Vikings vets stress urgency, not panic

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 21, 2011 - 12:40 PM

Veterans Donovan McNabb, Steve Hutchinson and Jared Allen addressed the entire team Monday.

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Minnesota Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb

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Veterans Donovan McNabb, Steve Hutchinson and Jared Allen addressed the entire team Monday, a day after the Vikings became the first team in NFL history to lose its first two games despite having double-digit halftime leads in both games.

That's three team leaders and 32 years of NFL experience standing up at Winter Park and essentially telling the younger players to stick together and not to panic, McNabb explained Tuesday in Eden Prairie during a gathering for local business leaders and McNabb's charitable foundation.

"I've been part of teams that were 0-2, 1-2, whatever it may be," McNabb said. "But the team still got closer enough to where everyone had that confidence knowing that next game we were going to win. And once you get one, you feel like you're going to win the next. Then you get on a winning streak and all of a sudden that confidence level is at a high to where every time you step on the field, you feel like you're going to win the game."

In 2003, McNabb's Philadelphia Eagles started the season 0-2 with home losses to the Buccaneers (17-0) and the Patriots (31-10). The Eagles bounced back, finished 12-4 and advanced to the NFC Championship Game.

"I've been 0-2 before and with the attitude of understanding it's a must-win situation," McNabb said. "That's the way this team is approaching it. [Coach] Leslie [Frazier] doesn't have to get up and tell us anything. We know what we need to do. The leaders on this team have already spoke up and addressed the team on what needs to be done.

"When you're 0-2, there's no need to panic. But there is a sense of urgency that needs to take place. And we will get that going as the week goes on in practice and put it out on the field. I think we have the guys and the talent to do that."

McNabb said he didn't bring up the Eagles' 2003 season while talking to the team.

"I won't bring that up," he said. "I always believe you stop talking about your own self. ... Nobody wants to hear what I did back in Philly. I don't want to hear about what happened in Philly. But I've been a part of that. And I've had that experience. We knew what we needed to do to change that, and we can do that here."

McNabb said he made sure to include himself when addressing the team and talking about things that needed to improve.

"I've always believed that if you speak [to the entire team], you have to be critical of yourself, too," McNabb said. "And I addressed that as well. I said, 'Hey, here are some things I think we need to do,' and included myself. ... We put some things out on the table, and people understood what was going on."

Etc.

• The Vikings released defensive end Adrian Awasom to make room for defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who was re-instated after his two-game suspension.

• Steve LaCroix, Vikings vice president of sales and marketing, said Sunday's game against the Lions will be televised locally "as only 1,500 tickets" remained as of Tuesday morning.

• McNabb said he has no plans to retire anytime soon. But when he does retire, he said he will go into broadcasting.

• Speaking at the McNabb function, LaCroix said it was the first time in his 11 years with the team that a player asked him to assemble community business leaders so he could explore his charitable opportunities. The Donovan McNabb Foundation helps a variety of causes with an emphasis on children and diabetes.

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