STATEMENT FROM TEAM PRESIDENT BILL POLIAN * *
"First of all, of a housekeeping nature, (OL Coach) Howard Mudd underwent knee surgery, which was needed to correct an ongoing and worsening condition. He's fine. He came through it. He'll be off the field for a couple of weeks. He's in contact and helping to conduct the meetings by teleconference and working on tape and game plans, etc. His presence will be missed for the next two weeks or so, but everything is fine both with the surgery and we were prepared to work through the difficulties of not having him in the building.
"The most important announcement is that (DT) Ed Johnson, last night in Hamilton County, was arrested between midnight and one a.m., and charged with speeding and possession of marijuana. Those charges have been filed, it is my understanding, and we are in the process right now of determining what course of action to take in respect to discipline. There will be discipline, the question is, 'What is it?' We want to gather all the facts to make sure that what we're doing is correct within the confines of the NFL rules, the CBA and our own particular club rules. I suspect that we'll have an announcement on that in the very near future. That's all I have at the moment."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY (opening comments)
"On those two points, we certainly want to wish Howard well and it's my understanding he's doing well. We look forward to getting him back. Until he gets back Pete Metzelaars, who assists with our line, is running the meetings and doing a great job. We'll be fine that way. Ed's situation, as Bill mentioned, we're still gathering the facts. When we get them all, we will make a decision and it'll be a very swift as to what the discipline is and we will go from there.
"As far as getting ready for the Vikings, a big challenge in and of itself. They are a very talented team watching them on tape. They have some things that really cause problems. They have a Pro-Bowl running back that really looks like I remember Walter Payton coming into the league. He's fast, strong, runs aggressively and really gives them an impact running the football. They have a quarterback who is, in my mind, a lot like Donovan McNabb when he came in. He's very athletic, makes things happen when the plays break down and a strong arm. They have a good, tough offense to defend because they can run with power and then they have all the west coast passing game.
"Defensively, they're much like we are, much like Chicago was. They have two really big tackles that are good players, Kevin Williams and Pat Williams. They're going to be a handful. They have the noise and that environment up there. We have to play a lot better than we played last week and that's our plan to go into practice and see if we can get ourselves groomed, get sharpened up and go up there and get ourselves a win."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY (on how Johnson's situation affects the lineup for Sunday)
"I don't really know. This came up today. Ed will not play this week, for sure, so we'll make some plans and figure out what we're going to do."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY (on if it's nice to have a strong three-WR package in the event TE-Dallas Clark is unable to play Sunday)
"We have a lot of different options. When Dallas got hurt in the game, we did go to our three-wide package and we're putting good players in the game. If that is the case, we'll adjust and go. If Dallas can't go, (TE) Tom Santi should be able to play and we'll still be able to work a lot of our different packages. (Offensive Coordinator) Tom Moore will do a good job adjusting and see what we want to do. I think right now we are going to plan on having Dallas out there and if he's not able to play, then we'll adjust."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY (on the play of TE-Gijon Robinson vs. Chicago)
"He did a pretty good job, overall. He blocked well at the point of attack. It was one of those games where they forced us to keep him in a lot in protection, so he didn't get out on a lot of pass routes. But, he did a good job pass protecting and did a very good job with point-of-attack blocking. For his first regular-season game, I thought he did a very good job."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY (on if Johnson's past experiences with the law will factor into his discipline)
"We will do what we always do. We'll look at the whole picture. We're going to try to gather all the facts and determine what the appropriate punishment is for what actually happened. We're still trying to research all of that and when we do we'll make a decision based on everything."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY (on if there is change in the AFC because of recent injuries)
"I don't think so. I think people can read into that and I think great teams overcome those types of things. It happens. Matter of fact, I think I remember it happening when Drew Bledsoe got hurt. There was a guy we didn't know a whole, whole lot about and most people were predicting doom and gloom for the Patriots at that time. They may have even been 0-2 at that time. It ended up, the guy they put in was pretty good. A lot of times that's what happens. I remember that with Trent Green and Kurt Warner (in St. Louis in 1999), and we had the same thing with (DT) Booger McFarland and Ed Johnson. I think that's the way it goes. One player, even as MVP-like as Tom Brady or as great a player as (San Diego LB-Shawne) Merriman, that's not going to be the destruction of those teams. They have a lot of good players."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY (on if the defense is set up more to prevent scoring at the expense of giving up third-down conversions)
"I've never been a big believer that the third-down defense, statistically, is any barometer on how you're playing. We try not to give up big plays, we try to get takeaways and limit the big plays that a team has. We didn't have any takeaways in the game against Chicago. They had a (50)-yard run on third down. They had a 25-yard pass on 3rd-and-1 that put them down to the 1-yard line. They had another 30-yard pass to (TE-Greg) Olsen on third down that put them in field-goal range. So, those three third downs, we didn't stop them, but we gave up 20-yard plus plays and that was the bad thing about that. That led to 17 points. If those third downs they had converted, but got five yards, it may be a different game. We have to limit the big plays and we have to take the ball away a little bit more."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY (on if it means a lot to return to Minnesota)
"It does, personally, to me. Obviously, for the team, it's more important that we go up there and get a win. But, anytime you go back as a competitor to where you played, where you coached, where you lived, it's always special and you want to go up there and do well."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY (on if DE-Dwight Freeney and QB-Peyton Manning returned from their injuries OK in the first game)
"Dwight was a little sore, but came back OK. I think he is set to practice today. Peyton didn't have too many problems and felt pretty good. I think the fact that they both got through their first big test and feel pretty good, that's a plus."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY (on if C-Jeff Saturday will practice Wednesday)
"I think Jeff is going to do some things. I don't know if he'll be full go, but he is going to practice."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY (on if there is a chance Saturday could play vs. Minnesota)
"There is. We'll make him earn (the job) back. We'll make him show us in practice that he's still able to play at that level."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY (on what made the team draft so many Cs in the draft)
"It really was the fact that they were the type of guys that we like. All three of them have played center and guard here. We knew we were going to lose one of our guards in free agency, which is what happened. So, it was a matter of just getting inside players that fit what we do and the fact that we liked all of them. It was a good deal for us and they're going to help us down the road, whether it's at guard or center."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY (on if he has any memories of being recruited to play at the University of Minnesota)
"I do, as a matter of fact. I remember Tom Moore calling me quite a bit on the phone. I remember seeing the no-huddle offense. Tom came and brought a video to my high school and showed me how it worked and how the quarterback was in control of things. That was 1973 and we're still doing a lot of the same things and the principles are the same. It was a great area. I kind of fell in love with the city and the campus. It was a great choice for me and I certainly don't look back with any regrets on it."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY (on what has made Vikings RB-Adrian Peterson so effective so early in his career)
"I really like the way he runs. He runs with an attitude. He has the skills and the quickness and speed and power. He runs like he wants to score on every play and he looks like he's upset if he doesn't score. It's kind of refreshing to watch. I haven't seen anybody, really since Walter (Payton), who ran like that, with that type of mentality. You couple that with the physical gifts he has, he looks like he enjoys the game."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY (on if one week is long enough to correct the offense)
"It needs to be. It better be, because we're going to have to play better and I think we will. I think we'll play a lot better. That's our goal going to work in practice is sharpening up and eliminating some of those things that were just a little bit off."