The Vikings were looking forward to getting away from work after an intense stretch of physical and mental pushing that dates back to the end of July. But the players will have a weigh-in awaiting them when they return.
Vikings players will get a lengthy rest during their bye week. Coach Brad Childress will bring in his players for some lower-body strength training Tuesday before excusing them until next Monday.
"I just don't believe with the length of this season that you beat up the players or you beat up the coaches," said Childress, whose team will face Seattle on Oct. 22. "You need to go for the fresh here over the long haul and they've been at it here for nine, 10 weeks.
"Physically and mentally it has been grueling. I think the important thing is they get healthy mentally and they get healthy physically. Now, with that said, there is some responsibility on them in terms of not letting it slip. You don't go sit on the sofa for four or five days."
The Vikings will take a 3-2 record into the bye and there remains plenty of work to be done for an offense that has accounted for only four touchdowns this season. But Childress sees the wisdom in allowing for the down time.
He also knows many players will remain in the area and continue to workout. "(Those players) will slide through here," Childress said. "All the quarterbacks I know will be in town. The weight room is open, the training room is open. Those guys, again being pros, they come in here and treat. They try to get better. Some of them get a little cardio."
This is the Vikings' first bye week since the infamous Lake Minnetonka sex boat party last year that ended up causing great embarrassment for the organization. Childress said talking to his players' about keeping their noses clean is something he regularly addresses.
"We talk about doing the right thing," he said. "My reference (Sunday in the locker room) was no different than it ever is – don't be the guy."
In other words, don't be the guy to get in trouble.
Despite getting five sacks and forcing four turnovers against the Lions, linebacker Napoleon Harris feels the Vikings defense can be even better. "We are still a long ways from where we want to be," he said. "We made some plays, and I think right now we're doing a lot of great things just off hustle and talent level. But once we get the total execution down and playing from snap to snap that way, I think we are going to be very good."
Quarterback Brad Johnson practices against the Vikings defense each day and knows how tough the unit can be to face. He wasn't surprised that after the Vikings had only two interceptions in the first four games that they had three picks and a forced fumble against the Lions. "Eventually that defense will break you down over time if you're not patient," Johnson said. "Sometimes you're not going to get all the deep shots that you want against the Tampa-2 or Minnesota-2 defense. Whatever you want to call it. Sometimes it's not always the cover-2 play. That's what kind of confuses people at different times. Eventually the turnovers will come and that's what they did (versus Detroit)."
Rookie defensive end Ray Edwards is third on the Vikings with two sacks this season, trailing defensive tackle Kevin Williams (three) and defensive end Darrion Scott (2.5). Edwards was taken in the fourth round of the April draft.
In addition to leading the Vikings in sacks, defensive tackle Kevin Williams also tops the team in quarterback hurries (16) and tackles for loss (six).
Strong-side linebacker Ben Leber (knee), safety Darren Sharper and cornerback Antoine Winfield, both with quadriceps injuries, will be main beneficiaries of the Vikings' bye week. Leber returned Sunday against Detroit after sitting out the previous game against Buffalo. Sharper and Winfield, who were injured in the loss to the Bills, did not miss any time.