Reaction to the Action

There are ways to handle problems on the field, but yelling at teammates and coaches isn't the way to solve the problem. If the Vikings are going to turn the season around, Daunte Culpepper, Randy Moss and Cris Carter will have to get on the same page on and off the field.

I must admit that there was no way I ever expected this Minnesota Vikings team to lose its first two games of the season, especially against the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers. The Vikings had several opportunities to put the Bears away, but obviously it just didn't happen. The special teams almost gift-wrapped the game for the Bears by giving them great field position late in the fourth quarter when a high snap forced punter Mitch Berger to attempt a pass to Harold Morrow. Had it even been completed it would not have been allowed for a first down since so many players were downfield covering what they expected to be a punt. Although, with a flag and a completion, the Vikings would at least have had a second opportunity to punt the ball and change Chicago's field position.

The offense wasn't in sync again, on or off the field. And it's the off-the-field part that bothers me the most. Daunte Culpepper, Randy Moss and Cris Carter were in each other's face, and some carried that over to the coaches working on the sidelines. NFL defenses actually feed off the offense, and defensive players understand that when the offensive unit is on the field it will not be successful on every series. Defensive players always notice the body language of the offense, because basically the offense is the captain of the ship.

Players have a tremendous desire to win and if they learn to accept defeat then they should retire from the NFL. It is also understood that adjustments have to be made during each and every game, but when player distractions carry over to the sidelines and players get into the coaches' face, that is destructive to the team. Players and coaches can take a negative situation on the field and correct it on the sidelines, but players can't have it snowball to a double negative by arguing with coaches. Defensive players pick up on this when they are entering the field and, trust me, it sure doesn't help their attitude on that series.

Also, what was frustrating was when Bears quarterback Shane Matthews got hurt and backup Jim Miller came in. I've written this many times, but a backup quarterback can have great success in his first outing, as the defensive game plan is set up on the tendencies of the starting quarterback. As we all know, each QB has different strengths and weaknesses.

This is the first time the Vikings have been 0-2 since 1984, and I know all the usual cliches that you take one game at a time, it's a long season, etc. — but you can forget all that if this Vikings team doesn't settle in and believe in fellow teammates and coaches. During my playing career, I didn't always agree with the coaching decisions, but there were always opportunities to have open communications between player and coach. Losing is very frustrating, but players have to be careful to not let a great winning attitude work against them and drag the entire team and Vikings fans down. VU

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