Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
LT Duane Brown
NT Shaun Cody
RB Justin Forsett
RB Arian Foster
WR Andre Johnson
CB Johnathan Joseph
C Chris Myers
QB Matt Schaub
DE J.J. Watt
Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier Conference Call
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson Conference Call
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on which players were not at practice) "As far as practice, the only guy who did not practice was (CB) Alan Ball, he stayed in the training room. But (OLB) Brooks (Reed) was back to work. And we were pretty light today. He was fine at practice. We'll know more about him tomorrow as we push the tempo of what we're doing. But everybody was out there."
(on if there is a shot for OLB Brooks Reed to play this Sunday) "I think there's a good shot. It's going to depend on how he comes out. He probably actually worked a little harder than anybody today, just to kind of test it a little bit. And then tomorrow is our work day, so we'll see how he comes out of that. We're working toward him being available and him being a part of this game. It's kind of been our goal ever since this happened. Hopefully we're at the end of the week feeling good about it and he's ready to play."
(on RB Adrian Peterson's play) "Yeah, I tell you, he's just phenomenal. So hard to tackle. When they're right, it makes it very difficult there. But even when you may have a guy free or something he's very difficult to tackle. That's something that we didn't do well last week, we didn't tackle well, especially in a couple holes. We're going to have to tackle. We're going to have to team tackle, all that stuff. It's going to be the biggest challenge we've had around here in a while. The thing that's really difficult is I think we've been playing teams that are a lot different. We've been playing teams that spread us out, throw the ball, that's kind of been the way we've been attacked in the last four or five weeks or maybe even longer than that. And now all of a sudden we have to line up and tackle the best in football. We have our work cut out for us."
(on RB Adrian Peterson coming back from his ACL injury) "It's incredible. I think I said the other day, I remember when he came out and had the shoulder issue and there was question would his shoulder hold up, that was never a problem. Then he goes and has this knee issue and what he's done coming off of a knee, I don't know if it's ever been done. He's not human in a lot of ways, he's proven that each and every week."
(on DE J.J. Watt going head-to-head with RB Adrian Peterson) "You know I haven't thought about that, but you're right, two players on each side of the ball that have been very dominant across the course of this season. It's a big challenge for both of them. We're trying to stay focused on the task at hand. Obviously we have a big, big game for us and as I said before, I think it's the most physical football team we've played all year long. Trying to get back to work today and have another good week. We had an excellent week last week and we're off to a good start this week."
(on DE J.J. Watt getting Defensive Player of the Week) "Boy, I tell you what, whatever awards there are for a week, he should get them. What he did last week, he had 10-plus tackles, the sacks, caused a turnover. There's not enough words to describe the type of season he's having. I think in due time everybody else will make their statement on that toward the end of the season and what they think. But he's been exceptional and for a second-year player this is exciting. Hopefully he's here doing it a long, long time."
(on the balance of the Texans' offense) "We want to be balanced, so, like the other day, I like the way we played. We ran for 180 and threw for 260. That's where we want to be. When we're doing those type of things, we're usually staying on the field and helping our defense. (WR) Andre (Johnson) has been exceptional, (RB) Arian (Foster) has been there all year long. Arian is a workhorse-type of guy. We get (RB) Ben (Tate) back. I think that's a good thing now that he's kind of playing the way he's capable of playing. Hopefully we can continue to do those type of things. That's the key to our successful football team, being able to do some of those things and protecting the football along the way."
(on possibly having OLB Brooks Reed back) "It's very important because first off, he's got to get his confidence back going into January. That's extremely important. He gives us a three-man rotation again that we feel comfortable about. Not that we don't feel comfortable with (OLB Bryan) Braman, but he just does so much on special teams. So it gets us back to – well I've give you a good example, when (NT Sean) Cody plays, you see how (DE) J.J. (Watt) and (DE) Antonio (Smith), how fresh they are. Now Brooks comes back and (OLB) Whitney (Mercilus) is able to rotate in there. We get more fresh once again and we just play better. Hopefully we're on the right track here and he holds up and is ready to go."
(on OLB Brooks Reed) "Yeah, he's a SAM linebacker, a line-of-scrimmage guy on the tight end, that's what he does best. Yeah, that can help us. But at the same time, he's not going to go from 0 to 70. We can't do that. So (OLB) Connor (Barwin) still has to play the SAM position and (OLB) Whitney (Mercilus) the WILL and Connor can swing. But just playing all three should make us better."
(on OLB Connor Barwin moving to the strong side) "Yeah, I think that's a change. It's a hell of a change in scheme and what you're doing. All of a sudden you become much more of a dropper than a pass rusher in a lot of situations. But he' very unselfish, did his job, and I know it's been an adjustment and he's played very hard. We get (OLB) Brooks (Reed) he can go back to his comfort zone coming off the edge. Hopefully we all hold up and that does happen."
(on having RT Derek Newton back) "Yeah, that's important. You can tell. (RT Derek) Newton played I think something like 40-something plays. We're still trying not to give him too much. I think it made (T) Ryan (Harris) a better player. Ryan played about 20, 22 snaps. Ryan was more consistent to me, so getting Derek back was big. He worked really, really hard to get back. He actually came back probably about a week before we thought he would."
(on tackling in practice) "Yeah, you're pretty much down to hitting sleds and dummies. You can't go out there and beat on each other with the number of players that you have and the wear and tear on players' bodies. It's just attention to detail. If we have one guy tackling him every play, we're in trouble. It's going to have to be a group effort, we're going to have to do it as a team."
(on G Brandon Brooks getting more play time) "Yeah, he's taken two steps forward. Two weeks ago he played a little bit. He played more this past game. He played he best. He's going to play more this week. He's turning in the right direction. The biggest thing is he's comfortable with what we're doing. Some of the mistakes have left him. And if he does that, it's going to only make us better. So he's working his way to more play time."
(on the advantage of getting experience to the younger offensive linemen) "I don't know if there's an advantage, I just think that's where we're at this year. We were going to be young on the right side. We were trying to see players develop and take things over, not give them anything. At the same time, stay fresh. I think through the course of the year, (Offensive Line Coach) John (Benton) has been able to work it out. We've had some injuries at right guard, at right tackle, but John has found a way to work it out. They're going to all contribute."
