Injuries: "(G) Shawn Andrews and (DE) Victor (Abiamiri) are out. (CB) Asante (Samuel) did not practice today. He has a hip strain and we'll just see how he does here over the next couple days. (T) Jon Runyan did not practice today with a knee sprain. Everybody else practiced and did a good job."
* Opening remarks:*
"We look forward to the challenge of going up to Minneapolis and playing the Vikings. It's playoff caliber football, obviously. There are nothing but good teams in the playoffs. We realize that, the guys got in a good week of practice and it's important that we play well."
* On Samuel's hip strain:*
"We think he's going to be okay, but we'll see."
On when Samuel injured the hip: "It happened in practice yesterday."
* On why he thinks his teams often come out very confident to start the playoffs:*
"I don't know. I guess I'd have a hard time seeing a team, any of these teams in the playoffs, not being confident. That's how they got there. I don't know how to answer that without it sounding, in some way, conceited and that's not how this team is. It's important that they believe in themselves and the guys around them."
* On what he does as a coach to keep the team's focus going into the playoffs:*
"They understand that it's the playoffs. Everything's a little bit faster in the playoffs and you have to make sure that you bring your A-game every week or else you're not going to have a chance to continue on. There's not much that you have to say on that."
* On whether Samuel could play if the game were today:*
"Yeah, he possibly could."
On players like Samuel and FS Brian Dawkins and how important playmakers are in the playoffs:"I think it's important. I think it helps, for sure. But, it's also important that they prepare and do the right things up to that point. That's normally what those guys do. That's what they bring to the team. There is a certain urgency that takes place, you know it's single-elimination and so on. You have to prepare yourself the right way and those are the things that the guys who have been there bring to the table."
On whether this defense is playing as well as any he's ever taken into the playoffs: "They've been playing very well, yeah. I would probably say yes. On the other hand, I would say that we have a big challenge this week and it's important that we've prepared ourselves the right way and play well."
* On the change to 10/10/10 practices on Thursdays the past two weeks:*
"We've always done that on Christmas and New Years break. When and if it falls on this day, that's how we've gone about it."
* On whether he's at all concerned about the less practice time:*
On how the team prepares mentally for the playoffs: "I think you have to prepare yourself the right way as you go through the week; make sure you concentrate and get the details down of the gameplan and also of your opponent. There's a certain amount of film study that goes into it and practice time and concentration. You want to make sure that you have all of that covered."
* On Minnesota QB Tarvaris Jackson:*
"He's making very good decisions right now. He's got a couple things. He's a smart kid, he's mobile and he's got a big-time arm. That's not saying anything about the guys that he's throwing it to. He's got some pretty good guys out there that he's throwing it to. But, he is making better decisions now than when he did earlier in the year."
* On having the best pass play/sack ratio in team history (27.3 pass plays/sack) and what the biggest difference is between last year and this year, given nearly the same offensive linemen:*
"It's probably a combination of things. I think the offensive line has done well. I think the backs, tight ends, and wide receivers, when asked, have done a nice job of chipping. It's not one thing, it's, obviously, a group of things. I think (QB) Donovan's (McNabb) done a nice job of getting the ball out, and the receivers have done a nice job of getting open. There are a bunch of things that go into it. Then, I give a lot of credit to (offensive line coach) Juan (Castillo) for the schemes."
On bringing back the entire offensive line from 2007 and what he saw that gave him the confidence to do that:"When you do your post-season evaluation and, during the year, you have a pretty good idea where the problems lie. We just felt comfortable with the guys coming back that we had."
On having different starters than the beginning of the season at certain positions and whether that's normal for a team:"I think you have to, as you go through, make sure that you watch the maturity of the young players. See how and where they're going and try to be as real with that as you can. It's a team sport, so you want to make sure the chemistry's right and that everyone works there. I guess that's the challenge of it. There are some guys that have earned the right to be in there by their play when they were given opportunities. I've always tried to be straight with the guys on that."
On whether crowd noise changes how you relay signals and plays: "It depends. Not normally. If you're good at it and you practice it, then you should be able to function in a normal way. Now, to do that takes a lot of time and that's why we practice it. You won't go to a louder place, other than maybe Kansas City, than we are going to be at this weekend, so it's important that our guys focus in on it and do a good job."
On whether he has gone back to last year's game against the Vikings for footage of RB Adrian Peterson: "Oh yeah. We've looked at last year's, to answer you. He has a better understanding of the whole picture right now, the whole thing, whether it's defenses in the NFL, their offense, the guys in front of him that are blocking for him. He's a better football player than he was at that time, or has a better understanding of the game."
On whether it's important to get a quick start this week: "I think you're always striving for a quick start. That's what you're looking to do. If it doesn't happen, you're not going to just throw in the towel. To answer, you have to go play the game, and there's no time for emotional ups and downs and all that stuff. It's single elimination, everybody knows it. There are a select number of teams playing this weekend and we are fortunate enough to be one and better take advantage of the opportunity."