Players: Everybody is Accountable

The time for excuses has expired, players say. Teammates should know where to line up.

The fallout from a 2-5 start to what was expected by many to be a Super Bowl season has started what can best be described as rumblings in the Vikings locker room.

Finger pointing hasn't gone on publicly. So far, players haven't called each other out individually in front of reporters. But some players are sending subtle messages through the media that each of their teammates needs to hold themselves more accountable if they hope to turn the season around.

The Vikings' game Sunday against the Lions is their eighth game of the season. It marks the official midway point of the regular season. The time for excuses has expired, players say. Teammates should know where to line up. Mistakes that were expected in August and accepted in September can no longer be tolerated in November.

Rather than take jabs at teammates, some players insist they can only take themselves to task over their own mistakes. Worrying about themselves, some say, is all they can do at this juncture of the Vikings' season. Only time will tell if isolationist attitudes by some will cause retreat or renaissance.

"You can't worry about what everybody else is thinking on your team," receiver Marcus Robinson said. "You've got to control what Marcus can control. Right now, Marcus can control coming to practice, watching film, and getting ready for Detroit and focusing on that."

In other words, Robinson is going to mind his own business. He holds himself responsible for what he can control, he says. Teammates should do the same. If they do that the Vikings might be able to rebound from their horrid 2-5 start.

"You bounce back by everybody's got to be accountable for what they do," Robinson said. "Everybody's brought here to do a job, and you've got to go out there and do your job. I mean no matter what else happens."

Tight end Jermaine Wiggins has played with the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, as well as the NFC Champion Carolina Panthers. He has seen what a champion's locker room looks like and knows the ingredients needed for a winning team.

"All you can really do is keep things going in the right direction," Wiggins said. "And go out there and do your job every Sunday. That's all I can do to contribute and give my best effort to help the team win. Those are the leadership qualities I know."

Safety Darren Sharper played in the Super Bowl during his rookie season with the Green Bay Packers. Like Wiggins, he has seen what it takes to build a champion. Sharper says he is tired of hearing how well the team practices during the week when it doesn't translate onto the field on Sundays.

"Guys don't want to deal with the fact that we're 2-5 and we should be better than that," Sharper said. "Guys are more confident in their abilities and that we can win. But we just got to do it on Sundays."

That starts against Detroit.

"All you can do is try to stay above water and make plays when you get a chance," Wiggins said.


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