(on Minnesota's defensive front) "I think it could be as good as any we've played. They're very physical. Of course (DE Jared) Allen is a great pass rusher. The thing is, they're going to give us a big problem inside. Those two guys inside push the pocket very well. They don't give up a lot of big plays so they're going to make us really work for what they do. And we better get rid of these penalties because it will make it harder on ourselves."
(on Minnesota's interior defensive linemen) "They push the pocket really good, both. Trying to run your zone schemes and cut them off makes it tough, but they push when (DE Jared) Allen is up the field and those two guys pushing the pocket makes it difficult."
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
(on distributing the ball on offense) "It makes the defense defend a lot. They put an extra guy down in the box to stop the run. We think we have the people to throw it well and a quarterback that distributes it well. They play back, we think we can do enough offensively running the ball with a two shell safety or whatever, quarters, that we can find some holes and then certainly a lot of our big chunks come off our play pass and our movement game, which is off the running game. In any given day you're not sure what kind of weather, certainly here we're okay in a controlled environment, but somewhere else we may have to run it. We may have to throw it. It helps us I think."
(on if he thinks he's blessed to work with guys like WR Andre Johnson and RB Arian Foster) "Each and every day I'm blessed to be at this situation and working for this organization, yes. We have a great organization. We have great players. It's fun to work with guys and for guys in this building."
(on if he thinks the coaches' playoff experiences helps them at this time of year) "More for your routine, I think more than anything. Certainly the fans help a lot for noise in certain situations, but good teams will win on the road or at home. I've been on a good team that's won on the road. I've been on a good team that couldn't handle the road. It all comes down to character and the players and making plays anyway. I think the routine, it helps you to be at home because we're in that kind of mode and that routine and certainly our fans, the noise will help you in the critical situations, short yardage, certainly in the red zone and the goal line."
(on if players ever ask him about his playoff experiences) "Occasionally, in the smaller groups, which I tend to be with the quarterbacks, we've talked a little bit about that. I've shared, obviously, with the entire offense, some of the things that I think it's important in these situations you know, playoffs. The speed of the game, it's as big a jump from preseason to regular season for the playoffs from regular season to playoffs. It's that big a jump. They're doing it the right way. I think our players are really doing it, study it, focus, when we get to those critical situations."
(on what's impressed him about WR DeVier Posey) "I think with (WR) DeVier (Posey) he's just stuck to it. When you get caught in a situation where you don't have much and all you're getting is practice. You're on the inactives. You can have a tendency of not trying to work at it and get better and just do your job, but he really has worked at his craft. We can see the progression through practice and that's where we've gotten to the point where we see a lot of explosion. We see a lot of things that he could help us with and give him some chances out on the field and when he responds heck you give him more."
(on how much WR Andre Johnson's relationship with WR DeVier Posey helps him) "(WR) Andre (Johnson) leads very well by example because he works so doggone hard. I couldn't tell you about their relationship. Both of them really don't' talk very much in my meetings, so I couldn't tell you about that, but I'm sure that entire group really, really is a hard working group. They all pull for each. They're always working hard together."
(on what he liked most about the final drive on Sunday) "I think our tempo was great. I think everybody took it upon themselves to do their job. Technique was tremendous. I think it was a huge step obviously from the first half to the second half. I think everybody just said 'Look I'm going to do my thing and I'm going to get it done right.' Our tempo, and very aggressive with what we're trying to do, which that's the way you play. You don't counter parts. You be the aggressor. I think that was the biggest part, running the ball, and really doing the things that we're supposed to do."
(on Air Force Academy Head Coach Troy Calhoun) "He really didn't need to develop very much. We had him on there, but he'd done a lot before he got to Denver. He was a coordinator at various schools. Wake (Forest) being one of them, and very intelligent guy. He worked on the defensive side and had a wealth of knowledge, talked football, great guy, great family guy. You knew that at some point in time he was going to be a head coach wherever it worked out for him and certainly Air Force is a perfect fit for him. He knows cadets. He knows the school, having been there. He knows the whole operation and like I said it was just a matter of time for Troy on how it would work out. It's a great situation and it couldn't happen to a better guy."
LT Duane Brown
(on how important it is for the Texans to run the ball effectively) "It means a lot. When you're not one-dimensional, teams can't really get a read on what you're trying to do. For us, it all starts with the run game. We're able to run the ball well, get teams keying on that, and it opens up a whole lot for our offense; and if you're able to do both, stay balanced throughout the whole game, it opens up our whole playbook."
(on how big of a luxury is it to have RB Arian Foster and WR Andre Johnson) "It's fun to watch. Me being a lineman, I just try to open up holes for Arian and protect (QB) Matt (Schaub) to get the ball to 80 (WR Andre Johnson). And having both those guys healthy, having both of them playing at a high level, it means a whole lot for our offense, it means a lot for our team. Teams are puzzled; they don't know who to stop, if they want to put eight in the box (or) if they want to double-team Dre. It's so much that you have to focus on. It opens up things for them as well as for our other weapons on offense."
(on if Minnesota is more physical than the other teams the Texans have played this year) "I don't think they're more physical. I think they're extremely talented and also physical. So when you add those two, you get a great front four, a great front seven. It really does a lot for their defense. They have a couple of Pro Bowl players up front and those guys really feed off of each other, so you definitely have to match their physicality and their intensity early to have a great chance of being successful against them. Just watching film, some teams have and some teams haven't, and those that haven't had a long day."
(on the possibility of getting home field advantage in the playoffs) "You can't ask for anything more than that. It's what we've been playing for all year, and to put ourselves in this position, we're extremely proud of it and we know what's at stake. Guys are approaching the week just like that. Knowing how much to plan for, to have the playoffs run through Houston for the first time in franchise history. It means a lot to us. You don't need more incentive than that."
NT Shaun Cody
(on the offensive line receiving Segways and what the defensive line got) "Well, we got a gift from one of our linebackers. It's not a Segway and it doesn't have wheels. You put them on your feet. It's not fair is what it is. There is an injustice here, once again in this locker room."
(on how to stop Vikings RB Adrian Peterson) "Just got to get a lot of guys there, he's a great back. You leave a guy one-on-one on him, they don't have much of a chance so you've got to get a lot of hats there to bring him down."
