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Vikings They Said It: Week 17 edition

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Recent posts by Eric Edholm

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Posted Dec. 29, 2011 @ 5:34 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

Here are some select quotes from Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, defensive coordinator Fred Pagac and special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer:

Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave

Q: With Adrian Peterson out, does this require you to go back and look at your offense and change the philosophy at all?

A: I don't know that it does this last week. Our O-line has embraced a lot of the concepts that we have gotten good at this year so we want to keep on keeping on in that regard and Toby (Gerhart) has proved that whether it be Adrian or Lorenzo Booker or Toby back there, we can block people and create some holes.

Q: As you've worked with Christian Ponder this season, what have you enjoyed about working with him and what do you see that you like about him?

A: He's awfully bright and really does a good job of preparing during the week. All of the quarterbacks come in on Tuesday and get a little preview of the opponent and then do a nice job of studying the various situations, whether it be third down in the red area, short yardage, goal line, first and second down throughout the week. They're in a good routine and it has helped to have Sage (Rosenfels) around. They've got a good professional mannerism to them.

Q: Jim Kleinsasser announced this will be his last game and he has been known as a blocking tight end. Is that a dying art in the NFL and if not, is there a role for that?

A: He has definitely had a fantastic career and it's hard to tell the future of where the game goes but historically there has always been a place for a bruiser, a tight end, whether it be Mark Bruener in Pittsburgh or Dwayne Carswell with the Broncos. Right now in Atlanta it's Reggie Kelly, Tony Gonzalez is the receiving tight end, and Jimmy has done a fantastic job of not only being in that bruiser role, but also being athletic enough to play the fullback position and do fullback jobs. He's a rare find and of course we're just excited about his future but we've really been thankful to have him.

Q: Can we expect to see Joe Webb in something other than the 'Blazer' package this week?

A: Yes, I think you can and we've had a good package the last number of weeks where we had Wild Hog type plays for Joe but also orthodox quarterback plays for Joe. We look forward to getting him out there in both roles.

Q: With a guy like that, what is the ideal on how to use him? How difficult is it to get him out there long enough but not disrupt what Christian is trying to do?

A: There is a balance there that we are always striving to attain. Joe did a fantastic job if you remember against Washington getting our drive started with an option play for 16 yards there in the first half. We're continually striving to find that balance and utilize Joe's talents in a way that accentuates him but also allows our offense to kind of stay in rhythm.

Vikings defensive coordinator Fred Pagac

Q: What do you think of E.J. Henderson's performance this year? Where do you see him going forward in terms of his ability to lead the defense?

A: That's something we will discuss at the end of the year. When we get done with the Chicago Bears this week, we will talk about personnel. Everybody will have a word on that and we will make an evaluation back through all the tapes and we will make an evaluation after.

Q: Not that Jared [Allen] needs a lot of help, but are there things you can do going into this game to try and get him those sacks to try and get to Strahan?

A: I would love to see Jared get the sack record, obviously everybody would like to see that happen, but our main purpose is to beat the Chicago Bears on Sunday. If it happens and we beat the Chicago Bears, that's great.

Q: Has Chad [Greenway] has as good of a season, in your mind, from the film you have watched this year, as he did last year?

A: That is something we will make the evaluation on after the season; I think Chad is playing solid. He would obviously tell you if you asked him he would like to make more splash plays. But he has been playing solid for the year.

Q: Kevin Williams, at defensive tackle, that's a tough position to watch from our standpoint to see how a guy plays. How has he held up?

A: Kevin has had the knee problem this year, he has played well, at times he has played very well, he has played up to Kevin Williams' stature. That is something where he has to get his leg right and get consistency about him and he will be Kevin Williams of old.

Vikings special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer

Q: What happened with the missed PAT Saturday?

A: I think it was a little bit of a footing issue, and then he turned his hips. Anytime you turn your hips that way, if you saw the film, his whole body was going to the right. He kicked it straight, but his body was going right, so that's why it went right.

Q: I think you were going into the wind on the 49-yarder against the Redskins, but how would you assess Ryan (Longwell)'s leg strength at this point?

A: Yeah, it was a little bit of wind going that way. I think he does a good job of managing his leg. I don't think he's tired, well, probably a little bit tired because of the time of year, but he still has good enough leg strength. I think if you ask him, he probably felt like he should have made that. He swung hard, and I think he had the distance, it was just a little bit right. They said short on the play-by-play and I thought it was short on the field, but if you watch the film, it has a chance if it goes more towards the middle.

Q: How much have all the personnel changes and injuries affected you?

A: I think, this time of the year on most NFL teams, unless you're extremely lucky, you're going to have injuries. I know the Packers had a bunch of guys on IR last year and they didn't skip a beat. They won the world championship with it. Am I disappointed in our overall coverage? Probably. We've had some good games, we've had some bad games, and we've had some games where they've been outstanding. Last week was an example; we did a phenomenal job other than the one kickoff that was a short kick that got on Brandon Burton so quick that he gave up the edge. Being a young player, that's going to happen. It's hard for me to simulate that in practice, I believe, when a kick's that short. But, hopefully he's learned from it. I talked to him about it again today. He knows better. I'm going to keep him in that spot and he's going to keep getting better. Anytime you have young players and something happens to them that they're not quite ready for, it's very difficult to react to, unless they experience like Brandon did on Saturday. That's the only way he's going to get better at it.

Q: Are coaches going to rethink the old rule "don't come out if it's X yards deep"?

A: Absolutely. We already have, throughout the season. That's something we knew going in that we'd have to rethink it depending on who the returner was, what the situation is. We haven't always made the right decision, but I've learned as a coach that you have to adjust and do different things depending on the situation, because of where the ball is kicked from.

Q: What's the new rule of thumb?

A: If you're down seven with three minutes to go and you have Percy Harvin back there, you tell him to bring it out. If you're up 10 and you have a different returner back there, maybe you tell him to keep it in five deep. Again, it just depends. It's a play-by-play situation. I think, what I've learned as a coach and gotten better at, I tell them before every rep, what to do. Before, in years past, it's been a game-plan deal. Now, because situations are different, you're going to go ahead and make that decision prior to every kick.

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