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Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 16

Opening statement:"We're getting toward the end of the week here. We've had three really good days of practice. We're pleased with where we're at. Obviously, we're playing a really good football team that presents a lot of challenges. We're excited to go play on Sunday."

On if T Jared Gaither will play on Sunday:"We're hopeful. We're hopeful that Jared will get there on Sunday. He's worked really hard. He hasn't been able to practice, but he's been through all the walk-throughs, he's been in all the meetings. He makes progress every day. Sometimes you get a little progress, and then it backs up a little bit. The neck is a little bit… We're not sure about [his status]. But if he wakes up on Sunday, and I think he's getting close, if he wakes up on Sunday, and he feels good, then we're going to play him. You've got to put your best guys out there. But I'll tell you, Marshal Yanda's done a nice job all week. He's been a starter here, so we're confident in him."

On his thoughts on LB Ray Lewis' fine for his hit on WR Chad Ochocinco:"I don't have any thoughts, really, other than I'm disappointed because you hate to see that. That's probably all I'd say."

On the reason for the fine being a hit and a kick, and if he was aware of that:"Yeah, I saw the play. It kind of was an inadvertent trip that happened. They saw it the way they saw it. But Ray… I'll say this about Ray Lewis: Ray Lewis is hardnosed, he's a tough player. He's a physical guy. Ray Lewis is also the greatest sportsman, maybe, that I've met. He plays good, clean football. I guarantee you that the shot on Ochocinco was inside the strike zone. And Ray, according to where he felt it was, he was shooting for inside the strike zone. It sure looked right there, and that's just… I want to stand behind Ray in that sense. We can't speak for the league and what they look at, and what they do or don't do. We respect it. I know Ray does, too. Ray Lewis is a good, clean football player who respects the rules and always will."

On if he supports Lewis' decision to appeal the fine:"I haven't discussed it with him, so I don't know. But we support him in whatever he decides to do on that."

On how the Vikings have used RB Chester Taylor:"I think Chester Taylor might be second or third in the league on third-down receptions. Brett Favre's always had a great feel for the checkdown. He had like a behind-the-back, between-the-legs checkdown against us in the opener a couple of years ago, Philadelphia-Green Bay. They weren't doing very well, and he had two checkdowns that were like Harlem Globetrotter checkdowns. (laughing) That's kind of what he does. He finds Chester in there, and he finds a way to get open, so that's a big part of their passing game."

On if having to practice indoors because they're playing in a dome on Sunday has been a plus because the weather has been bad:"We had plans to come inside anyway. That was part of the deal. With the weather, I guess it confirmed that. We have a good building in here, and it helps us."

On if he's noticed the team rallying around C Matt Birk this week, because they're playing his former team:"That probably depends on how it goes. We'll be, obviously, very supportive of Matt. Matt is part of our family, and he's part of the Minnesota family, too. We respect all that and understand how deep the roots are, but we'll be there for Matt. That's how we are with our guys – players and coaches. That's important to us as a team, and we'll have Matt's back."

On if he anticipates any action from the Ravens before the trade deadline:"It's so hard to anticipate activity. We work on a lot of things. I know Ozzie [Newsome] and Eric [DeCosta] and Vince [Newsome] and those guys turn over every stone in every way they can to try to make our team better. I'm sure they're looking at a lot of things right now. There are possibilities, but it's so hard to make a trade in the NFL, it seems like. You just don't see it very often. It's very rare. But we'll just have to see what happens."

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