Vikings want to keep their foot on the pedal

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 2, 2012 - 7:02 AM

The Vikings are pleased with their 3-1 start but are being cautious about what it means.

Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway shrugged, conscious of the dangers that come with rushing too far ahead. It was only 45 minutes after the Vikings had downed Detroit 20-13 on Sunday. And Greenway stood in the visiting locker room at Ford Field with his team's 3-1 start producing a contagious euphoria.

He was asked what it felt like to match last season's win total in just four weeks of action. But as one of the veteran leaders, Greenway knew to keep the excitement tempered and the drive percolating.

"Let's hope we don't lose 12 in a row, right?" he joked. "In all seriousness, though, we have to keep our foot on the gas pedal."

It's not that Greenway wants to poop the party. He is as thrilled as anyone that the Vikings, with a pair of convincing victories over San Francisco and Detroit, have obliterated much of the outsider pessimism that existed in the preseason.

But Greenway also knows the Vikings must retain a machete-sharp focus to sustain the momentum they have built through a surprising September.

"You're coming off a 3-13 season, it's fairly easy to look better than you were," Greenway said. "But I think as we all know, this thing can change in a hurry if you don't keep on doing what you're doing."

Think about it. Last year at this time, the Vikings were winless, annoyed and explaining themselves dizzy after a series of close losses.

Now? They are happily identifying reasons for an eye-catching turnaround.

Coach Leslie Frazier rewinds back to April -- the 23rd to be exact -- when the Vikings began their offseason conditioning program with strong attendance and a heavy buy-in. This was before organized team activities, before any minicamps, long before training camp.

The obvious hunger within the Winter Park walls convinced Frazier that a big 2012 jump could be made.

"When you're trying to flip the script and trying to get things changed and changing the culture a little bit, you need everybody participating," Frazier said. "Otherwise you're just talking to a small percentage of the team."

Back and forth

Yet while Frazier credits the players for investing throughout the offseason, the players reciprocate the love.

"We take on the identity of our coach," Percy Harvin said Monday. "His big thing is he wants to emphasize the small things. He says if you take care of the small things, the big things will happen ... Right now everybody's locked in, trying to get their assignments down to the T."

Simple as it may sound, Sunday's win in Detroit, like the one over the 49ers that preceded it, was made possible because the coaching staff devised a winning game plan and convinced the players to fully trust it.

Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer delivered the Xs and Os that sent Harvin on his way to a 105-yard touchdown on the opening kickoff.

Defensive coordinator Alan Williams schemed and succeeded in containing Lions receiver Calvin Johnson (five catches, 54 yards).

The superstars excelled -- Harvin scored a touchdown, Adrian Peterson rushed for 102 yards, Jared Allen had a sack.

And the supporting cast raised its game, too -- from the offensive line's determined effort to the constant alertness shown by safeties Harrison Smith and Jamarca Sanford to the four combined sacks delivered by Everson Griffen and Letroy Guion.

The carryover

So when a 20-13 win resulted, Frazier quickly reflected back to Friday's practice, one he said was "as good as any practice I've ever been around in my career in the NFL."

"Our guys," Frazier said, "they were on it."

For which several veterans, including Greenway and Kevin Williams, had a simple explanation.

"We didn't have such a good Thursday practice, for one," Williams said. "So we definitely wanted to come out strong. A lot of the older guys were like, 'Let's go out, let's lock it in today and have a better Friday than we did on Thursday.'

"Evidently it met the approval of Coach. And we got it done on Sunday."

At present, the confidence and enthusiasm are building rapidly. That tends to happen when a team, dismissed by many as irrelevant heading into the year, finally puts together a winning streak.

Greenway points out this is only one small step on the climb. But he also had little hesitation lauding the effort being put forth.

"You have to say to yourself, 'If we want this, we have to dial in," he said. "We have to be willing to put the work in and to have the focus necessary to go do this.' And our young guys here have shown so much savvy and a feel for where we're at and what we're doing."

  • related content

  • Video: Frazier excited after Vikings victory

    Friday December 21, 2012

    Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said his team has matured after the loss at Indianapolis in Week 2. They are...

  • No lingering concerns for Harvin

    Monday October 1, 2012

    While talking about the Vikings' recent success, Percy Harvin might have shed some light on what had him upset during the team's mandatory minicamp in June.

  • Titans QB Locker is day-to-day

    Monday October 1, 2012

    Jake Locker has no structural damage to his left, non-throwing shoulder, and Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak said his quarterback will be day-to-day this week.

  • Read the full replay: Vikings Chat with Dan Wiederer

    Wednesday October 3, 2012

    See what Vikings fans are talking about with writer Dan Wiederer during their noon-hour Live Chat.

  • Viking defenders Jared Allen (69), Jamarca Sanford (33), Jasper Brinkl...

  • VIKINGS WEEK 5

    3:25 p.m. Sunday vs. Tennessee

    Mall of America Field at Metrodome TV: Ch. 4 (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Orlando 7:00 PM
Memphis
Boston 8:00 PM
Utah
Denver 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Army 6:00 PM
American Univ
Wright State 6:00 PM
Detroit
Syracuse 6:00 PM
North Carolina
Cleveland State 6:00 PM
Oakland
Delaware State 6:00 PM
NC Central
High Point 6:00 PM
Presbyterian
Howard 6:30 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Coppin State 6:30 PM
NC A&T
Nicholls 6:30 PM
Northwestern St
Hampton 6:30 PM
SC State
Gardner-Webb 7:00 PM
Campbell
MD-Eastern Shore 7:00 PM
Florida A&M
Stephen F Austin 7:00 PM
Lamar
Central Arkansas 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Norfolk State 7:00 PM
Savannah State
TX A&M-CC 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Sam Houston St 7:00 PM
Abilene Christian
McNeese State 7:00 PM
Incarnate Word
Milwaukee 7:05 PM
Valparaiso
Alcorn State 7:30 PM
Alabama A&M
Southern U 7:30 PM
Alabama State
Prairie View 8:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Texas 8:00 PM
Iowa State
Texas Southern 8:00 PM
Miss Valley St
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Long Island 2:00 PM
Bryant
Central Conn St 2:00 PM
St Francis-NY
Fairleigh Dickinson 2:30 PM
Sacred Heart
St Francis-PA 3:00 PM
Wagner
Delaware State 3:00 PM
NC Central
Howard 4:30 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Coppin State 4:30 PM
NC A&T
Hampton 4:30 PM
SC State
Norfolk State 4:45 PM
Savannah State
MD-Eastern Shore 5:00 PM
Florida A&M
Samford 5:00 PM
(25) Chattanooga
Prairie View 5:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Alcorn State 5:30 PM
Alabama A&M
Southern U 5:30 PM
Alabama State
Texas Southern 5:30 PM
Miss Valley St
(12) Texas A&M 6:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
Robert Morris 6:00 PM
Mount St Marys
East Tenn St 6:00 PM
Mercer
Wofford 6:00 PM
Furman
Morehead St 6:00 PM
Tenn Tech
Illinois 6:00 PM
Michigan
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 8:00 PM
Auburn
(15) Nebraska 8:00 PM
(20) Iowa

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close