A look at what the Minnesota Vikings said following their 21-20 preseason win over the Seattle Seahawks:
Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Always nice to win. I thought there were some good things that happened in the ball game. Offensively, we were much better on third downs tonight. First group was 7-of-10, and they were longer yardage ones. We have to make those a little bit more manageable. We had a 90-yard drive for a touchdown. We were three-for-three in the red zone. Two-for-two inside the five yard line. There were some good things. Defensively, for the most part, we did alright. They hit us on a couple traps early, we had to get squared away. There was a couple times we tackled them, we hit them for 1-yard gain and it ended up being second and five. So, we have to clean that up this week. Did better on the screens though, from last week, that was an emphasis this week. Other than that, kicking game wasn't very good.
Q: What is your level of concern with Daniel Carlson's misses tonight?
A: I don't know if I'm concerned about him in general. I'm concerned about the coverage units. I'm going to chalk this one up to a bad night but hopefully it gets better.
Q: What's been your impression of Kyle Sloter through three preseason games?
A: Well, he comes in and makes plays. He's done that a couple games this year. So, that's been good to see. He moves in the pocket well, he needs to speed up his rhythm a little bit. He's made some plays. The touchdown was a big play.
Q: How do you think the protection held up in the first half with Kirk Cousins in the game?
A: I thought it was pretty good. Early in the game they blitzed a lot and then they backed off a little bit and picked it back up at the end. I thought it was pretty good for the most part. I don't remember. He missed the one, the linebacker came up the middle the one time, I think it got called back. Other than that, it was not bad.
Q: What did you think of the running game in general?
A: That defense is hard to run against because they're always in an eight man box for the most part. So, you're going to have to get a hat on a hat and the back is going to have to beat a guy. Playing those kind of teams when you're running, it's always going to be a hard day of going. I'm not concerned, we didn't have many second-and-two's, obviously. Look at the tape and then see kind of how guys were doing.
Q: How did you feel about the interior run defense?
A: They hit us on two traps. It's pretty obvious they game planned us because some of the plays that they had in there, which is fine. I don't care if they game plan or don't game plan but they were running, they ran three screens, they ran their flash play. The tight end came up inside you know and they've never done that, they were doing that to attack and then the two traps to attack Sheldon [Richardson]. I have pretty good confidence in our guys.
Q: What are you overall impressions of Sheldon Richardson so far?
A: He's been good, he's getting better all the time. We're trying to teach him a lot more techniques and things and really tonight on 3rd downs we wanted to look at [Anthony] Barr on the outside a lot more rushing, so really in the 1st half I think he was playing defensive end the whole time.
QB Kirk Cousins
Q: Did you expect to throw so many times in the first half?
A: Well, you probably don't expect to throw it that much in one half but anytime you have a two-minute drill, whether at the end of a half or the end of a game you're going to get a lot more pass attempts and it's going to change your stat line than if you were in a four-minute mode or just running out the clock to end a half. I think that inflated it a little bit because we had a lot of plays in that drive, but when you put together long drives with a lot of third down conversions and you don't have any big long play to score, it's kind of just marching. It does lend itself to having a lot of snaps and I thought that was a good thing. I think we need that work and I was glad to see that we got a two-minute drill in before the real thing hits here in a couple weeks.
Q: How do you feel about how those 28 attempts went?
A: Yeah, good and bad. I felt like there was a lot of positives. I liked that we did well on third down. I liked that we moved the football. I liked that we got several guys involved. I liked that our o-line handled the protection well. We got the ball out and avoided sacks. But there's still several throws here, I've made a list, that we didn't hit and it's mostly me. We've got to him them and we can hit them. I came off the field feeling like we could have been so much better. There was a lot there to be had that we didn't do. I probably won't sleep as easily tonight because of that.
Q: Is that a standard thing you do to make a list or was that because you had time on the sidelines?
A: Yeah, I just felt like it was starting to add up which isn't a good thing. I mean it was the out-breaking route to Adam [Thielen] on the sideline in the two-minute that was down at his feet that should have been an easy pitch-and-catch. Latavius twice in the flat. The ball was high and away. The ball needs to be on him, not that the second one would've been a big gain but just can be more accurate. The inside fade I thought to [Stefon Diggs] would have been a touchdown, if the ball's thrown accurately. That's day one stuff you got to hit that throw. A couple of those red zone plays I thought were there. The sack was my fault. It was a protection deal that I put us in that made it a tough deal. I thought the two point conversion was probably there as well and could've made a better throw. When you go 17 of 28 and there's a few you want back, you could've really had a great night and I feel we just missed that.
