It became an annual tradition for former Vikings head coach Dennis Green to boast about his team's record going into and out of the bye weeks. The Mike Tice regime just finished going in and out of their first bye week.
The jury is still out on the importance of the bye.
For a while, Tice had said the bye came at an inopportune time, since the Vikings stumbled into the bye week winless at 0-4. But after the bye this week, Tice had a different take on the bye.
"After we got into the bye, I felt it came at the right time," Tice said. "We haven't changed our attitude, we have the same attitude. But I think we believe we can do everything better.
"I feel really good about our improvements as a staff and as a football team during the course of the bye. We were able to look at ourselves as a staff and we feel pretty good about the improvements we've made as a football team."
Ten-year NFL veteran linebacker Greg Biekert has seen his share of byes. He said the bye week can help most teams physically, but mentally it could sometimes do more harm than good.
"Physically, we had some guys banged up and got a lot further along in their recovery," Biekert said. "Mentally, it's tough to sit around for two weeks. It makes you think and wonder if you've done enough to help the team."
If he was still an Oakland Raider, where he would have been 4-0, the last thing the team wants is for a bye week to get in the way. But at 0-4, the extra time may have given the team and coaching staff more time to conduct a harsh self-examination.
"Every year is different," Biekert said. "Some years you feel like, ‘Let's skip the bye week and keep playing.' If you're on a roll, you're worried about a letdown. But in our case, it couldn't have come at a better time to rethink things as a coaching staff and as players."
Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper relished the bye. "For me it was great," he said. "I got a chance to rest and go back home. It was good for us to get away from things and think about things a little bit. It gives us a new look at everything."
Still, the Vikings had an extra week to have their 0-4 record stare at them before they were able to take the field and face Detroit. Admittedly, that wears players down. "It really does," offensive lineman Chris Liewinski said. "It's tough. You have to almost have a short memory. It can definitely beat you down."
No one will argue one positive aspect of the bye: It allows players more time to spend with their families. "I got away from football a little bit, and it gave me a chance to see my son. It gave me a chance to be a father," defensive back Tyrone Carter said. "It also gave me a chance to see other teams play."
Vikings: Good Timing With Bye
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