There has been a sense of frustration that has permeated into the Minnesota Vikings locker room created by those who don't wear uniforms or call plays. Outsiders thought the 2016 season, which arrived with a ton of promise, was burned to the ground about the time Teddy Bridgewater screamed out in agony on the practice field at Winter Park on Aug. 30.
Much the same feeling was expressed from outsiders when Adrian Peterson went down with a knee injury in Week 2. It seemed as though the only people keeping the faith were those within Winter Park.
For the most part, they’re getting tired of people peppering them with questions and losing confidence in the team after back-to-back losses. Defensive end Brian Robison expressed some of that angst this week at Winter Park.
When asked if he felt like the sky is falling around the Vikings, he bristled at the notion – reminding the questioner that the Vikings are still in sole possession of first place with a win over their nearest competitor (Green Bay) and a chance to bank a win over the next closest rival (Detroit) Sunday.
“We didn’t want to lose the last two games, but, at the end of the day, we are sitting first in our division,” Robison said. “It’s not a consolation prize as far as where we’re at. We’re definitely not satisfied with the way we played the last two games. But, it’s not the end of the world. The last thing we need to do is panic and think the sky is falling down on us. For us, it’s just about getting back to work as usual and doing everything on Sunday in order to get ourselves back on track.”
The “A” topic this week has been the sudden, abrupt departure of offensive coordinator Norv Turner. People are still searching for answers as to why exactly it happened.
Robison took a pretty abrupt stance of his own, saying that the Vikings will go on with their season without Turner and won’t look back.
“We’ve said all year long that we don’t pay attention to things that go on on the outside,” Robison said. “We concentrate on things that go on inside this locker room and inside this building. Norv’s not part of this locker room. He’s not part of this building anymore, so we’ve moved forward and we’re worrying about the Detroit Lions.”
Robison also wasn’t a fan of the discussion that the Vikings' pass rush has gone downhill.
He was quick to point out that the basic things that are needed for a pass rush to be effective is to force teams to pass and not be behind by double digits, which often takes passing out of the equation for the most part, or least makes it more of a guessing game for defenses.
“We’ve got to stop the run,” Robison said. “You can’t pass rush if you can’t stop the run. We didn’t stop the run last week, and the week before we weren’t in a situation to make them pass the ball. It’s not like our pass rush isn’t there. We got hits on (Jay) Cutler last week, but the difference is they were able to run the ball. Our main focus has to be to stop their running game, put them in passing situations, be great on first down and put them in third-and-long situations so we can pin our ears back and get after them.”
Despite the discussion of looking back at their recent failure, Robison stood up to the bright lights and addressed the herd in the room, whether it be coaching changes, injuries or the struggles the team has had since its bye week.
Regardless of the problems the Vikings have endured and tried to overcome, they still have their own destiny in their hands. There are 27 teams that wish they had the Vikings' win-loss record and he and his teammates aren’t going to let the outside negativity have them lose focus.
“At the end of day, we’re still 5-2 and we have our season in front of us,” Robison said. “Every season there are a couple of bumps in the road. That happens. What we need to do is focus our energy on what we can control and, for this week, that is getting after the Detroit Lions.”