Q: Are you pleased with where you are at if this is your last preseason game playing and ready for Week 1?
A: You never know. I think I'd be interested to see a study in if feeling pleased about where you're at affects Week 1. I don't know. It's all going to come down to how we start against San Francisco, regardless of what has happened prior to now. So the next two weeks we have to take advantage of every day. I just try to iron out details, communicate well, hone in on the game plan once it gets developed and come ready to go on Sunday, September 9th.
Q: After last week, did it feel good to get some of the longer drives and some of the third down conversions?
A: Yes. I think that was a point of emphasis was to come away with third down conversions, staying on the field, keeping our defense off the field. It is a mix of run and pass which is important. I felt good about some of the things we did tonight. I think there were a lot of positives and yet there is so much we know we have to go back and work on. No one is going to come back Monday or Sunday with the film and feel good about themselves. Everybody is going to be sitting there wanting to learn and get better. It was so fun to watch the third team to go down there at the end of the game and make plays happen.
QB Kyle Sloter
Q: Can you take us back through that touchdown pass?
A: Honestly, it happened so fast, I don't really remember much. I just felt like I was getting flushed out of the pocket, and rolled to my left trying to buy time. I remember seeing Jeff Badet and I was trying to signal him one way, but I didn't quite get him to go that way. Then I turned my attention back to the right and it just happened to be a broken play. I saw Chad Beebe and tried to put it in place so he could make a play.
Q: You've got to be happy with the way that you played tonight, right?
A: Yeah, it was fun. There are definitely things that I can do better. I'm not happy with some of the things and the setbacks on me, I could have done better with those. The overall outcome of the game is awesome, but I'm going to get back in the film room as soon as possible. I'm sure I'll watch it before the night is over, and I'll try to make the necessary corrections to get out here and be even better.
Q: How important has it been for your growth over this preseason leading some of those important drives?
A: It's been awesome. I've had a unique opportunity to go out there and meet some of those guys that are in the same position as me, and to help lead some new guys coming into the NFL. It's been cool, not many people get to be put in the position to get the ball at the end of the fourth quarter, and to have the chance to win that game. Last week I didn't go get it done, but this week we got it done. It felt good to go out there and get the win.
RB Dalvin Cook
Q: Do you think that was the right amount of work for you to get in and get hit a little bit?
A: I don't know. Whatever part of the plan is, I am going to be out there and ready to go. At this point, I got in got banged up a little bit, got that out of the way. It's just time for everybody to know I can play football.
Q: What were your nerves like before the game?
A: I was excited. Nerves come with any football game. But I was more excited I had to calm myself down more than anything. I was ready to play, so I was just excited.
Q: How antsy were you getting not playing week one or two?
A: I wasn't getting antsy. We weren't going to approach it as fast as we can. Whatever the plan is, I am with it. I was just ready to play, that was it.
Q: You talked about those milestones was getting tackled one of those?
A: Yeah, for sure. It definitely was, especially on that third down. I got banged up, had to find my way to get the first down. That definitely was a milestone. It felt good too. My adrenaline was rushing. I was ready.
Q: How good of a sign has it been how well this team has run the ball these first three weeks?
A: It just goes to show if you put a good running back back there, he can make everything right. Our running backs are doing good things in the preseason; we just have to continue those things over into the regular season. Right now we are running the ball really good. We are seeing the holes really good. The rookie running backs are running the ball really good. We just have to carry over into the regular season.
Q: Good thing to see some of those pieces coming back on the first team?
A: Yeah, we are getting the whole gang back out there. Everybody is getting healthy. It's part of everybody being ready for the regular season.
Q: What is the biggest thing mentally from last year to this year?
A: Cherish this thing, man. Cherish the game. I was laying in my bed a lot of nights, just wondering, just thinking. You never know with the whole situation. Cherish the game while you got it. Everything with your teammates, this locker room right now, this interview, you cherish it, because it goes real fast.
Q: Did Latavius Murray help you with the process of working yourself back in?
A: Yeah, Tae has been a big brother to me since I stepped in Minnesota. The whole process, he called me when I was back where I had my surgery at in Pensacola. When I got back he made sure I was okay, stopped by the house. He got me through the process, "Keep your head down, working. Don't see the light at the end, just work." That is what I did, and that is why I was able to play tonight.
Game action photos from the Seahawks' third preseason game of 2018 against the Vikings in Minnesota.