Vikings Looking Ahead To Bears

The Vikings have been maligned for their heinous defense in recent weeks, but the team put the full package together on offense, defense and special teams Monday and are looking for the same Sunday night vs. Chicago.

Willie Shaw was munching on a hot dog in the Vikings locker room following Monday night's win and had a hard time containing the smile that crept across his face. It finally looks like his secondary is in place.

During the week following the Vikings humliating loss to Philadelphia, Shaw installed Dale Carter as a starting cornerback and Tyrone Carter replaced Orlando Thomas at free safety. Add to that the return of Robert Griffith and the Vikings have a new look, and Shaw likes it.

"The defense is only going to get better," Shaw told VU. "We had to have Griff run over and tell Dale what plays we were calling sometimes because he hasn't learned our terminology on all the plays yet. He's going to be better as the weeks go by. Griff is a little rusty yet and he's going to get better as he plays more. Tyrone is learning his position. This group is going to be much better as they get used to playing together."

The secondary responded Monday night with a solid performance against a passing offense that scorched them in the NFC title game, sacking Kerry Collins four times and intercepting two passes. It was all part of the big picture.

"We had everything going tonight," Ed McDaniel told VU. "We started by feeding off the crowd. The special teams played very well -- they have all season -- the offense came around with big plays and the defense did its job."

Next up are the Bears, and the Vikings expect to do the same at home, where, ever so humble, there's no place quite like it.

"We're a different team here," Dennis Green told VU. "We have a comfort level here and we've shown that by beating Tampa Bay, Green Bay and New York. If we can beat Chicago, we'll be 5-5 and the season will begin all over again."

* Michael Strahan was supposed to be the big factor Monday night. Suffice to say, he wasn't. The player who is well on pace to shatter the all-time sack record was held to no sacks and no solo tackles.
* Green is back in predicting mode. Following Randy Moss' three touchdowns, Green said he still expects Moss to score 17 touchdowns. Simple math would say that, seeing as he had three touchdowns heading into Monday, he would need 14 TDs in the final eight games to get that done.
* Jim Fassel is back in predicting mode. In one of the most overblown, ridiculous predictions ever, Fassel guaranteed the Giants would make the playoffs last year when the team had a 7-4 record. Seeing that, if the playoffs had started then, the G-Men would have been in the playoffs anyway, it wasn't really a stretch that they would live up to that prediction, but they did finish with five wins. This time, he said the Giants will again run the table and win their remaining regular season games. While that prediction is considerably stronger, seeing as the Giants play the Raiders Sunday, his guarantee likely won't last more than six days.
* ABC should be ashamed of themselves for their pathetic behavior at halftime Monday night. VU had been told by a sports person at their Minneapolis affiliate that ABC had told them that the plan was to cover part of the Korey Stringer jersey retirement ceremony. Instead of showing the respect due for a player who died playing football, ABC simply did its job as a Disney pimp, acting like shameless halftime whores -- showing a video of Mick Jagger as part of an upcoming network special and talking to Warren Sapp to pimp next Monday's MNF game.
* Moss owns Monday night. In seven career Monday night games, he has 39 catches for 862 yards and 10 touchdowns.
* Robert Smith was at the game to honor Stringer's memory. The Vikings are 2-0 this year when Smith attends, beating the Giants and Packers.
* Brad Badger and Corbin Lacina are on the mend, but neither looks ready to play Sunday night.
* Monday's win was the 100th of Green's career -- 96 regular season and four postseason.

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