(on not wanting Vikings RB Adrian Peterson to break the rushing record on Sunday) "To break the record he needs 300 yards. That would be a really bad day."
RB Justin Forsett
(on possibly having home field advantage in the playoffs) "It's huge. Anytime you can play at home, it's hard to win on the road in this league. To be at home and to be able to have those games that really matter, really count in January, have it here it's tremendous."
(on watching RB Adrian Peterson on the other side) "It's just impressive to see. You're a running back. You take a look at the best backs out there. It's amazing. This guy is doing some things that's never been done before. I'm excited that I'm here seeing it like those guys back in the day were saying about Sweetness (Walter Payton) and those guys doing some incredible things, Barry Sanders. This guy's has been in that range, that type of athlete."
(on if he gets the same feeling when he watches RB Arian Foster sometimes) "Yeah, definitely. (RB) Arian (Foster) does some amazing things. A guy his size with that speed, that vision, that patience, those type of athletes, those type of running backs only come around so much."
(on how excited will RB Arian Foster be for Sunday's game) "Definitely, I think he's one of those guys that the game comes to him. This game is special because we've got a lot of things on the line for the team. I think he's going to step up to the plate, his huge game last week and I think he's going to keep it rolling all the way to the playoffs."
RB Arian Foster
(on purchasing Segways for the offensive linemen) "I just got everybody a Segway. I feel like all of them big hogs up front can enjoy the joy that I get from riding my Segway."
(on what made him decide to buy the Segways) "Well, anytime I give a gift I always try to give somebody something thoughtful. A couple of guys like (C) Chris Myers and (T Duane Brown) D-Brown and (G) Wade Smith, they're always getting on me about riding my Segway and, 'You can't walk. You're too good to walk.' I was like, 'No, man. I would just rather ride wheels.' I saw a little jealous in their eyes when they were talking about me, so I figured I'd get all the linemen a gift."
(on if there was any hesitation giving the offensive linemen Segways) "No man, they're professional athletes. Sometimes they're like polar bears on ice, but they should be fine. You can't go that fast on it so you may get a scrape if you fall. I don't think they're going to fall. They'll be alright."
(on how they responded) "They were very thankful, very grateful."
(on what the offensive line means to him) "I can't do anything without them. If there is no them, there is no me. That's what a team is all about. It's just my way of giving back to the big fellas up front."
(on Vikings RB Adrian Peterson calling him smooth) "I appreciate it. He knows how I feel about him. I feel like he is one of the best to play the game. He's showing that this year and he's going to continue to show it, hopefully not this week, but he's a great back."
(on getting a chance to go against an elite back like Vikings RB Adrian Peterson) "It's a special moment. I feel like I'm one of the better backs in the NFL and I feel like he is too. Anytime you can get two backs of that caliber on the same field at the same time, I feel like it's a nice little gift for the fans so hopefully we can put on a show."
(on how great it is to run the play action) "(WR Andre Johnson) Dre has been hurt the last couple years so we kind of missed that, but you see exactly how dangerous he could be when he's healthy. He showed it last year in the playoffs. In my opinion, he's a Half of Famer and he's going to continue to put up big performances for us because that's what he does."
(on possibly earning home field advantage) "It means a lot to have that opportunity, but there are always teams that clinch home field and don't make it to the Super Bowl. It would be a great feat. It would be a goal of ours that we reached, but at the end of the day it doesn't mean that much."
(on if it's a lesson to learn that five of the last seven Super Bowl winners didn't have a bye) "I don't like stats, man. I don't like stats. I beat the odds so I don't worry about the odds. It don't make me do nothing. I'm just playing with you. I don't like stats or statistics or nine of the last, none of that really matters because I wasn't playing on any of those teams and none of my teammates were either, so we don't really pay attention to that."
(on knowing the importance of and taking each game seriously) "I think that's what we're coached to do anyway. We're coached to take it game by game and that's what we've done since we've been here. I think that starts with our leadership up top and spreads out through the entire locker room."
(on the offensive line being motivated this week to help him have a better game than Vikings RB Adrian Peterson) "It just shows you how close we are as a unit. I appreciate them for wanting me to have that stage. We're together on this, so my stage is their stage, so hopefully we can put on a show."
(on LT Duane Brown saying he's going to having a great game after buying the line Segways) "I hope so. That's not why I did it."
(on the business-like attitude in the locker room after clinching the division) "I think last year we were just kind of elated to get that monkey off your back. We have come a long way in this organization. I'm very proud to be a part of that. We want to continue it, but along with continue it is not coming to expect things like this but knowing that your work is the reward of things like this, to not get too up or too down, to just keep a nice, steady, even business manner."
(on if he'll trade jerseys with Vikings RB Adrian Peterson after the game) "I already traded with him in the preseason. I might go after (DE) Jared Allen if he's willing. I'm a fan of his too. If he wants to."
(on what he likes about Vikings DE Jared Allen) "He's one of the best pass rushers the game has seen. You look at his stats, I think he's in the top 20 all-time with sacks and he's like one of the youngest to do it. What is he 30 years old? Monster. If he's willing, it'd be my honor."
WR Andre Johnson
(on playing to secure home-field advantage in the playoffs) "It means a lot. That's one of our team goals we set at the beginning of the season. We're going to go out and try to get that accomplished on Sunday. It's better to have it done Sunday than try to do it the following week. We're going to try to get it done Sunday."
(on if RB Arian Foster's gift to the offensive line puts pressure on him to get a gift) "I don't know. I've never gotten the o-line a gift. It was always the running backs, the running back and the o-line. Maybe there's something I can think of, hopefully."
(on getting his own Segway) "Yeah, I got myself one. Got one for myself so when my daughter is riding her bike, I don't have to use my legs too much to ride alongside her. That's why I have one."
(on the locker room being more hazardous with the offensive linemen on Segways) "I told them that let's just wait until the season is over and they can learn how to ride them rather than having an accident. But they're pretty excited about it. I'm pretty sure they'll have fun with them."
