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Vikings They Said It: Week Two

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Recent posts by Eric Edholm

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Posted Sept. 16, 2011 @ 12:20 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

Here's a collection of quotes this week from Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, defensive coordinator Fred Pagac and special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer.

Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave

Q: As you looked at the tape, what was the biggest issue with getting the passing game going?
A: I don't know if there was a "biggest issue," but definitely we had a number of issues; in the fact that we couldn't get our quarterback in rhythm. That's one thing that we want to do every game. We are looking forward to being able to correct that from here on out.

Q: It seemed like Donovan McNabb was under a fair bit of pressure, particularly the way they lined up their outside linebackers over the tackles.
A: A little bit, but I thought the offensive line did a good job. The Chargers were first or second in the league last year with 47 or 48 sacks. He did a good job of times of really getting through his progression on a couple of those third downs. At times no one was open and he had to pull it down and run, he had that long scamper there in the first quarter. There are some things to build on.

Q: Is it important to try and take more shots down the field?
A: It is important. That's what we are based on. Running the ball, featuring Adrian Peterson and at the same time getting our quarterback in a rhythm, both getting the ball down the field and also possession and control type passes. That's what we want to be and that's what we will be.

Q: Were there opportunities you saw to get the ball down field?
A: Well, it didn't turn out that way. We envisioned it going a different way than it did in the second half and I think we have done a good job this week of leaving no stone unturned, not only as coaches but also players so we can get that corrected in the future.

Q: How much of that is just not having enough time to throw the ball?
A: I think our pass protection is quite good. Our guys have done a good job of bonding together. We are happy with Charlie Johnson at left tackle, our experienced guys at the guard position. John Sullivan has had a super season. We know we feel good about Phil Loadholt at the right tackle. Our protection is doing well and we are looking forward to showing that in production from here on out.

Q: Is using your tight ends a way to get Donovan in rhythm?
A: The tight ends are a big part of our offense, not only in the run game but in the passing game as well. They are crucial for us to be balanced.

Q: What does Tampa do well defensively?
A: Raheem Morris does a good job. I have faced them a number of times in that division. They are going to have a new wrinkle for us each and every week. Ronde Barber is a savvy fellow. We know that (CB Aqib) Talib is a game changer, they a bunch of young guys along the front, and as you can imagine young guys have a lot of energy and a high motor. So we will look to match that and finish better than they do each and every play.

Vikings defensive coordinator Fred Pagac

Q: Did the defense get tired in the second half of the Week One game with how long they were on the field?
A: I'll tell you what, I thought that during the game but when you watch the film, they were playing with great effort the whole time. We have to get off the field. It's our job to get off of the field in those situations and again, we just have to get it done.

Q: What are your impression of DT Remi Ayodele and how he has played so far?
A: I thought he did a good job. The first half I thought all 11 players played well. We gave up one run that I didn't like and that was a gap security situation but in the second half we came out and the run defense played alright. We got hurt on a few check downs, missed some tackles and we had a bunch of penalties in the second half that hurt us but as far as that, it was basically two different games. One half we played very, very well. In the second half, we as a team did not play very well.

Q: Did you think the missed tackles had a lot to do with why you guys couldn't get off of the field?
A: Sure it did. Missed tackles, had a couple of missed assignments in there. We let a guy run free in a zone pressure one time, missed a couple tackles. Obviously all of that is a reason for being on the field.

Q: How many missed tackles did you count on tape and how does that compare to previous games?
A: It wasn't a number of missed tackles that hurt, it was when they had them. There were three or four situations, which is not an usual amount, but there was probably three or four that created a couple big plays. There was a little check down that went for 37 yards, we had two missed tackles on that play. It wasn't a number, it was when it happened.

Q: How do you protect the big plays in the Tampa-2 and not let teams dink and dunk you to death?
A: Obviously you have to change up your calls. You can't play Tampa-2 every snap. You have to play some cover-1, you have to play some cover-9, you have to play some 3-auto, some 2-man. You have to change calls up. It can't be the same diet in the NFL every snap and when you look back at it, the plays that we got hurt on, it wasn't always cover-2. Again, we just have to play better defensively. Our job is to get off of the field. Our job is to shut them out and go from there.

