Bill Musgrave (Bruce Kluckhohn/US Presswire)
The Detroit Lions may have delivered the death blow to the Vikings’ psyche earlier this season. Minnesota coaches say they have learned from that loss. Plus, Anthony Herrera overcomes a lot to earn the Ed Block Courage Award and more.
For all intents, the Vikings’ 2011 season came to an end when they lost their home meeting with the Detroit Lions after building a 20-0 lead. Head coach Leslie Frazier and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave addressed the Week 3 collapse against the Lions that dropped the Vikings to 0-3 – making them the first team in NFL history to blow a double-digit lead for the third time in their first three games of the season.
In a conference call with the Detroit media, Frazier said the first meeting with the Lions was the kind of game the Vikings needed to get their 2011 season on the right track and that the eventual 26-23 overtime loss was a turning points in their season.
“I’ve thought about (that) a couple different times,” Frazier said. “We have had some opportunities and, in our league, the fragility of the mindset is one of those things that, if you can gain some confidence by winning a close game like that game – and we had a bunch of those early in the season – maybe they would have given us a boost and helped us play on. But, unfortunately, we weren’t able to get that close win and have struggled since.”
As painful as the loss was, the Vikings have been using that collapse as part of their preparation for Sunday’s game – looking at what they did right and what went so horribly wrong in the second half. Musgrave admitted the Vikings offense went into a shell that helped the Detroit comeback happen, saying if the opportunity arises again, the Vikings will take a different approach.
“We’ve looked at it and we looked at it in preparation for this week,” Musgrave said. “We didn’t have as much success. I know we wanted to maintain and, at the same time, not get reckless and risk turning the ball over, either. We had a little different mentality and I think if we’re in the position next time, we’ll be more aggressive and look to pad our lead much more than we did.”
With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, the loss to Detroit ruined the Vikings’ season. It dropped them to 0-3 overall, 0-2 at home and 0-2 in the conference. In many ways, it ended the Vikings season before the quarter pole. All the Vikings are left with now is the hope that they can return the favor Sunday and put a dagger in the Lions’ playoff hopes.
HERRERA WINS ED BLOCK AWARD
Guard Anthony Herrera was the Vikings’ recipient of the 2011 Ed Block Courage Award, handed out to players who exemplify the commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. The award has been handed out among the NFL teams since 1984. Recent winners of the award were E.J. Henderson, who returned to action after suffering a horrendous fractured fibula, and Cedric Griffin, who returned to action after two knee surgeries.
Herrera went undrafted out of Tennessee and worked his way into a starting role with the Vikings. He came from tough times growing up, which he said was a factor in helping him persevere.
“A lot of people, if you come from everything, you don’t know what it’s like not to have anything so you don’t have that drive to get it,” Herrera said. “I used to drink sugar water for breakfast, so I know what it’s like to not have. I know what it’s like to see your mom literally suck salt as food. I’ll never go back there and just work as hard as I can to keep them out of that.”
Adrian Peterson was supposed to speak to media Thursday, as is his weekly habit. He will speak to the media today after returning to practice on a limited basis Thursday. We will likely find out later today whether Peterson will be available, but, regardless of whether he plays or not, he will likely be deemed a game-time decision.
Christian Ponder was the only Viking to sit out practice Thursday. We should find out today if he will be good to go Sunday or will sit out because of a hip pointer.
Seven Lions players, not including suspended DT Ndamukong Suh, missed practice Thursday.
Percy Harvin has largely been able to avoid the migraines that have plagued him during his football career, but apparently had migraine symptoms last Sunday, according to the Pioneer Press. Harvin was able to play through the pain and make a big impact vs. Denver.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for 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.