A day after completing a frustrating 3-13 season, Vikings players were back at Winter Park this morning for some final meetings and one last back-and-forth session with the local media. As players headed off into the offseason, they left behind a collection of candid thoughts on the season that was and what's now ahead. Here is a sampling of what the Vikings had to say ...

On the end of the season ...
"It's an exciting day. It really is. 2011-12 is over. It was miserable, record wise, so I'm glad it's over. We can start building for the future now. It's probably the most excited I've been about an offseason to see what direction we're going to do. I've got all the faith in the world in our management and ownership that they're going to make the right plays and we're going to be real competitive next year."

On what went wrong ...
""To me, I think the biggest thing was the way this season started, those first three games. The way we lost them sort of creates the negative momentum, the negative mentality. Winning and losing is a culture. I think when you create that early on, you create a bad culture about, in your mind, can we do this? Can we not do this? How do you overcome that? You overcome that by getting a few wins and getting that confidence back. We just weren't able to string that together and overcome all that. I'm certainly proud of the way we hung together. It's not easy to do that in the situation like this, the season we're having when people are frustrated with whether it be a position group or a coach. People can get frustrated becasue it's a long season and you're out there putting everything into it. I'm definitely proud of the fact we didn't get into that."

On how to file away a 3-13 seasons ...
"I tell you what, I have seen a lot in fifteen years. You know it’s one of those things where it’s a tough game to figure out. And when you see teams go on a long,long run like the Patriots have and the Packers are doing, the Saints, you definitely envy how good success is, because we have had good runs but a year like this certainly has you looking up at those teams and wanting some success sooner than later."

On why the Vikings showed so much fight to the end of the season ...
"I think that’s inside every person. I think you either are going to fight or you’re going to shut it down. It’s kind of the fight or flight reflex, I guess you would say. It’s one of those deals where you come into a season and when things go wrong, either guys are going to fold or they’re going to play hard. And I think for the most part, we had guys in this locker room that no matter what the situation was, we were going to fight. And hopefully we can sit here and look inside every person and say that nobody ran from the situation, nobody gave up. But in every locker room, I guess you have to say there were a couple of guys who didn’t. I don’t know who those guys are. But I know me personally, I fought every game as hard as I could. I know I can say that for probably 98 percent of the guys in this locker room. It’s just a matter of finding those few guys that maybe didn’t do what we needed them to do and get them off the team and bring in some guys who are going to fight with us."

On his emotions ...
"Relieved. Can finally close this book up and throw it in the trash."

[[[ Click here for Exit Interviews: Part Two ]]]

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