Colts Trying To Avoid Panic Button Too

The Minnesota Vikings and Indianapolis Colts are similar in many ways, from explosive offenses to mediocre defenses. And both clubs are trying to avoid turning a bad game or two into a slump when they meet each other Monday night. Get the vibe from Colts camp.

Despite back-to-back losses to Jacksonville and Kansas City, the Colts are keeping their eyes on the prize.

Despite the two-game slide, the Colts remain a half-game behind AFC South leader Jacksonville. That fact hasn't been lost on anybody associated with the team.

"We're still playing for the AFC South. That's what we've always been playing for," QB Peyton Manning said recently.

RB Edgerrin James has echoed that statement.

"If it was a bunch of division losses, you could push the panic button," James said. "But we're still right there. We're not that far behind (the Jaguars). That's the important thing."

The Colts play host to NFC North leader Minnesota on Monday night in a game that could go a long way towards determining how the rest of the season goes.

Jacksonville has a bye week while Houston - which is are now tied with Indianapolis at 4-3 - is at Denver.

"I think we'll bounce back,' said Colts coach Tony Dungy. "The big thing that we have to fight right now is panic and I don't believe we'll do that. It's a long year. As I've said many times, you really don't begin to get into the championship hunt and you don't win championships until November and December.

"We just played our seventh game. And we're just starting November. There's a lot of football left to be played."

Dungy likes to break each season down into three segments. The Colts were 4-1 to start the year. Indianapolis is now 0-2 in the second phase.

"Three weeks ago, there were probably different teams that people were saying was the hot team. Now it's all changed. And it's going to be different three weeks from now. We want to be one of those teams that people are talking about as a hot team," he said.

  • Colts coach Tony Dungy has a 6-7 career coaching record against the Vikings.

  • Dungy served as Minnesota's defensive coordinator from 1992-95.

  • Dungy played quarterback collegiately at the University of Minnesota from 1973-76. He served as the Golden Gophers' defensive backfield coach in 1980.

  • Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore served as an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota from 1972-73 and from 1975-76. He also worked as an assistant coach with the Minnesota Vikings from 1990-93, serving as assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach, assistant head coach/offensive coordinator and receivers coach.

  • Defensive line coach John Teerlinck served as the Vikings' defensive line coach from 1992-94, where he worked with Colts coach Tony Dungy.

  • Rookie TE Ben Utecht, who played at the University of Minnesota, is on the Colts' physically unable to perform list with a groin injury.

  • QB Peyton Manning completed 25-of-36 passes for 283 yards, four touchdowns and an interception in his only career meeting with the Vikings.

  • RB Edgerrin James ran for 128 yards on 26 carries while catching five passes for 79 yards and a touchdown (52 yards) in his last game against Minnesota.

  • WR Marvin Harrison had 12 catches for 109 yards and three touchdowns in his only career game with the Vikings. His touchdown catches came from four, 15 and 18 yards out.

  • Depending on the condition of CB Nick Harper's right shoulder, the Colts may keep CB Mike Echols on the active roster or may return him to the practice squad.

    Echols had been signed off the practice squad prior to the Colts' game at Kansas City. He was a pre-game inactive for the Chiefs' game.

  • WR Brad Pyatt is expected to be available for the Vikings game. Pyatt has missed the last two weeks with a sprained right ankle.

  • SS Mike Doss underwent an MRI on his strained groin. His status for the Vikings game won't be determined until the end of the week.

  • OG Tupe Peko should be able to return to the starting lineup after missing the Kansas City game with back spasms.

  • LB Keyon Whiteside has been placed on injured reserve after tearing the patella tendon in his right leg against Kansas City.

  • CB Joseph Jefferson is hopeful of returning to the lineup after sitting out the Chiefs game with sore tendon in his right knee.

  • A decision on the return of SS Cory Bird will be determined by Friday or Saturday. Bird did not play against Kansas City due to a strained calf and knee.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 13. The Colts have a 13-10 overall record on Monday Night Football. Indianapolis is playing host to its first MNF game since December 11, 2000, a 44-20 win over Buffalo. The Colts have a 4-3 record as the home team on Monday Night Football.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I've been in much worse situations than this and come on done real well in the past. We were 3-4 one year in Tampa (1999) and ended up playing in the NFC Championship Game." — Colts coach Tony Dungy on Indianapolis' 4-3 record after dropping consecutive games to Jacksonville and Kansas City.

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