After dropping consecutive road games to the Bears and Packers last month, Vikings players and coaches understood that, if they wanted to keep their playoff hopes live, they would need a December to remember.
While much of the focus of last week's win was on the play of Adrian Peterson, the Vikings defense was strong the entire game – never allowing the Bears offense to build any momentum and consistently getting off the field. Defensive end Brian Robison believes that, despite A.P.'s MVP-style performance this season, the defense has tried to take ownership of the run that will be needed if the Vikings want to make the playoffs.
"We want to lay it on us," Robison said. "We want to be the side of the ball that wins the game for us. If we go out there and play like we did Sunday we can win a lot of games for us."
In the week leading up to the game, Vikings defenders vowed to put in a better performance than Chicago – a tall order considering that Chicago had as many interceptions for touchdowns (seven) as the Vikings had interceptions as a team. One-upping a playmaking, opportunistic defense like the Bears have wasn't going to be easy, but it was the lofty goal set by the Vikings. They didn't care if the offense struggled. If they had to win a 6-3 game, they were prepared to do it.
"That's how we came into the (Chicago) game last week," Robison said. "We said it doesn't matter what the offense does. In our minds, we've got to outplay the other team's defense. That's really what it comes down to. The team that makes the most stops wins the game. We've got to make more stops than they do."
On the personal side, Robison said he feels as if he's playing well, even though he doesn't have the kind of individual numbers he wants – especially in terms of sacks. To date, he has six sacks, but said sack numbers don't tell the entire story.
"I think I've played well," Robison said. "I think I've left a lot of opportunities out on the field without a doubt. I've missed a few sacks I really should have had, but overall, I think I've played well. My stats aren't where I'd like them to be, but that's not always the end-all, be-all of how you've played this year."
The Vikings hope to build on the defensive momentum they established last week. There is no guarantee that Peterson will be able to carry the offense on his back again, but the defense is prepared to once again do its part and carry the team to another win as they continue to keep their 2012 season alive.
"We always want to be the best defense on the field that day and we haven't always played like it," Robison said. "The bottom line is we came out last week and said we have to stop talking about it, we have to be about it. That's what we did last week. We outplayed their defense, we scored on defense and created turnovers. We want to do things that put our offense in the best situation to be successful."
If the Vikings are to continue being successful, they will need a performance like they got Sunday against Chicago and, as far as the Vikings are concerned, although they likely need to win all three remaining games to get to the postseason, the playoffs are already underway.
"For us, the playoffs started last week," Robison said. "The way we look at it now, if we lose another game, we're out. The only way we can give ourselves an opportunity to be in the mix at the end of the year is to go on the road, win these next two games and come home and beat Green Bay and then we'll see if we get the opportunity to go the playoffs."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Robison: Defenders put onus on themselves
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