providing me with pregame music to turn up to. I feel like I always listen to his music on the way to the stadium, so I have to give a shout out to him."

*Why him? *

"His beat, it goes hard."

What song?

"Shoot. I like Prices. Great. Sauce It Up, you know, something to get you going."

*What was the difference in the defense? They had success early in the game, and then it was like everything totally changed. *

"Just settling down. Especially in the second half. We started the second half out with a three-and-out I believe. But also, our offense was driving the ball all game, so it definitely helped with a little bit of a lead. They kept chipping away, kept running the ball, and it changed the tide of the game. It puts more of a position in our favor. It definitely helped us too, our offense."

What did you think of the home crowd and how they impacted today?

"Man, I missed the crowd so much. I missed our fans a lot. They brought the energy today. I knew when I was driving to the stadium—I saw everyone out and being rowdy—that everybody's excited for the game. It showed today. We had to quiet them down a little bit one time when we were on offense, but other than that, they were great."

What did you see on your sack of Russell Wilson?

"I saw his jersey. I think they tried to squeeze down, and I just kind of slithered through there in the B-gap and made sure to wrap him up."

How tough is it to know when to put pressure on Wilson?

"He's pretty elusive. He knows where his receivers are downfield as soon as he breaks the pocket, so it's about plastering the coverage downfield, keep containing, and keep running as the plays continue."

How important was Everson Griffen's play, that stop in the third quarter?

"That play was actually huge for me, personally. They ran a little bit of a trick play on that play, and my guy was actually open down the field, so thank (Griffen) for getting the sack on time."

What was it like watching the second half? I think you guys were only on the field for like six minutes because the offense kept churning.

"It's huge. It's huge for time of possession, and we were running the ball the whole game. That's huge, like that's how our offense is built, so shout out to (Mattison) for stepping up today, and the offensive line for getting it done. (Abdullah) too. (Abdullah) played well as well."

A big part of it, obviously, is that you're playing with the lead, but what kind of adjustments did the defense make to kind of tighten down?

"They came out with a lot of looks that we hadn't really seen on film. I mean, teams are going to do that, and it's about us adjusting. We talked over how we should play it. When we talked over it originally, maybe it didn't work like we thought, so we changed it again. Then, everybody's on the same page, and we started neutralizing it a little bit."

Some of the tempo stuff they were doing in the first half were making substitutions difficult. Were they not doing that as much in the second half?

"They weren't doing it as much because we had the lead. But in the first half they were coming out, they were putting the tight end in, and they were going unbalanced. They were just doing a lot of stuff."

How much does the pass rush up front neutralize the threat downfield?

"It's huge. It puts a timer on the quarterback to throw the ball, and we have a shorter window to cover, in a sense. Which is always good. But pressuring the quarterback is huge in wins."

Does it feel like you guys finally solved Russell Wilson?

"Yeah, it was my first time beating him, honestly, since I've been in the league, so that was huge for me. I try not to think about that really, just go out and play, but it definitely was nice."

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