Safety Xavier McKinney
Q: (Head coach Brian Daboll) Dabs was telling us earlier, 'Hey (Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson) JJ's one thing but (Vikings tight end T.J.) Hockenson killed them,' in Dabs words. So, when you see that kind of challenge, they both fit your skillset, right?
A: Yeah, like he said, Hockenson is one of the best tight ends in the league and it showed last time we played him. He's really good. He's a really good tight end so we've just got to be prepared. I've got to be prepared to be able to have that matchup against him. I'm excited for it, it's going to be fun. So like I said, I'll be ready.
Q: What is special about Jefferson?
A: Well, I played him in college so I know all the things that he can do. He can single handedly take over a game, I've seen it, I've played against it before in college and I've seen it in the league a lot of times, everybody has. He's just a special route runner, catches a lot of crazy catches as y'all said before, and he's just a tough match up when he's going against anybody. You've got to make sure that you're on your p's and q's when you're facing him. It's going to be a challenge for us, but we'll be prepared and be ready.
Q: You've had experience with big games in college, what are you telling your teammates this week as one of the leaders to keep them from not getting too hyped up?
A: Well, I think we all kind of know what's at stake, so nobody really has to say anything. We've got some guys on this team that have been in the playoffs before, so they know kind of how it goes. A lot of us, we've played in big games, so we know kind of how it goes so we just try not to get too high, try not to be too low, but stay even keeled and just be ready for Sunday.
Q: Is that easier said than done though?
A: I don't think so. If you prepare the right way, if you stick to your routine, which we're doing, nothing is phasing us right now.
Q: There's an impression outside in some places that maybe you guys are kind of playing with house money, that the year's already been a success for you guys. Do you look at it that way or do you look at it like we're not done yet?
A: No, obviously when you get in the playoffs it's a new season. Anything can happen when you get in, and we're in, so we don't look at it as that. We see it as another game that we have to go in there and be 1-0. You've got to be 1-0 to get to the next round and if you don't then you're eliminated. We don't care about house money, I don't even know what that really is, but we're just going out there and playing and trying to get a win.
Q: We know you'll be back, do you envision (cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson) being out there with you on Sunday?
A: Oh yeah, he's going to be there (laughs). He's going to be there, for sure.
Q: When you watch the first game that you guys played against the Vikings, when Justin had the game that he did, when Hock had the game that he did, when you reviewed it yourself are you like, 'Man if I was out there, if Adoree' was out there, maybe it's different'? Those guys are still great players, they're still going to make plays but maybe not as many plays as they did?
A: They're going to make plays. Like I said, they're really good players, some of the best we have in this league, so they're going to make plays. Even when me and Adoree' are out there, they're going to make plays on Sunday, it is what it is. When you face another great player, you have to limit them, you can't really stop them all the way. They're going to make some catches that might be crazy, they're going to do some things that's like, 'Oh,' it's a part of the game. We know that as DB's, as a DB, that's a life of a DB. People are going to make catches, they're going to make some plays, but you've got to be able to bounce back and keep going. So, that's what we're looking to do and like I said, we're going to do what we can to limit them. But that's a part of it, that's a part of the game.
Q: I guess knowing that, knowing that these guys are some of the best in the league and they're going to make plays, when you're preparing for that is it sort of studying the film and deciphering where that moment is, where that's the big play that you need to stop? How do you prepare for that?
A: For us it's just being on the same page, it's not even necessarily what they do. They're going to do what they do, but we've got to do what we're going to do. The only thing that we can do as a defense and as a DB group is all be on the same page, know what we're doing in certain situations, and then we've just got to trust our technique and then go from there. They trust their technique, so we've got to trust ours. That's how we go into it.
Q: You've played in huge games in college but it's your first NFL playoff game, what's the anticipation like?
A: Really, I'm just trying to play my best game – we all are. Like I said, we know what's at stake, so I don't really get too high or get too low, I just know what's at stake. If you lose, you're gone and if you win you move on. I know that and that's pretty much all you need to know for this type of game.