(on the balance of the Texans' offense and using the play-action) "When we're able to run the ball well, it just opens up everything else. It's always been like that since (Head) Coach (Gary) Kubiak has been here. When they brought in this style of offense, whenever the run game is going, it just opens up everything else. Sometimes you may run the ball and you may not hit those big runs like you want to at first, but you may hit a few passes and you see the run game open up and then everything else becomes kind of easy. I think that's the biggest thing for us is just getting our run game going. When we do that, we tend to win a lot of games and it just opens everything else up."
(on if this is the most success he's seen on both sides of a team he's been on) "I would probably say so. It's just something we harp on. It's stressed that we have to get our run game going. We have three good backs and any one of those guys is able to come in there and take the ball the distance. Whenever we're able to get those guys going, we're expecting to come out on top."
(on being able to secure home-field advantage this week) "That would be big. Home-field advantage and get a bye in the first round, it's something (that) you put yourself in a great position to get a chance to accomplish an ultimate goal – a team goal – at the end of the season. We haven't made it to that point yet. We're very close. We know that we're one win away and we just have to have the lock-in like we usually have, like we did last week; keep that focus and go out and play ball the way we want to play."
(on RB Adrian Peterson's performance this year after his ACL injury last season) "I talked to him a few times in the offseason on the phone to just ask him how he was doing. He was always in good spirits. When we played in the preseason, that was the last time I had talked to him and I was just like, 'How are you feeling? How is the leg feeling?' And he looked at me and said, 'Give me three or four games and I'll be back to myself.' I was like, 'Okay.' But coming off of an ACL (injury), you wouldn't think that he would…what he has done, coming off that injury, it's amazing. It just shows a lot about dedication, and he was very confident about it when he said it. He was just like, 'Give me about three or four games and I'll be back to myself.' It's amazing what he's done."
(on having RB Arian Foster and RB Adrian Peterson on the same field) "This is going to be a great game. You have two great backs. They say when you have other backs, when you're a great back and you're going against another great back, guys say you tend not to worry about how many yards they get or whatnot, but you always want to perform better than the other guy. It's going to be a great thing to see. But for us to do what we want to do, we have to get our running game going."
(on the play of WR DeVier Posey) "I think he's only going to continue to get better and better. As long as he keeps playing, he's going to continue to get better. Like I said, he's only going to get better for us."
(on how the development of the younger wide receivers helps him against defenses) "The thing about it is it's hard to play everybody. But at the same time, when you see those guys, (WR) Lestar (Jean) go out and make a play like he made at Tennessee or (WR) DeVier (Posey) make a play like he had. It doesn't let you just key on one guy. You can't just sit back and worry about one person. Those guys are going to go out and beat you also. I like to see them get in the game more and make more plays because it only helps us as a team. It doesn't just only help me as a player, it helps the whole team. The more weapons you have, the better you are on offense."
(on being on the Texans when they were 2-14 and no having a shot to go 14-2) "I always said to the guys, (WR) DeVier (Posey) and (WR) Lestar (Jean), those guys ask me about that and I always tell them 2-14 is something you never want to experience. Those were some rough days, hard days to come to work. This year has just been fun; it's been a lot of fun. It's probably the most fun I've had since I've been in the NFL. And I'm just enjoying it, I'm enjoying every moment of it. Even when you're here for days of practice, it's a lot of fun. Guys are just hanging out, joking around. But you know at the same time, we know when it's time to be serious and time to get down to business. It's probably the funnest year I've had."
(on if he's seen a matchup like DE J.J. Watt and RB Adrian Peterson before) "Not that I can think of. You're talking about two heck of players. What J.J. has done this year, to me, I know a lot of times MVP awards go to quarterbacks and whatnot, and I'm not just saying this because he's on my team. I think what he's done is amazing, especially from his position. He's affected the game. Knocking down balls, what d-lineman had that many passes defended? To me he's the MVP of the league. Either him or AP (RB Adrian Peterson). Those two guys, what they've done this year, it's been amazing."
(on if he can make a case for DE J.J. Watt for MVP being an offensive player) "I think he has. He has a chance to break the sack record. He set a record for passes defended. Name another d-lineman that's done that. And he's only in his second year. Like I said, I don't have a problem with it. If I had a choice, it would be either him or AP. Those are my two guys."
(on what he thought of RB Arian Foster's gift to the offensive line) "I knew he was doing it. He told me about it a few weeks ago. He always tries to do something just to show them…do something for them around Christmas just to show his appreciation or whatnot. He told me a few weeks ago that he was going to get those."
(on having the kind of season he's having in this stage of his career) "I think a lot of people wrote me off. I'm not going to say any names. I think a lot of people just wrote me off with saying that I had lost a step and this and that. But I knew what I needed to do to get myself back to feeling to the way I'm feeling now."
(on if he used the criticism to motivate him) "No, I really didn't need it. I just knew I had to show people that I could still play this game. Like I said, people were saying that I lost a step and things like that and I knew that I hadn't. It was just the fact of battling through some injuries and stuff like that and I missed a lot of time. I knew once I got back to feeling like myself and everything feeling good that I could go out and put up the numbers. And I said that before the season started, I still felt like I could go up and put up big numbers in this league. And I'll continue doing it until I can't do it anymore."
(on how much home-field advantage matters in the post season) "No matter where you play, you still have to go out and win the game. But I think it helps because when your offense is on the field, it's not loud. When your defense is on the field it is loud. It kind of bothers the other team's offense. It always helps I think to have a little home-field advantage."
(on home-field advantage) "When you play at home, it's a familiar place. It's comfortable. Then going and playing on the road, even though you do play eight games on the road, eight games at home, It's a place you're familiar with and you're comfortable. The offensive line has to make calls, and a lot of times when you're on the road, the o-line can't hear each other even though they're close right there together, and sometimes you have false starts because they can't hear because of how loud the crowd is. I think it all plays a part."
(on playing for something very important against Minnesota) "Yeah, everybody knows that. We're very aware of where we're at as a team and what we need to do to get to where we want to be."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on playing against a team that runs the ball primarily) "I think it may be different from a standpoint of we're used to guys lining us up and throwing it 30, 40, 50 times a game. Some teams have to do that when you're behind and you're in trouble, sometimes you have to. If you let the team gain the lead, they can control the game and run the ball. But for us, it will just be one of those games."
