Notebook: Was the Effort There?

Different players and the coach contradicted whether the team was ready to play or not in the season finale.

Even while players talked about some people not buying into the system and others not being ready to play, Vikings coach Brad Childress said he wasn't disappointed in the Vikings' effort on Sunday.

"I wouldn't say disappointed, no," Childress said. "The result I'm disappointed in."

The result was a 41-21 whipping in which the Vikings fell behind 41-7 before two late touchdowns helped mask the true brutality of the outcome.

"It was obvious that we didn't have the fire that we had in the past," safety Darren Sharper said. "It's disappointing. Every game you have to learn to come out and play at a certain level. We'll address that and changes will probably be made this offseason and we'll see where we go."

Cornerback Antoine Winfield's game-day locker is close to Sharper's, and Winfield didn't see a big difference between the team's performance Sunday and other games this season.

"It just looked like any other game. Guys weren't making plays, and we didn't get off the field on third down," Winfield said. "They were just going up and down the field and it was not an acceptable effort. We have to go into the off-season and figure out how to get better."


Rookie Tarvaris Jackson said he learned about playing the game in the last month of the season.

"There are a lot of things that I have to get better at," Jackson said. "A lot of things I have learned just by playing in those three games It was a learning experience that I really needed and I am going to take it into next year into the offseason and just work and just looking forward to next year."

Childress said he was encouraged by Jackson's ability to scramble around and make plays, something he did several times on Sunday, both in pulling the ball down and running and in buying time before launching passes.

"Probably just his ability to be able to keep plays alive," Childress said when asked what he saw from Jackson. "I think that's the biggest thing. At the end of a play, to keep a play alive, to make an off-schedule play if he is pressed, if he is pushed like you saw there at the end on that touchdown pass."

Jackson did scramble before finding Travis Taylor for a 3-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, and Jackson's own 1-yard touchdown run came at the end of a scramble that he started out by looking for additional receivers.

Jackson said after his first start against Green Bay that he thought he should have taken the opportunity to run more. He finished the Rams game as the Vikings' leading rusher with 34 yards on seven attempts.

"I did my best. I made a conscious effort to say that if they are not there, then don't force it. If you're not sure, don't force it. Just run the football and take what they give. They did a good job of taking away some of my stuff and I had to run the football and they kind of put me in a bind with me running the football and not being able to throw the football.

"So I just came into the game knowing I didn't want to make mistakes, and the mistakes I did make I shouldn't have thrown. I should have just ate the football or ran with it."

Jackson threw two first-half interceptions, each of them resulting in Rams touchdowns and helping them building a 24-7 halftime lead.


Troy Williamson was back on the deactive list Sunday after dropping a potential touchdown pass in Green Bay, but Childress tried to pass off the move as a numbers thing.

"Really it was just a function of how many guys you wanted to have up," Childress said. "Eight defensive linemen up; we only had seven defensive backs that were up, but you can't take away from the defense. They still have to go out there and play, and having six (receivers) up would be too many. I wanted to look at those younger guys."

Rookie Martin Nance caught four passes for 33 yards in his debut, but fellow rookie Jason Carter didn't have a pass thrown his way. Carter didn't see much action until the fourth quarter.

"I feel like I worked hard all season and that's the type of guy I am," Nance said. "I'm going to continue to do that. I think that next year I'll come back even better than I am now. That's how I take every offseason. When that comes around, I think I'll be in a position to prove it."

Childress seemed to indicate that Williamson would return to the Vikings next year, but didn't exactly give him a ringing vote of confidence.

"He's under contract next year, so I'm assuming he's going to be here," Childress said.


The Rams easily had the most success of any Vikings opponent rushing the ball this season. Steven Jackson had 142 yards rushing on 25 carries, including three touchdowns and a 59-yard, fourth-quarter run that kept the Vikings from setting the modern-day record for least rushing yardage allowed in a season.

Jackson became the first rusher in 28 games to have 100 yards against the Vikings, leaving Rams coach Scott Linehan pleased with the effort.

"Against the No. 1 rush defense in the league, no question. One of our goals going into this game was to be able to run the football against that defense," Linehan said. "They've got a great front, and they have done a job all year. … That was the most impressive thing coming out of this game, that we were able to run the ball as effectively as we were."

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