Some folks say Viking fans have been spoiled over the years and that we do not have realistic expectations for our team anymore. Obviously not every year can be a winning year, but what are you doing to stay focused during this tumultuous season? Does this kind of frustration, if it exists for you, make you work harder?
Chapman says: A 9-7 season for us, the fans would call it disappointment, but … we had disappointment in training camp when we lost a member of our football family and one of our brothers. That's what I call disappointment. It kind of set us back a bit emotionally, and we've had injuries here and there. So you're not going to go 15-1 and 11-5 every year. There are going to be building years. This is the NFL. Everybody is good. Everybody is going to have their year. Last year the Bears were the laughingstock of the NFL, now they're one of the powerhouses in our conference. It's not like you can have a seven- or eight-year run like the Cowboys, like the 49ers or teams before free agency. There are a lot of other teams that were considered weak and came back strong, like the Rams. Disappointing season or no disappointing season, no matter how the season turns out, we're going to play hard to the last whistle and let the cards fall where they may. We know we didn't quit. We have a young team, and we know within ourselves that we didn't quit. We just didn't have anything go our way.
With all the turmoil early in the season with the loss of Korey Stringer and the injuries on the offensive line and now the comments by Randy Moss, has the team chemistry taken a beating? Does it break down more during losing seasons?
Chapman says: I think we've gotten tighter. The season is not over. Right now we have a losing record, but at the end of the season we could finish 9-7. We're aiming not to lose anymore games. Right now we're 5-7, but we could finish 9-7. That's the way we look at it. We don't allow everyone else's interpretation of what's going on over here to affect the way we react to each other. We've all got love for each other. People can say whatever they want about Randy's comments, but we're all brothers. No matter what happens in the family, you may argue or whatever, but it comes back to you and that person are still tight and you're still family. We depend on Randy just like he depends on us. Randy is his own man and he has his own opinion, but what he says in the media has no effect on the way we feel about him over here.
Does the offensive line set up their blocks differently depending on the running back or is it the running back's responsibility to work with the timing of the offensive line?
Chapman says: Our offensive line, every week they play better and they're starting to jell a little better. You can see it in our running game. Over the past couple weeks our offensive line has been solid. We've kept guys like (Michael) Strahan, Jevon Kearse off our quarterback, and that's a big attribute to our offensive line and coach (Mike) Tice. Like I said, it's going to take timing. It's the same thing (no matter which back is running). We've just got to use our ability to get north-south. They're not going to block any differently for whoever is in there. It's up to us (the running backs) to try to get in there and score touchdowns.
You must know Randy well from your days at Marshall and now the Vikings. Please give us fans some insight on his personality and why you think he would say such things and what you think he means when he makes those comments.
Chapman says: I've known him since I was 18 years old. I know he's a very down-to-earth guy. He's very family oriented, and if you're his friend, you're his friend. But you've got to understand that with a person that gets that much attention, there are a lot more people out there that want to see him fail than succeed, and he's run into a lot of those people throughout his life. The thing is, he's very outspoken; he's going to say what's on his mind. He's not going to always be politically correct, but when it comes down to doing his job, he does his job great.
I look at it as the whole Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinski thing. Everybody was all mad about what Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski did, and that's fine. But I'm not his wife, and I don't care. His job as a president, to me, he did a good job being president. People can say they don't like what Randy says, but when they throw the ball to him and he makes three people miss and outruns everybody for 75 yards, that's his job and he does it well. As long as he does his job well, people shouldn't worry about what he says. He's his own man. You don't go around and tape record the comments everybody else makes and criticize them for it. If the janitor over here at the building for the Vikings, if he doesn't like me, I don't mind. As long as he does his job as the janitor and cleans the locker rooms, he can not like me all he wants, but as long as he does his job, that's what he gets paid for. Randy gets paid to catch touchdowns and make people miss. That's what he does. Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but we don't let anything the media tries to say or do, Randy this or Randy that, that's not even an issue over here. Coach (Dennis) Green does a good job of dealing with everybody on an individual basis, and he has a good relationship with every player.
Was Randy hurt by the crowd's reaction to him on Sunday?
Chapman says: I'm sure he was a little bit bothered by it, but I know, no matter what he says, he gives his all. He tries to make plays and he does make plays. I know it kind of hurts, but then again, those same people that booed him were the same people cheering for him after he took that long one to the house. Fans are fickle. That's just part of life. When we're losing, they're booing us. When we're winning, they're patting us on the back, telling us we're the greatest team ever. That's just how it is. That's their job to be that way. We can't really dwell on it and sit around and say, ‘Oh, they booed us.' We've got to get over it. We're all men.
To ask middle linebacker Kailee Wong or running back Doug Chapman your question, go to the Ask Chapman/Wong board or go to the "Message Board" link at the top of the left navigation bar, then to the "Ask Chapman/Wong" message board.
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