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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
    singersp is offline PPO Newshound
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    Winning helps unity, Defensive play sparks team

    From the article Vikings righting ship after infamous boat ride
    By Greg Boeck, USA TODAY;

    [size=18px]Winning helps unity [/size]

    The Metrodome is expected to rock Sunday. Eight weeks ago, it felt like a morgue. In their first home game after the boat incident became public, the Vikings were booed. They were 1-4, apparently headed for 1-5 after falling behind the Green Bay Packers 17-0.

    "Fans had detached themselves," says Paul Allen, radio voice for the Vikings and a local talk show host. "They were making jokes. It was the low point."

    Sharper, the free safety, says: "It was pretty bleak. We were distraught. But we have never gotten down on ourselves as a team. We never wanted to pitch the tent and call it a day."

    Remarkably, the Vikings showed the first signs of righting their ship that day, roaring back to win 23-20. But the next week, in a 38-13 loss at the Carolina Panthers, the Vikings lost Culpepper, a three-time Pro Bowler, for the season with a right knee injury.

    Johnson replaced him — and the Vikings haven't lost since. Johnson, who began his career with Minnesota and won a Super Bowl ring with Tampa Bay, returned to the Vikings as a free agent in the offseason. He stepped in for Culpepper and has stabilized the offense.

    Tice says Johnson is "professionally mature," and Steelers coach Bill Cowher credits Johnson with the Vikings' turnaround: "No, question, it starts with the quarterback and his execution of that offense."

    Johnson, however, points to Tice.

    "Mike has done a great job of not panicking," he says. "Regardless of how dark and deep that hole was, we dug ourselves out of it. He has kept us together. There has not been a lot of animosity within the team."


    [size=18px]Defensive play sparks team [/size]

    There was some divisiveness in the locker room immediately after the boat incident surfaced, but the finger-pointing was short-lived. "There was a lot of frustration for about a three-week period," Tice says. "We attempted to stay the course as best we could."

    Winning became therapeutic. "A lot of players' and coaches' characters were being checked," middle linebacker Sam Cowart says. "We had nobody to lean on but ourselves. We just kept believing and fighting."

    Tight end Jermaine Wiggins says,"We have warriors in this locker room."

    Especially on defense. A unit touted in preseason as potentially one of the best in the NFL was a major flop early but has cut its points allowed almost in half in the past six games, to 15.5.

    "They're a team that has persevered and done amazing things," Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger says. "It could be the toughest defense we've faced all year."

    The Vikings are tied for second in the NFL with 32 takeaways and second alone with 23 interceptions. Sharper is the ringleader, with eight interceptions, tied for second among defensive backs.

    "We started playing smarter," he says.

    Coleman says the Vikings began playing with a sense of desperation. "Everybody started pulling together. ... They grew to trust each other through adversity."

    The wins have piled up, but not a lot of outside believers. The Vikings got back into the playoff race beating teams with a combined 29-49 record. The New York Giants (9-4) are the only winning team they have beaten in their six-game run.

    Sharper adds: "A lot of people outside this organization think we're not that good or a little dysfunctional. But that's fine. People here believe."

    For now. Winning, like makeup, can hide ugly blemishes.

    Architects of Minnesota Vikings' turnaround:

    Brad Johnson:
    Comp.-Att. Pct. Yards TD Int. Rating
    116-188 61.7% 1,247 8 2 90.9 (9th in NFL)

    Defense:

    First seven games:
    27.6 Points allowed (Avg.)
    10 Takeaways (6 INTs, 4 fumble recoveries)
    10 Sacks
    361.1 Yards allowed (Avg.)

    Last six games:
    15.5 Points allowed (Avg.)
    22 Takeaways (17 INTs, 5 fumble recoveries)
    15 Sacks
    292.0 Yards allowed (Avg.)




    Full story: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/vikings/2005-12-15-cover-story_x.htm

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    NordicNed is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Winning helps unity, Defensive play sparks team

    "singersp" wrote:
    Sharper adds: "A lot of people outside this organization think we're not that good or a little dysfunctional. But that's fine. People here believe."
    And I believe also.........SKOL


    I LOVE THE SMELL OF VICTORY IN THE MORNING AIR.

  3. #3
    Prophet Guest

    Re: Winning helps unity, Defensive play sparks team

    "singersp" wrote:
    From the article Vikings righting ship after infamous boat ride By Greg Boeck, USA TODAY;

    ...Johnson, however, points to Tice.

    "Mike has done a great job of not panicking," he says. "Regardless of how dark and deep that hole was, we dug ourselves out of it. He has kept us together. There has not been a lot of animosity within the team."
    Sign of a good leader, not taking credit.


    "They're a team that has persevered and done amazing things," Steelers quarterback [u]Ben Roethlisberger says. "It could be the toughest defense we've faced all year."
    Gotta like that ass-kissing, considering their previous schedule.

    The Vikings are tied for second in the NFL with 32 takeaways and second alone with 23 interceptions. Sharper is the ringleader, with eight interceptions, tied for second among defensive backs.
    :grin:


    Defense:

    Last six games:
    15.5 Points allowed (Avg.)
    22 Takeaways (17 INTs, 5 fumble recoveries)
    15 Sacks
    292.0 Yards allowed (Avg.)
    Gotta love that.

  4. #4
    V4L's Avatar
    V4L
    V4L is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Winning helps unity, Defensive play sparks team

    NOOOICE!!!!


    Ya gotta love them stats over the last 6 games! It's been a fun ride so far.. Can't wait til Sunday!

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