(on facing a team who is close to making the playoffs) "I just think you look at some of the games you lost. They're still a good football team, 8-6 record. They lost some games earlier in the year to some teams right now who are at the top of the team standings. So you take that into perspective. They lost to Green Bay; they lost to Chicago. They're a good football team, offense and defense, so you can't count them out in any way. Of course (RB) Adrian Peterson has done what he's done and had a spectacular year. They still have some weapons over there in the offensive skill positions, in the wide outs, but their main focal point is Adrian Peterson."
(on how to tackle RB Adrian Peterson 1-on-1) "Just like anybody. I've been in this league with (RB) Jamal Lewis, (RB) Deuce McAlister, all of those guys. Of course he's a more explosive guy, but I'm just speaking of bigger backs. It's about getting down. You don't tackle for style points, you tackle to get them down. And that's not an option."
(on RB Adrian Peterson coming back from injury) "I wouldn't say miraculous, but I don't know the exact word for it, but it's amazing. It's amazing because he gives a lot of guys around this league hope. Guys go down with injuries each and every year, and to come back and be the top leading rusher, right on the brink of breaking the rushing record that has been there for 20, 25 years, it's amazing."
(on concentrating on wide receivers when you know RB Adrian Peterson can bust through the line) "No, you just have to be disciplined and do your job. If your job is to stop the run, stop the run. Of course, once the guy breaks through the line of scrimmage, he's fair for everyone. And then you come out of the responsibility from a coverage standpoint and you fit in where needed in the run game."
(on DE J.J. Watt facing up against RB Adrian Peterson) "It's football. Of course we've had a chance to watch our own this year and (RB) Arian Foster all my time being here. We have a chance this week to go up against one of those guys that is just like Arian, and having an outstanding year. And of course J.J., what he's done this year, playing the run and the pass. I think it will be a help for us with them getting penetration, things like that, making it a lot easier for the linebackers and the rest of the d-linemen."
(on if having RB Arian Foster has prepped the team for RB Adrian Peterson) "It's different. It's real different because here in practice we don't to get to go up against Arian as much, so for us it's about sitting up on the sideline and enjoying all of it. But this time we can't enjoy any of those long runs by Adrian Peterson at all. Secondary, you always have goals and things like that where you don't want to give up big runs over 25 yards and things like that. Like I said before, we're the last line of defense, so it's up to us to limit those big runs."
(on having DE J.J. Watt being close to breaking the NFL single-season sack record) "Yeah, absolutely. I think AP (RB Adrian Peterson) probably gets – well I wouldn't say more attention, because J.J. gets his fair amount of attention as well, but just coming off of the surgery with the torn ACL and things like that from last year and just bouncing back, I'm sure he'll get comeback player of the year. My thing from a standpoint is watching to see what he'll do with the torn ACL and coming back to be the top leading rusher. I don't think anyone is taking away anything from J.J., he's having one of those seasons you rarely see in a lifetime."
C Chris Myers
(on possibly earning home field advantage) "Obviously it's a huge goal. We've been taking step by step throughout the season to kind of build to where we're at right now. It's been one goal after another. We accomplished one last weekend. It's just getting a W and those implications with a W are going to be huge. We understand what's ahead of us and we understand what it's going to take to get there."
(on taking pride in RB Arian Foster having a big day against Vikings RB Adrian Peterson) "Anytime your offensive line has a challenge ahead of you, you want to be able to get your guys, especially with I think we've had an up and down year with consistent games. Before last week, we had about a month there were we weren't getting consistent yards as an offensive line and running backs. It's definitely a challenge and what he's been able to accomplish across from us, (RB) Adrian (Peterson), it's unbelievable what he's been able to do, hats off to him and what he's been able to accomplish this year and to his offensive line. He's not doing it by himself. We want to be able to do the same thing with (RB) Arian (Foster) and get him yards. That's what our whole offense is built upon, being able to establish and work play actions off that. Everything else falls into place."
(on the team's last drive against the Colts) "I don't want to say breakthrough. It's just more those types of things that you as an offense and as an offensive line want to be able to do at the end of the game. When you're up you want to be able to close games out. I think we had seven or eight, I forget how many runs in a row of positive runs at that. If we can keep doing that and build off of that, it's big."
(on having pride after that long of a drive) "It's not the first one we've ever done though. It's not the first time we've been able to close out a game around here. We hadn't been consistent the whole year, up and down, but we've done that around here before. You take pride in being able to do that. We did it this past week and plan on doing it some more."
QB Matt Schaub
(on how great it is to have RB Arian Foster and WR Andre Johnson to have a balanced offense) "That's what our offense is built on, is to be balanced. You look over the past few years and that's when we're playing our best. That's when we're playing our most efficient, is when we can run the football, be successful with that, couple that with our play action, our bootleg game, where we can take some shots down the field and be effective and keep our third downs manageable and then we're converting on those. That all leads to us scoring points."
(on the success of the play action plays) "It all looks the same, whether it be our run plays or when we run our play action game. When it all looks the same, the guys up front do a great job of selling those plays to make it look to the linebackers like a run. Then all we need is that split second to get down field, then the receivers obviously making the play."
(on how important home field would be in the playoffs) "It'd be huge. I think once you get to this point that's the goal of any team. You want to go ahead and take care of that because then you know you don't have to travel until the last game. To have it in the confines of Reliant Stadium for all the playoff games, that's just an advantage for us.
(on WR DeVier Posey's progression) "He's made a great progression. As a receiver in this offense it's tough to come in and play right away and be effective because we ask him to do so much, whether it be in the run or the passing game. It's been a learning process for him but he's really come along. He practices extremely well, works on his game, day in and day out. You're starting to see the reward for that and he's starting to get some action. He's making the most of it."
(on if he has confidence going to the young players) "A ton of confidence, when you see guys step to the plate when given an opportunity take advantage of it, the more weapons, the more hands on deck that we have ready to make this stretch run and then going to the postseason, the better off we'll be because that means we can have a lot of guys step up. They've already proven they can take care of business and handle their job so it's definitely encouraging."
(on the Vikings' defensive front) "They're a physical group, very stout against the run. They rush the passer real well. It seems like we've been saying that now for about four or five weeks against some of the teams that we've been playing, but that's just the nature of the business. This group is no different than the rest of them. They're really good. They're very physical. Their linebacking core has played a lot of football together so they're a veteran group that has seen a lot of looks."
