Donovan McNabb (Jeff Gross/Getty)
The Vikings are trying to dig themselves out of a winless beginning to the 2011 season, and a few of the veteran leaders have addressed the team since their latest loss.
Minnesota Vikings veterans are searching for a way to stop an early-season slide that has left them 0-2 and alone at the bottom of the NFC North.
In the time since the Vikings’ latest loss, a 24-20 defeat to the Tampa Buccaneers on Sunday, quarterback Donovan McNabb, guard Steve Hutchinson and defensive end Jared Allen have addressed the team, McNabb said Tuesday after hosting local business and charity leaders for a luncheon in Eden Prairie, Minn.
“I think it was the time. I think it was one that needed to be addressed and then we’ll see how it goes from there,” McNabb said.
“Things got done. We were able to put it out on the table. People understood what was going on.”
The Vikings have had double-digit leads in each of their first two games at halftime, but second-half mistakes on both sides of the ball have left them winless. McNabb said the Vikings are in a “must-win situation now,” but he also preached a message of patience.
For him, the sense of urgency may be greater. He was traded to the Vikings from the Washington Redskins and took a cut in pay for 2011, the final year of his contract.
“You’re here to come in and to win now. I’m here on a one-year deal. My attitude is come in here and play well. Last week, the way things went, I addressed the team, if we would have won that game last week, there’s no way we could have been happy about it. It would have been good, obviously, being 1-0, but by the way that we played in all phases of the game, should have won,” McNabb said. “Patience is very key in this game. If you’re getting overly excited, then all of the sudden you’re going to fall real far. If you get down on yourself, you’ll never pick yourself back up. You have to stay even keel.”
On one hand, McNabb knows a playoff run can happen after a 0-2 start. He took the Eagles to the NFC Championship Game in 2003 after losing the first two games of the season. But there is also this stat: Of the 177 teams that have started 0-2 since 1990, only 22 (12.4 percent) made the playoffs.
McNabb said the veteran addresses took place in the locker room at the Metrodome after the game and in meetings on Monday when players typically review film and get treatment for injuries. But he also stressed that it wasn’t a time to be playing the blame game.
“I’ve always believed that if you’re going to speak, you have to be critical of yourself, as well. I addressed that, as well. Hey, there’s a lot of things that we need to clean up as a team and how I clean up myself,” McNabb said. “Everyone’s not going to sit there pointing the finger. This isn’t the time to be pointing fingers and I don’t believe in that anyway. I believe in guys really understanding and addressing their situation, just like you’re addressing the team situation.”
“[Head 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 of what needs to be done. When you're 0-2, there's no need to panic, but there is a sense of urgency that has to take place. We will get that going as the week goes on all through practice and put it out on the field. I think we have the guys and the talent to do that."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.