Q: Is it hard to get a pass rusher on board with a zone blitz like Jared Allen dropping back and making the interception?
A: First of all, that wasn't a zone blitz. That was a man blitz and when he makes an interception it's always easier to play football. That's good experience, that's a good football player. That's a football player making a play and that's his job, he did it and did it very well.

Q: Did Chris Cook show some flashes of what he could do in coverage? There was a play he committed a penalty where it seemed like he may not have trusted himself.
A: No, no. In fact the one penalty, he read it too quick was the problem. He was in perfect position. He was going for the interception and he just took a bad angle on it. As far as our coverage goes, I was very excited about our man coverage in the back end. I thought they played extremely well and with the exception of his two penalties in that situation, I can't say a word to him about the one he got when he snagged the guy. He just has to have a little more discipline there. But as far as how they played, I was real happy about how we covered.

Q: Do you feel like he is gaining confidence?
A: Most certainly. I think he's growing up. Like I said, I think the whole back end did a nice job there. I think he has really grown up though. He's maturing and he has to continue to build.
 
Vikings special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer

Q: What did Percy Harvin do right on that kickoff return for a touchdown?
A: He scored (laughs). That's what we ask him to do every time. I think Percy set the return extremely well and we talk about guys setting up their blockers and he had time to do that because the ball was two yards deep. Obviously he broke the one tackle early and he is so explosive and has such great vision that once he hit the seam, it was going to be very difficult for them to stop him.

Q: With the new kickoff spot in place, do you think returners are still going to be able to make that happen?
A: Yeah, I think so, and I think you have to pick and choose your spots too. You don't want to do what Antonio Cromartie did the other night and I know his head coach got on him a little bit about taking it eight yards deep. I mean that's a little excessive. Look at the guys who scored though, Ted Ginn, extremely talented. The young guy in Green Bay (Randall Cobb), who I really liked coming out of college, Percy. The guys who are making plays are the guys who are extremely good at what they do. I think early in the year it's a little bit difficult to be prepared to tackle guys like that because nobody has really done live tackling on kickoff and kickoff return in training camp. Preseason was one thing. Percy didn't take a rep in the preseason so nobody had an opportunity to tackle him. I think the more the big-time returners have opportunities, if it's four or five deep, they are going to take it out. You're going to see some bigger plays.

Q: It looked like San Diego wanted to avoid Percy Harvin and you had Lorenzo Booker in after that. Should there be a debate anymore about whether Percy can be effective?
A: I really have been saying this from Day One, if Percy is available that's who I want back there. Lorenzo is a good returner but Percy Harvin is exceptional. He's one of the best in the business. We're very fortunate to have him when he is fresh and available. Like I said last week, I'd love to use him whenever I can.

Q: Who is your second and third option at holder?
A: I can't tell you that. No, I'm just kidding. Greg Camarillo can hold. The two young quarterbacks can hold. We're training all of those guys and obviously have different options in case anything happens to Chris (Kluwe).

Q: With the new rule with only a five yard run-up, does that change anything for you? Because you like to do looping.
A: Yeah, I remember we talked about that in the spring. I was a big looper in Denver and a lot of that was smoke and mirrors because I had two or three really good guys and about four or five guys that were a little bit slower and weren't as effective on kickoff coverage so I was trying to do some things to open up schemes for my good players to make plays. Here, we have a lot of guys who can run and hit and cover and I'm really pleased with the personnel and the way these guys are playing.

Q: With Percy Harvin back there, doesn't that give you an advantage even if they kick it away from him?
A: Absolutely, because to me, I've never been a guy about stats, I'm about field position and I've preached this to our team, it's all about where we give the offense the ball. Ball possession number one, number two, where do we give them the ball. Where does our drive start and to me, drive start average is much more important that kick return average any day of the week.

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