(on if he's surprised by what WR Andre Johnson continues to do) "It really doesn't because I see it every day, experience it in practice, the offseason, watching him in the games. He just continues to go out there and produce. We need a big game from him he always seems to be there to do it. It doesn't surprise me. It's great to know that I can be a part of it."
(on RB Arian Foster purchasing the offensive linemen Segways and his gift) "I've already taken care of theirs. They'll be getting theirs on Friday so I'm not too concerned with what he got them. It's nice to see that, that he appreciates what the offensive linemen do because we all do. How they go is how we go as an offense. I just hope they don't feel too spoiled at the end of this thing. They deserve every bit of it. It's funny to see the looks on their faces all riding around. I just want them to be careful. There are too many people walking around, too many obstacles. I want to make sure they're safe."
DE J.J. Watt
(on Vikings RB Adrian Peterson) "(RB) Adrian Peterson is a very good running back. He's a hard runner, very skilled, and he's playing as good as anybody in the league this year."
(on how they slow down RB Adrian Peterson) "Tackle him. We need to just do what we do. We need to play our defense. We need to play sound defense. Execute our assignments and we'll be just fine."
(on if it's more challenging facing a run-first team this week) "I think we'll be prepared. Coach (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) is doing a great job putting a game plan together. We're preparing. We're very focused. We had a good practice today. I think we'll be just fine."
(on if it's hard to believe that RB Adrian Peterson is coming off an ACL injury) "He looks like a great running back to me. He's definitely playing at the top of his game. It doesn't look like he's slowed down whatsoever. If anything, it looks like he's gained a step, so he's an impressive player."
(on the sentiment that defensive players are not usually considered as MVP candidates) "I agree with what you're saying. I'll say that. I don't want to go any farther into that. Obviously, all the awards and everything are very cool. That's an award that obviously generally goes to an offensive player and I understand that, just like the Heisman, you know. You wish it could be appreciated more, but I'm just worried about winning a trophy. That's it."
(on Vikings RB Adrian Peterson saying he enjoys going against the best) "I think I obviously appreciate the compliment and I'm looking forward to playing against him. He's a great football player. You always want to go against the best of the best. You always want to prove yourself against the best of the best. Anytime you have a chance to go up against somebody who's doing historic things like he might do this year, you look forward to that opportunity and you cherish it."
(on what the league thinks having a matchup like DE J.J. Watt vs. RB Adrian Peterson) "I imagine they're pretty happy about it. It's going to be a great matchup. Our two teams are good football teams. Obviously, we're excited our last home game here and want to put on a good show for our fans."
(on what it would mean to break the single-season sack record) "Obviously, it would mean a lot. It's definitely on the goal list, but there are much bigger goals out there. My goal has been to have one of the greatest seasons of all-time so that's something that I could do to help reach that goal, but number one, first and foremost, my goal is always to win a Super Bowl no matter what."
(on being named AFC Defensive Player of the Week) "It's an honor always. It's always an honor to be rewarded for your hard work. As always, it's a credit to my teammates and coaches. I appreciate them, everything they do. I know I need to give (ILB) Bradie James a lot of credit because there is sometimes out there on the field where I'm freelancing a little bit and he makes me right. He covers up what I do. I really appreciate him and I really appreciate all the guys. I wouldn't be who I am without my teammates."
(on what ILB Bradie James does specifically to help him out) "You'll have to ask (ILB) Bradie (James) about that. He covers me up a lot. He allows me to do some things that I wouldn't be able to do if I didn't have a veteran guy behind me."
(on the attention he has received this season) "It's crazy. It's hard to comprehend. It's crazy. It's very cool. I'm obviously having a lot of fun. I'm really enjoying myself. The number one people I'm always trying to earn respect from are my teammates and my coaches and my peers around the league. The media will always have their opinions. The media will always have their bias and everything, but if you can gain the respect of your teammates and coaches that's the number one important thing."
(on playing in front of the home crowd) "Playing in front of our home crowd is a big deal. Our crowd is great. I love these fans. They give us such an advantage. I know one thing if we win everything takes care of itself so we just need to go out there and play good football and win."
(on if he senses confusion from opposing offenses sometimes because of the crowd noise) "Yeah, crowd noise makes a big difference."
(on added emphasis to tackling this week) "We emphasize it every week, but with a guy like this who has the ability to break tackles so impressively, you obviously have to really focus on it and lock in on it, just need to wrap up. This goes back to fifth grade, basic fundamentals, wrap up and tackle, get your head across."
(on having OLB Brooks Reed back at practice) "It was good to have (OLB) Brooks (Reed) at practice. It was really nice to see him back out there, good to see him healthy and looking forward to him contributing again."
Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier Conference Call
(on the importance of this game for the Minnesota Vikings) "This game is keeping our playoff hopes alive and is the next game on our schedule. That itself makes it extremely important."
(on his relationship with Houston Head Coach Gary Kubiak) "Well I have a lot of respect for Gary. I've known him for a long time, going back to our playing days. Just to see what he's done there in Houston, I'm very, very pleased. He and his family and the rest of his staff; and of course with his son and my son being at Rice, we get a chance to sit in the stands and mingle at the Spring Game and so on. It's a good relationship and I'm just happy for what he's done."
(on RB Adrian Peterson coming back from a serious injury) It's just amazing to watch. An ACL injury at any position at this stage can be a career ending injury. To see Adrian come back after a year removed and to play the way he's playing – not just being able to come back but to be the best at the position is just, it's amazing to watch and it's fun to watch."
(on when he knew RB Adrian Peterson was going to not only be back, but be dominant) "Well, going back to that first ballgame against Jacksonville, the way he played in that game when you consider he hadn't any real contact in the preseason. We held him out of the preseason – we wanted to kind of let him develop as the year went on. But the way he played in that game, I was like, 'Wow.' I couldn't have imagined that he got the number of carries that he did and ran the way he ran. I knew that that was something different, but I couldn't have predicted that he would be at 1,800 yards, even after that game. But I just knew that it wasn't one of those things where most guys, the second year is when they really usually come back and have the form that they had before. Something was different. He was ahead of schedule in a lot of ways."
