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

Cleveland - WP: C. Allen 4 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: G. Holland 3
Baltimore - LP: W. Chen 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 5
Kansas City - WP: D. Duffy 2 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Carrasco 0
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 4 FINAL
Toronto - WP: J. Happ 14
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Bassitt 2 FINAL
Detroit - LP: K. Lobstein 0
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 1 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Houston - LP: N. Tropeano 3 FINAL
Texas - WP: D. Holland 4
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wood 0
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 6 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: R. Nolasco 2
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 4 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Samardzija 8
San Francisco - WP: S. Casilla 5 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: K. Correia 2
Colorado - LP: T. Matzek 0 FINAL
San Diego - WP: E. Stults 1
Chicago 27 FINAL
NY Jets 19
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Ottawa 2 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
Ottawa 9/22/14 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Detroit 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 3 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
Washington 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Dallas 4
Anaheim 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Arizona 5
Arizona 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close