The Minnesota Vikings have shown an ability to bounce back this season after suffering a loss. After their first loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1 they responded with a 26-16 victory over the Detroit Lions. They suffered their second loss in Week 4 to the Denver Broncos and they responded with a 16-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs after their bye week. Their third loss didn’t happen until Week 11 against the Green Bay Packers, but they responded with a 20-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
The Vikings suffered their fourth loss of the season when the Seattle Seahawks came to Minneapolis and completely dominated the Vikings in a 38-7 victory. The Vikings now have a short week to recover and prepare to face the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night.
It won’t be as easy to rebound this week.
Even though the Vikings have been successful bouncing back after losses in the past, this will easily be their most difficult challenge. The Cardinals are the No. 2 team in the NFC with a 10-2 record and have the No. 1 offense in the NFL, averaging 419.5 yards per game.
The odds may be stacked against this Vikings team as they head out on the road, but they know they need to come away with a win if they hope to stop the bleeding.
“We move on, whether it’s a loss, whether it’s a win,” said veteran defensive end Brian Robison. “We put it behind us and we move on to the next opponent. What we understand is you can’t get too high on a win, you can’t get too low on a loss because it will affect you the next week. We come in on Mondays, we make the corrections we need to make and we move on to the next opponent.”
As the season moves on and the team plays in more games the players seem to be able to move on from the wins and losses easier. Maybe it’s because the games all just start to blend together, or maybe it’s because the young team continues to gain more experience and mature.
Whatever the reason, the players know that they can’t dwell on the past and bring a negative attitude into the next game. Against a team like the Cardinals, they are going to need to bring their A game if they hope to come away with a victory.
“It gets easier to move on to the next team,” said defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd. “It gets easier to play the next game because if you dwell on the past of a negative game you’re taking into a game negative thoughts and negative energy. Got to be able to move on, move ahead and understand that there’s another team coming to do what everyone else wants to do – take advantage of us.”
The Cardinals are going to have a great opportunity to try to “take advantage” of the Vikings with all the injuries on Minnesota’s defense. They had to play the entire game without their starting nose tackle Linval Joseph and almost the entire game without starting linebacker Anthony Barr and safety Harrison Smith.
Young and inexperienced players are going to be expected step up and fill in for the injured, and veteran quarterbacks such as Carson Palmer will often try to exploit those types of players. The veterans of the Vikings defense know they are going to need young players to step up on the national stage and have been trying to help them up since Sunday’s game ended.
“It’s definitely easier because you know you can’t mope around, and that’s what I’ve been trying to tell the young guys in the locker room already,” cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said after Sunday’s loss. “Can’t mope around, got a quick week; Thursday we play another football game. Can’t mope around and think about it and let it play onto the next game because that one loss can take a toll on you and it can come to two, to three, to four losses in a row. So we got to let it go and be prepared to go out here on Thursday night and play big time football.”
If the Vikings are able to once again bounce back and pull away with a win against the Cardinals they will have some time to recover as the early game almost gives them half of a bye week.
They will need that heading into the final stretch of their season where they will face the Chicago Bears, New York Giants and Green Bay Packers in a stretch that will determine their playoff fate.