(on if there was any question if RB Adrian Peterson would be ready to play the first game) "We talked about that in length. We weren't sure if he would be. We were planning on playing him in our third preseason game so he could get a feel for where he was and we could get a feel for where he was. But the more that we watched him in practice we realized that he was much further along than thought, and once we took him off of the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list and let him practice with his teammates, he was just much further ahead than any of us thought, although he would always tell me that he was ready to go. He told me he was ready to go the first day we reported to training camp. So we were going to be cautious, and once we let him get out there and start banging a little bit – it was just amazing to see."
(on RB Adrian Peterson's rehab work in Houston) "He did so much of his work here in Minnesota with (Head Athletic Trainer) Eric Sugarman, our trainer. And then the time he was in Houston, when he was away with Russ (Paine, a physical therapist at the Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine Institute), I mean the combination of the two really helped him tremendously. Hats off to all the people that were involved in his rehab. But with Adrian, his determination, his work ethics, his genetics; just amazing."
(on RB Adrian Peterson being a comeback player of the year and MVP candidate) "I know there are some other guys that are coming back from major injuries and guys that are having great seasons, but an ACL injury for a running back – you guys have been around sports a long time as well; you don't see what we're seeing. It's not like we have a lot of things around him. We have an offensive line that is doing a great job, but this is a new offensive line for the most part. We have a new left tackle, a new left guard, a returning center, a new right guard, a returning right tackle and a new fullback. For Adrian to be doing what he's doing with the pieces around him, he's comeback player, MVP for sure."
(on Houston DE J.J. Watt) "He's a special player, now. He's special and so young to be doing what he's doing. I don't know if there are many guys that are dominating games the way he is dominating games, whether it be pass rush or playing the run or batting balls down. He's very very impressive – very impressive."
(on how he would describe Houston DE J.J. Watt) "If there were ever some (terms) that would describe a great player, he deserves them because he's a great player. He's dominant. He's going to have a long career in this league staying healthy, a great career. Excellent job. I'm sure (Houston Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) is ecstatic having a guy like that."
(on what jumps out at him about the Texans defense) "You go through some of those moments some times in our league, but they're a very good defense. They've played so many good games throughout the season. Their ability to be able to stop the run and cover people. They're a good defense. What they do, points-wise, is so impressive to me. They don't give up a lot of points. They make you work for everything you get. We'll have our hands full trying to score on that defense."
(on if RB Adrian Peterson's pursuit of the rushing record overshadows team goals) "If you're Adrian Peterson and you're coming back from the type of injury he had and you're this close to breaking a record that many people thought wouldn't be broken, I can see why that's newsworthy, so I understand it. But at the same time, as a team, we have a team goal that we want to get accomplished and Adrian wants the same thing that we all want."
(on if the Vikings have exceeded expectations) "If you had talked to me back in the spring and watching our guys practice and show up in this building and prepare the way they did, I'm not surprised where we are. I really believed that we were going to have a chance to win this division. We're not going to win this division – Green Bay clinched it a week ago – but I have never looked at us as a team that couldn't be in this position right now to where if we win these two games, we have a very good chance of being a playoff team."
(on receiving notoriety as a coach for the team's progress) "I always believe it's about your players and your staff, and we have a very good staff. I have some players who really believe in what we're trying to get done. The fact that they showed up the way they did when we opened up for business on April 23, that's what makes me proud of our football team. When you consider we had no offseason the year before and to get 95 percent participation throughout the offseason, that's what makes me proud of our guys, because I knew that that would propel us to a good football season and that's exactly what has happened."
(on Houston LT Duane Brown's play this season) "If I was an AFC coach, I would be voting for him. He's a good player. He's impressive. I like his game a lot. I don't know if he gets enough recognition, but those 20 sacks, he has a lot to do with the fact that that quarterback doesn't get hit very often. He's a very good player."
(on the matchup between Houston DE J.J. Watt and Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson) "I can't recall two that are so close to breaking records that are about to face one another. I'm sure it may have happened before, but J.J. is on the verge of breaking a record that seemed out of reach for a long time, and now Adrian is on the verge of breaking a record that seemed out of reach. It's great for the game, as you mentioned. But the most important thing for me and everybody in our organization is to figure out a way to win this game, and I'm sure that means finding a way to block J.J. Watt."
(on if defensive players should be considered for MVP) "You have to remember now, I played defense. Defensive players should be considered without question. A guy like (DE) J.J. (Watt) having the impact that he's having on a team that's already won the division and a Super Bowl contender. Yeah, defensive players should be considered."
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson Conference Call
(on what it means to return and play a game Texas) "It's always good to come back home to Texas. I live there during the offseason. I've got family there and I really grinded hard this offseason to get back down there in the Houston heat. Just to come back there and be playing a great team and playing in that beautiful stadium, it's going to mean a lot, because I'm going to have a lot of family there, (and) just the position we're in right now. It'll be fun."
(on what Memorial Herrmann Sports Medicine Institute physical therapist Russ Paine meant to him during his rehabilitation) "Russ meant a lot to me, really helped encourage me, really pushed me and kept me in my place at a time when I really wanted to do more. He really meant a lot during the process. He's one of the guys I have to credit for helping me recover the way I did."
(on how critical the work he did with Memorial Herrmann Sports Medicine Institute physical therapist Russ Paine was to his comeback) "It was vital. It was very important, the things I was able to do with him. Just him pushing me and understanding my mindset, it was something that he had to adjust to, taking in the situation and not really wanting to bump heads with the organization here or get a bad rep if something was to happen. He was able to adjust and understand that, hey, I will recover faster than normal. He kind of opened up and let me do a lot of things that I'm sure most guys wouldn't allow."
(on at what point he realized he would be alright and be himself after his injury) "To be honest with you, I had in my mind from the moment I got out of surgery that I was going to be back, that I was going to be good and be healthy. It was really all about just going through the process. That's pretty much it. I know that might sound crazy to you guys, but that was my mindset. Throughout that process there were times where I was kind of down and feeling bad, but ultimately, 98 percent of the time my mind was still stuck on what I told myself. That pushed me to continue to work hard. That's why I pushed to get back."
