Turnovers Becoming a Vikings Focus

The Vikings have zeroed in on a factors to improve upon, and turnovers is one of them. Two costly turnovers by Minnesota played a big part in the Chicago Bears staying undefeated.

Brad Childress said he was disappointed but not discouraged a day after the Vikings' 19-16 loss to the Chicago Bears at the Metrodome. It was Childress' first defeat as a head coach and came in gut-wrenching fashion as a late fumble enabled the Bears to score the winning touchdown with 1:53 left in the fourth quarter.

It was one of two turnovers the Vikings committed and both were costly in Childress' mind. The first occurred in the second quarter when receiver Travis Taylor was stripped of the ball at the Chicago 32 after a 20-yard pickup. The Bears recovered, ending a potential scoring drive.

The second turnover came with about three-and-a-half minutes left and the Vikings leading by four points. Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris burst through the line and forced a fumble as quarterback Brad Johnson attempted to handoff to Chester Taylor. The Bears recovered and had the go-ahead touchdown five plays later.

"I'll go back to those turnovers is what I zero in on, particularly from the standpoint of us giving them 10 points directly from those turnovers," he said. "Probably I have to look at in a positive light that we're going to get at least three points down there when we dropped the ball on the 29-yard line

"You have to take care of the football. You only have so many opportunities around the ball. The guys that touch it are responsible for it and have to take care of it. But we move on, and that's the big thing. We're at the 3/16 pole here and it's critical that you correct these things and then you move in. You can't get mentally ill over it."

Childress said he didn't feel his team was having any problems handling its early-season success after a 2-0 start.

"I thought in competing in that game, I didn't see any indicators that would have told me that there was any complacency involved with the prosperity," he said. "I think they have done a pretty good job of staying pretty even-keeled. I always have my antenna up about things such as that, but I can't tell you I saw anything like that, no."

NOTES

  • RG Artis Hicks on the Vikings' 19-16 loss to Chicago. "We just feel like we gave one up. ... One or two bad plays and you give it up. That's why when you win in this league you have to enjoy it and appreciate all the hard work that goes into it. They are hard to come by, I don't care who you play. It takes every guy that touches that field to be at his best and like Coach Childress says, if we do that, every guy giving his best, that's more than enough to win."

  • WR Marcus Robinson, who missed Sunday's game against Chicago because of a hamstring injury, expects to play against Buffalo. Robinson admitted it was tough watching the Vikings lose to his former team on Sunday. "Absolutely. It's definitely frustrating like that," he said. "There would have been opportunities for you out there to make plays that may change a game and make things different. That's very frustrating to stand up there, knowing you're cheering your guys on but knowing that you could have been out there and sweated with them."

  • WR Troy Williamson was called for offensive pass interference on a second-and-3 play from the Vikings 26 in the third quarter Sunday. That play would have put the ball at the Chicago 38. Instead it was spotted back at the Vikings 16. "I probably didn't see it that way," Childress said of the call. "That's one that we'll end up sending in. I talked with the side judge about that. The guy in center field is the guy that made the call. My understanding of the mechanics of that is that the center fielder has the number two receiver on the strong side, which is the tight end moving up the field, until the ball goes in the air, and then he follows the ball. But I do know that there was a back judge standing right next to it that didn't pull a flag out of his pocket. What that guy saw, I don't know. You're supposed to see the whole thing and I guess he saw the whole thing. I'll be interested to see from the league interpretation-wise what they thought. Obviously it was a big play and a chunk of real estate against a tough defense."

  • LB Ben Leber sprained his left knee early in Sunday's game against Chicago. He returned to the game wearing a brace and his status for next week's game against Buffalo is uncertain.

  • NT Pat Williams suffered a sprained ankle vs. Chicago but is expected to be fine to face his former Buffalo Bills teammates on Sunday.

  • TE Jermaine Wiggins had only one catch for 9 yards against the Bears. Five of Wiggins' eight receptions this season came in the regular-season opener at Washington.

  • S Darren Sharper confirmed he would have served as the emergency quarterback in Sunday's game had something happened to Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger. Sharper played the position in high school.

  • QB Tavaris Jackson underwent surgery to repair damage to the meniscus in his knee on Monday and will miss from two weeks to a month. Coach Brad Childress said the Vikings would bring in some free-agent quarterbacks for a look this week. The coaching staff does not want Johnson and Bollinger to have to take all the reps in practice. Jackson won't be placed on injured reserve.

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