Move-out day in the Vikings locker room at Winter Park is a bitter-sweet experience. It typically follows a disappointing conclusion to the season because only one team each year in the NFL finishes the season having accomplished their ultimate goal. Unfortunately, this year the Vikings will not be that team.
But move-out day also represents a time for players to get away, spend time with family and loved ones, and recharge their batteries for the offseason program and for the upcoming season.
On their way out the door, several Vikings players took a few moments to chat with reporters about what transpired this season and what the future might hold for this team in 2013 and beyond. Here are a few highlights from a few of the guys…
On what Adrian Peterson meant to the Vikings: “What Adrian did this year, I mean it’s inspiring. Not even just on a football level, just on a level of commitment. I think he’s a true example of never letting someone put limitations on you. So many people said he couldn’t do it, and he proved them wrong. It’s just like that in life. You can’t let people put limitations on what you want to do and what you want to achieve. And for him to be a walking testament to that is awesome. For that, it was an inspiring season from him.”
A Rookie Kicker?: “Blair had an unbelievable season. I’ll be the first one to say, you get a rookie kicker and you’re like ‘Ah crap, here we go. We let one of the best in the League go in Longwell, and how’s this guy gonna fit? Is he going to choke the very first opportunity he has to make a pressure kick?’ You know what, he was incredible.”
No wow factor: “No, I didn’t at all. I didn’t wow myself. This is what I expected. I know that sounds nonchalant, like ‘Oh, I’m sure you did.’ But I did. That’s why I’m able to take things as it is. But I feel like there’s room for me to get better, and I look forward to doing that.”
Standout moment of 2012: “Just getting back to practicing with the guys. That was the best feeling. To be kind of bummed out once I actually got back to training camp and found out they put me on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list, I was kind of bummed out. But once I got back on the field with the guys and was able to participate, that felt good. There was nothing like it. And just coming back in September for that first game in the dome against the Jaguars, that was a defining moment for me. That felt good.”
Who should be named NFL Coach of the Year?: “Leslie Frazier, without a doubt. He’s a great guy, he’s helped me on and off the field. He’s demeanor, spiritual faith, just the man that he is. He radiates positive energy…you can’t help but feed off of him. He has really been a big part of my development, not only as a football player but as a human being. He’s very inspirational.”
What did you learn in 2012?: “That I can do the things to help this team be in a position to be successful. And not just me, but this whole team can handle the pressure of what it takes to get to a playoff berth. We knew that if we lost (vs. Green Bay in Week 17) we wouldn’t make it. So just to handle that pressure as a whole team, especially with how young we are, I think that showed a lot. I need to play at that level consistently for sixteen games. I’ll learn from that, and use what I did in those games to work on next year.”
Anticipating improvement: “We were able to get into the playoffs, but next year I expect to, I made a pretty good leap from first year to second year, I expect an even greater leap from the second year to the third year.”
Success begins at the top: “Our GM (Rick Spielman) has done a great job. Rick’s done a great job with his vision. Building a young roster, guys who are hungry and want to work hard. And having good veteran leadership. I think we’re definitely a team on the upswing. Obviously we’re still disappointed, the loss (to Green Bay) is pretty fresh. We didn’t accomplish our ultimate goals, but we made huge strides, and as long as we go about our business the right way this offseason, rest up right now while it’s time to do that, get healthy and come back ready to work once the offseason program starts, we’re definitely a team on the upswing.”
What did you like about being in the NFL?: “I just like the chemistry of the team. Every guy on the team is a guy that you want to play with, and guys that you have fun playing with and can count on. It seems like with the guys we have here, the leadership we have with the coaches, the front office, things are going in the right direction.”
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Christian Ponder, Harrison Smith, Jared Allen, John Sullivan
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