(on if he thought he could have this kind of season) "Yeah, I definitely envisioned myself having this type of season. People were asking me, just through the rehab and recovery, a lot of people doubted me; a lot of people said this or that. Just me hearing that, my response to people was, 'Hey I'm going to come back and I'm going to be better than I was before. I want to help my team win a championship. I want lead my team to win a championship.' So I came back, like I said, I'm better than I was before. We're in position to control our own destiny right now and to continue that push to the ultimate goal, so I can't complain. Things are working out pretty good so far."
(on if the team has surprised him this season) "No, not really, going into the offseason with a salty taste in our mouth, especially after the season we had, I've really seen guys grow up during the OTA's (Organized Team Activities) and got to credit (Minnesota General Manager) Rick Spielman for bringing some young guys in in our draft class to help us improve. We've got a young team here, but just coming and going back and forth from Minneapolis to Houston and being around these guys once I was here, I was able to see the guys work out, work out with these guys and I've seen the focus and the attitude around the organization and the players. That transitioned over to training camp, still seeing the same passion and commitment. Guys were really in sync with what we wanted to do, with how we wanted to turn this program around from last year. I'm not surprised at all with what we have accomplished so far."
(on when he moved to Houston) "I've been in Houston five years now, five (or) six years."
(on where he lives in the Houston area) "I actually I haven't got a house yet, but God willing I plan on getting a home there. I actually have a condo by the Galleria, in that area. My mom lives on the north side of Houston. I've got some family there, as well. I love Houston. I love Texas. You can have the country or you can have the city, and I love that. I love both. It's a good spot for me."
(on facing DE J.J. Watt this Sunday) "I don't know how to describe this guy. He's unbelievable to watch on tape. It's like watching, how do they scheme this guy? What kind of schemes do they use? There's no schemes; you line that guy up and he's dominating who's in front of him. Pretty much that's what I see when I watch this guy play. He's an amazing athlete, amazing player. I don't really know him as a person, but just my vibe that I get from him that he probably seems like a good person. He's definitely a football player. God created him to play this game. I'm just pumped. I love playing against the best. I can definitely say I will have the opportunity this weekend."
(on comparing Texans DE J.J. Watt and Vikings DE Jared Allen) "They're different guys. Jared's more of a wing, quick guy with power too. J.J. is that relentless, just muscle, this force coming at you nonstop every play; a young guy so he's got high energy and his engine is always rolling. I guess you can compare them a little bit, but not really. I feel like they're two different players."
(on if he thought things would change for him when WR Percy Harvin went down with an injury) "Yeah, I knew that defenses would definitely focus more on the run game without having Percy Harvin to worry about. That'll ease your mind. It would if I was a defensive coordinator. We knew that defenses would definitely come in and try to focus on stopping the run, but we're committed to doing what we do. That's what we do here. Offensively, we're committed as a group, so we're going to continue to do that.
(on his impressions of RB Arian Foster and the relationship he has with him) "Yeah, we exchanged jerseys during the preseason. We stay in contact, I have his information, so we text each other every now and then. He texted me when they were going out to Chicago asking me, 'Hey, what suit do you think I should wear, bro?' I gave him a couple pointers and whatnot, but he's a cool guy. I love the way he runs the ball. He's smooth; that's what I like about him. He's a smooth runner, kind of glides through the hole. You can tell he's out there giving it all he's got every week. With that type of desire and that passion, you can't help but like that."
(on his pursuit of the single-season rushing record going hand-in-hand with team goals) "I'm more focused on the win. I've always told myself that awards don't make me. It is good that I put myself in a position to be able to accomplish some awards, but ultimately it's about 'team.' It's about making the playoffs and we're in a position to do that now. To say that, God willing, if I continue to play the way I've been playing, I'll be able to continue what I told myself earlier and help lead my team to a championship. They kind of go hand-in-hand. If you rip off a 200, 300-yard game, you get a 'W,' you're doing what you told yourself that you were going to do in the offseason."
(on if he has had an opportunity to contact Eric Dickerson) "I know him, but I haven't had the opportunity to reach out to him. But I'm sure here in the future, we will sit down and have a conversation or a talk over the phone. We will definitely connect, I'm sure."
(on Memorial Herrmann Sports Medicine Institute physical therapist Russ Paine's comment that his production this year is ridiculous) "It says a lot, but if you ask him, 'How hard does this guy work when he was around you?' That will pretty much sum it up. Because he's seen how hard I grind and how I approached every exercise, every workout I did when I was in there building with him. He was just able to see that part, he wasn't able to see what I did when I was out on the field in Houston with (trainer) James Cooper, which he knows James Cooper. I don't know if he knows some of the stories or some of the stuff I was doing. I don't know, I'm just blessed, man, that's all I can say. God is good."
(on other players who were in rehab with him watching him in disbelief) "Yeah, I was on a mission. I really wasn't playing around. I was on a mission. It was something that was a process and I had to make those transitions from just only riding the stationary bike, to being able to jog on the treadmill, to starting to sprint on the treadmill, running a mile on level 10, level 11, nonstop. Those were some of the things I was doing. That's probably why the guys were looking surprised, seeing me doing something like that. But I was just focused and in tune and trying in every way to push myself."
(on what it would mean to surpass Eric Dickerson's NFL single-season rushing record) "It would mean a lot, it really would. Eric Dickerson was a guy that, to be honest with you, I loved his running style growing up and watching the highlights and seeing him run. In high school, I wore No. 29 because of Eric Dickerson and the only reason I got 28 is because they didn't have 29. To surpass that milestone that has been there for 28 years, it's a passion I had. I was always compared to Eric Dickerson being from Texas and his upright style of running or whatnot. It would mean a lot. He set a bar, something for running backs to chase and envision on breaking his record. It has inspired me to get there and break it. I appreciate him."
(on him running so well when most offenses are pass-first) "There are so many different comparisons you can make on how the NFL is now to how it was in the 80s and the 60s and the 40s, but I don't know. You have some backs, you hear about the (RB) Arian Fosters and the (RB) Chris Johnsons, you have guys like that; they're going to get their carries even though it has evolved into a passing game. Guys like that will get their touches. I guess you can put me in that same category."
(on if at some point you have to draw the line with the amount of RB carries) "No, not with me. I would rather tote the ball every snap. All day."