As if the Vikings didn't have enough motivation to beat the Chicago Bears, quarterback Rex Grossman's mouth motivated Minnesota's defense even more.
After the Bears came from behind to beat the Vikings 19-16 in Week 3 at the Metrodome, Grossman apparently had a little something extra to say to Vikings safeties Darren Sharper and Dwight Smith following the quarterback's 24-yard touchdown pass to Rashied Davis with 1:53 left in the game.
Sharper told the Chicago media during a conference call Wednesday that what Grossman said was "an X-rated thing."
Later, speaking with Minnesota reporters, he expanded slightly without giving too many details.
"It wasn't necessarily just (to) me, it was pretty much everybody on the defense," Sharper said. "After he threw the touchdown pass, he kind of was beating his chest, talking trash, this and that – you guys are this and that, whatever, whatever, some curse words and stuff like that. He might have been caught up in the moment, but the thing about it is you always get another chance to see him, and my chance to go against him again will be this Sunday."
The Vikings (5-6) play the Bears (9-2) in Soldier Field Sunday, and the Bears will win the division if they beat Minnesota. The Vikings also need a win to stay in the thick of the NFC playoff race. Despite being 5-6, Minnesota is currently in seventh place in the conference, having a better conference record than many of those teams surrounding them.
Grossman told the Chicago media that the Vikings' defensive backs were talking most of the game, and specifically cited Smith as one of the culprits.
"I threw the interception for the touchdown," Grossman said, "and Dwight Smith came up and smacked me on my helmet and was in my face. It was just kind of one of those deals facing all that adversity, that whole crowd, and just so emotional when we finally got the touchdown pass that I probably went overboard a little bit with some of my emotions, some of the things I said. But it was in that moment. I regret it, but I had all that pent up inside that I had to let it go."
Sharper realizes there is more importance to this game than showing up a young quarterback who got a little excited and mouthed off after a come-from-behind win, but Grossman's words seem to have stuck with the former Green Bay Packers safety.
"He kind of tried to show us up and at the end," Sharper said. "I'm not a defensive end, so I don't know if I'll necessary get a chance to hit him every time like I would like to. He kind of mouthed off a little bit at the end of that game after that last touchdown pass, kind of showed a little bit of his youth by being brash and talking trash. In 10 years, I haven't had a quarterback do that at any time to me. We definitely remember that and the guys in the locker room remember that. Will that decide the game on Sunday? I don't think so, but it gives us a little extra motivation."
Asked if it was an "unwritten" rule that quarterbacks shouldn't talk trash, Sharper seemed ready to make it a Man-Law.
"It's a written rule. I'll write one up and make it a rule, especially in my case. I don't like that, especially a quarterback," Sharper said.
He said he wouldn't talk back to Grossman if the Vikings could pull off the upset in Soldier Field, not even using the famous Dennis Green quote: "The Bears are who we thought they were."
Said Sharper: "I'm not going to do that. I'll just be happy enough to win."
But Sharper didn't hesitate to assess Grossman as a quarterback who might be trying to play beyond his current skill set.
"He's been a little inconsistent for them, for what they would like at the quarterback position, and hopefully we can do the same thing to him that other teams have done as far as applying pressure and making him make some errant throws and we can create some turnovers that way. I truly believe that this game is going to come down to turnovers and who takes the ball from who. That's going to be the changing point in the game," Sharper said.
"Everybody wants to compare to Brett Favre when you have a guy that's a gunslinger, but Brett is a guy that has the confidence to make those throws. He feels as though you might get him once, but he'll get you two or three times. Rex might have that same mentality, it's just that he's not Brett Favre. That's what it comes down to. You can try to have that mentality, but if you don't have the tools to do that, a lot of times you're going to get bitten more than you're going to bite somebody else."
Earlier this week, other players in the Vikings locker room tried to downplay the effects of the way the Vikings lost to Chicago in Week 3, saying it was too long ago to get lathered up about having the Bears recover a fumble with 3:25 to play and score the game-winning touchdown five plays later.
Sharper wasn't afraid to admit that he still feels the Vikings wasted an opportunity in that game.
"We were up in the fourth quarter, and whenever you're up in the fourth quarter you expect to win. We didn't, so we kind of felt we gave that game away," he said.
For his part, Grossman said he regretted the trash-talking incident.
"It wasn't really ever at Darren Sharper," he said. "It was mostly at Dwight Smith. Darren Sharper never said a word. I think it was more in response to backing up Dwight Smith because he turned his back. He wouldn't let me talk to him. But yeah, I regret it, and it's hopefully a situation that never comes up."
Sharper Continues Grossmangate in Minnesota
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