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All kidding aside, Vikings still serious

  • November 12, 2007 - 9:10 PM

As discussion swirled of his players' commitment to the team, Vikings coach Brad Childress said he didn't notice players laughing and joking on the sideline near the end of Sunday's 34-0 loss to Green Bay.

"I didn't notice it and I can't tell what it was in reference to because my back is generally to the bench," Childress said Monday. "I wouldn't know [about it]."

In the waning moments Sunday, safety Dwight Smith had several of his teammates in stitches, at one point sprinting some 20 yards along the bench in reaction to a joke. Afterward, Smith said football "is just a job" and suggested fans take the outcome of games more seriously than players.

Monday, Childress was asked about Smith's comments.

"Yeah, well, it is their job," Childress said. "It's my job, so it's a big deal to me."

In the locker room Monday, players acknowledged they fell well short of Green Bay's intensity level but said it is too early to draw conclusions.

"We're still focused on the fact that there are seven more games left," receiver Bobby Wade said. "Not to take anything away from the other teams, but we feel they are games we can win. ... The morale on this team is only as good as the veteran players in this locker room, and they're pretty strong and resilient about the fact that we still have to go out and play."

Wade said it's too early to consider calling a players-only meeting.

"I don't think it's at that point where we need to be bringing it up, trying to rally or anything like that," he said. "I think it's just about working in practice on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, getting ready for Oakland."

The Vikings play the Raiders on Sunday at the Metrodome.

Cornerback Antoine Winfield did not comment in the locker room Monday, but in an interview on KFAN-1130, he said there are no secrets to what ails the team.

"This game is real simple," Winfield said. "You have to put certain players in position to make plays. If you're not doing that, you're going to get the result that we had [Sunday]. Thirty-four-0."

KEVIN SEIFERT

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