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Minnesota Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer, players talk about Wild Card playoff game

VIKINGS HEAD COACH MIKE ZIMMER

SUNDAY, JAN. 5, 2020 ● MERCEDES BENZ SUPERDOME

NFC WILD CARD PLAYOFF

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS  VS MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Opening Statement:
"Good team win today. I thought we played well in all three phases. Started out rough, we fumbled early in the ballgame, but we were able to hold them to three. Lots of ebbs and flows across the ballgame, but I am just proud of my team for how they fought and the way they competed. It is good to see."

(On no one thinking the Vikings could win this game)
"It's good. It is always nice to keep on playing. You know I have a ton respect for the New Orleans Saints, Drew Brees, all the players they have, for Sean Payton, he does an unbelievable job here. We were just fortunate to win the day. Yeah, it does feel good to be doubted and to be able to come up with a win."

(On the pass to Adam Thielen in overtime)
"We talked about how we didn't want to leave anything in the bag. We had a chance to go down to score and win, and that is what we were trying to do. That is a play we have used before. It was a great throw by Kirk (Cousins) and a great catch by Adam. You have to take your shots when trying to win a playoff game."

(On if he knew Marshon Lattimore was not in the game when they passed it to Thielen)
"I didn't know. They might have said something upstairs. I either didn't hear them or was talking to someone else or the defense."

(On having everyone healthy on offense for the first time in a while)
"Yeah, it was good. I thought Dalvin (Cook) ran the ball really hard today. The offensive line I thought they did a nice job protecting. They have some great players on the defensive line. The way he runs the football, with the acceleration to get through the seams and the cracks, and the physicality he runs with. He made some great runs today."

(On Cousins getting the game ball for today and what this game meant to him)
"I gave two, but he did get one. You know, they say he cannot win a playoff game, but he has only been in two, so he is 50%, which is better than a lot of people. I thought he played really well today. He took good care of the ball. He made good decisions when they had some heat on us, so he had to make some great decisions. It is good. He has to go out and prove it again next week, like we all have to."

(On Kyle Rudolph using his size on the touchdown)
"Yeah, he is awful good in the red zone, and made a great catch. He has always been a great team player, and for him to get the winning catch was big."

MINNESOTA VIKINGS VS. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

NFC WILD CARD PLAYOFF

SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 2020 ● MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOME

MINNESOTA VIKINGS PLAYERS

QB #8 Kirk Cousins

Opening Statement:
"It was a team win. When you look at it, it just felt like it was running the ball, it was throwing the ball, defense, our special teams kept giving us favorable field position where we got the ball. There were so many challenges we had to overcome with playing in the noise and a tough environment against a good football team. I'm really proud of the way that we kept playing at the end. It's amazing in this league how every game seems to come down to the last two minutes and beyond. It's a game of inches and today we found those inches. I'm so glad we're moving on."

(On being aggressive in overtime):
"You just have to put a drive together. It doesn't matter how you do it. You have a mix of run and pass and I think that you approach it like you do any other drive. There's a sense of urgency, certainly, to stay on the field. But you mix run and pass and you play your normal offense."

(On the overtime pass to Adam Thielen):
"Protection held up. Adam pretty much won. The ball goes up and he makes a great catch. That's a route I've run since my rookie year. Sometimes you hit it and sometimes you don't. I thought it was great to connect on that one."

(On if he feels a sense of relief after winning a big game):
"I'm thrilled we won a playoff game and I just do my part. We won the game today because we played great defense, got a turnover, had good special teams, great play-calling and a great plan. We protected and ran the football. We probably had 30-40 rushing attempts. There's a whole lot of reasons we won the game. Does the quarterback play a role in that? Yes, but it was a team win."

LB #54 Eric Kendricks

(On the first drive)
"We we're backed up off the turnover and we held them (to a field goal). We held them and got a sack from some pressure on that very first drive. We held them to a field goal, and I thought that was the biggest series of the game."

(On preparation for the game)
"We had a confidence all week. We were going to keep it rolling and keep having fun and ball out."

(On defensive front)
"It was crucial (that they set the tone). At times we only rushed four, that's what they get paid for. They're the best at what they do. They put pressure on them, they cause fumbles, they cause havoc."

(On the poise of the defense)
"We were all very calm cool collected as a defense. We stay pretty calm in those situations. It's about playing the next play. "We've played against them before. We've been in the same situation. We don't let it get bigger than us; we trust our preparation."

WR #19 Adam Thielen

(On Kirk Cousins' poise today):
"We don't listen to that (external) stuff." We don't listen to that noise. We know what type of guy he is. We know his talent. We know that if you put guys around him, you can do big things because he is that talented and he's that hard of a worker. He's going to prepare every single week. It doesn't matter what someone says about him and that's who you want as your leader and your quarterback."

(On the long overtime catch)
"You go make a play. Plays get cycled in throughout the year and you never know where the ball is going to go. It might not be drawn up to get that ball, but when you get the right coverage and you get man coverage, its 'mono y mono' When you have a quarterback that trusts you and gives you a chance, it's obviously special to have a guy like that back there."

WR #14 Stefon Diggs

(On getting over this hump today)
"It is definitely exciting just considering we've been on the short end of the stick sometimes. To come out here in a hostile environment which was super loud, the loudest it has been all year of any stadium. It was definitely a one play at a time type of game. To win is very emotional. We wanted to win. We had a mindset of winning all week. We prepared like we wanted to win, like we knew we had a chance, and we came out and executed."

(On not being given a chance to win this game)
"We are kind of used to being underdogs. I kind of touched on it a little earlier in the week. A lot of the guys on the team are underdogs, coming from where they came from, school, late round, whatever. Guys are used to being behind the eight ball, so it was not a surprise."

(On Coach Zimmer this week and his message)
"He made a point of emphasis to say, 'We have an opportunity. We need to execute at a high level if we want to win.'"

(On sideline frustration)
"It's a game. People don't want you to show your emotion, but if you don't show your emotion, they think you don't care. It wasn't anything toward my guys. It was just the coverage that I was getting. Guys were playing two guys on (me) The whole game. That's how it is. Don't ever get it confused with a distraction. The guys on my team know me. I'm always team first and I'm always ready and willing to do anything to get a win. People formulate their own opinion when you watch from the outside looking in. I care about my team and their opinion of me more than I care about the outside. I don't think there's anything wrong with showing a little frustration."

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