Roddy White and Benny Sapp (US Presswire)
The Vikings are guaranteed their second losing season in a row and are on a three-game losing streak with head coach Leslie Frazier coming under fire. But recently signed cornerback Benny Sapp said players need to buy into what the coaches are trying to accomplish.
Vikings cornerback Benny Sapp, who has been with the team for only 12 days this year, says that players need to buy into what the coaching staff is trying to implement, a sentiment apparently voiced by head coach Leslie Frazier in team meetings.
“It’s really just a mindset … but you just have to buy in. That’s one thing I feel that as a team we lack a little bit. Just buying in and believing in what the coaches are trying to tell us to do and going out there and playing within ourselves and the scheme and don’t have no out-of-body experiences and just play ball,” Sapp said Monday shortly after getting out of team meetings.
The Vikings are 2-9, out of the playoffs and in a division in which every other NFC North team has a winning record. The frustration and weariness of the season is starting to show on players’ faces and in their statements, but none was more outspoken Monday than Sapp, who signed with the team on Nov. 16 after being out of football since his release from the Miami Dolphins following a season-opening 38-24 loss in which he surrendered a 99-yard touchdown to New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker.
The Vikings have lost three in a row since coming off their bye week.
“People, fans, might look at it, ‘Oh, the Minnesota Vikings suck, suck, suck.’ Everybody has their down years. Everybody has their down days. Everybody has down time,” Sapp said. “Right now is just the Minnesota Vikings’ down time. As an organization, we just need to stick together and work through it. Everybody goes through problems in life. You don’t just fall down and stay down. This team, we’re going to get up. Trust me, we’re going to get up. We have to.”
The Vikings have five games remaining, starting with the Denver Broncos on Sunday, one of three home games left on the schedule. Their streak of 141 consecutive sellouts, including preseason and playoff games, dates back to 1998, but as of Monday morning they still had almost 3,000 tickets to sell by noon Thursday to extend that streak and have the Broncos game televised locally.
“Right now, the mindset is just right now. We have to win. That’s just what we’re focusing on as a team,” Sapp said. “Coach Frazier, he talked about it. We all as a team, as coaching staff, have to buy in to what is going on. That’s what we’re doing right now, trying to figure out how to buy in and figure a couple things out.”
Frazier called his decision to go for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line and trailing by 10 points with 4:22 to play on Sunday a “bad mistake.” Toby Gerhart, filling in for an injured Adrian Peterson, was dropped for a 2-yard loss and the Vikings never got the ball back.
Despite the Vikings having a three-game losing streak and being guaranteed of a losing season for the second consecutive year following their 2009 NFC Championship Game appearance, Sapp said there is still fight left in the Vikings players.
“We ain’t packing in nothing. Every week we’re going to come out and give it our all. Like I said earlier, we just want to win right now,” he said. “For the most part, I think this team is going to be heading in the right direction if we just stay focused and just buy in. Like Coach Frazier said, just buy in. If we all just buy in, this team could be dangerous.”
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.