Vikings Battle Cry: Win This One First

The Vikings aren't looking ahead to what a victory against the New York Giants would mean. They know getting that win will be tough enough. See how the players say they are approaching it, along with other notes and quotes from a Wednesday at Winter Park.

The Vikings are hoping that a win last week – even if it came against a team that entered the Metrodome with a 2-7 record – will help build momentum for something bigger in the near future.

But this Vikings team has been universal in their battle cry of not looking ahead this week.

"It's important for us. I don't think anybody is looking too much further down the road for what this game could mean," linebacker Ben Leber said. "We're more interested in putting two games back to back and trying to stay consistent. We're more concerned with what happens in this locker room."

That said, Leber admitted that a win against the New York Giants in the Meadowlands on Sunday would provide a big confidence boost.

"I think it would be huge for the morale and the confidence and develop a little bit of swagger," he said. "All the good teams have a little bit of swagger about themselves and I think that's something we need to get around here."

That's been hard to come by lately in the Vikings locker room – for good reason. The Vikings haven't had back-to-back wins since the game surrounding their bye week in October – last year. That was at the tail end of their 4-2 start in 2006, and consistency hasn't been found since.

Since then, the Vikings have gone on four- and three-game losing streaks in 2006, and have had losing streaks of three games and two games in 2007. The winning streaks since then have been stifled to one game. That has left them with a 4-6 record and facing the 7-3 Giants in New York on Sunday.

"Because of the start we had, we can't look ahead. We've just got to worry about this week," center Matt Birk said.

In three of their four wins this season, the Vikings have rushed for 200 yards or more. In all of their losses, they have rushed for 160 yards or fewer. Overall, they are looking for more consistency on offense, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson said.

"We just want to put back-to-back weeks of good offense together. We don't want to play well and come back and be flat. … Part of that is me being consistent," Jackson said. "If I come out and play as well as I played last week, just moving the chains, making good decisions, and getting the football out of my hand, I think we'll be fine."

Last week, Jackson completed 17 of 22 passes for 77.3 percent, by far the best performance of his career when he has thrown more than five passes. But this week will be an especially big test for Jackson and the entire offense. The Giants are 4-0 at home this season and have the league's seventh-ranked defense, including a seventh-ranked rush defense.

"This is a big game, especially going on the road," said wide receiver Bobby Wade. "Struggling on the road is big. We've got to find a way to bring our ‘A' game, our physical game, especially on the road. They're a strong team at home. They're playing well, they're winning, so we've got to find a way to pick it up."

Having a shot in the ever-muddying waters of the NFC is still a motivating factor for the players who have yet to put together a string of wins this season.

"We've still got a chance. If we keep winning football games, we know we've got a chance to be in the playoffs," Jackson said. "Right now we are just trying to go 1-0 this week and win this game, then pretty much just go from there each week."

Said running back Chester Taylor, who rushed for 164 yards against Oakland: "It was a relief getting a W (against Oakland). We had that bad game against Green Bay. Coming back and getting a win against Oakland, we're moving in the right direction right now."


The two wide receiver passes by Sidney Rice and a wide receiver reverse by Troy Williamson on Sunday accomplished a couple of tasks – they were effective, gaining a total of 120 yards on three plays, and they have given the Giants something else to think about.

"Williamson ran a nice reverse if you look real hard at that. They threw the option pass with Rice, the deep ball to (Visanthe) Shiancoe. Rice is also used in a play in the green zone, where he is reversed and threw a ball that didn't look like there was any way and the receiver (Williamson) came up with the ball, which moved them closer to goal line," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "So they have some gadgets. The gadget last weekend was the first play of the game, so you have to be on your toes for all of that stuff. And Rice has demonstrated the ability to throw the ball down the field."


Running back Chester Taylor was asked if he had any advice for younger players trying to avoid the rookie wall.

"Get some sleep at night. I remember in my rookie year, I thought I could still do the same things I did in early September and October. But in November and December, you've got to get your rest at night so you can practice during the week," he said.


  • Giants running back Brandon Jacobs has a strained hamstring and did not participate in Wednesday's practice, as was the case for WR Plaxico Burress (ankle). Backup RB Derrick Ward (ankle/groin) and WR Steve Smith (scapula/hamstring) were limited in their participation. S Gribril Wilson (knee) did not participate.

    Reggie Tobor is expected to start at strongside linebacker in place of Mathias Kiwanuka, who was placed on injured reserve this week.

  • For the Vikings, fullback Tony Richardson (knee) and cornerback Antoine Winfield (hamstring) were held out of practice on Wednesday. Childress indicated Richardson would probably play against the Giants. "He's a grizzled old pro. It's not going to hurt him to miss," Childress said. "I just want to see how much we can get that settled down. … He's always shown a great ability to bounce back, whether it be from a broken bone or a sprained ankle. We're holding him out and treating him and he's earned that. He knows what he's doing, but I'm not going to say that he's not going to make it to Sunday."

    Running back Adrian Peterson returned to practice on Wednesday in a limited role. He ran in a pool on Monday and did some land work on Tuesday "with no pain," according to Childress. The coach backed off his "longshot" statement from Monday regarding Peterson's chances to play against the Giants, but Childress wasn't ready to announce a decision on Peterson's availability on Sunday. "I wish I had my horse (racing) sheet here. Maybe it depends on the track. I don't know. Yeah, he's upgraded, but I don't know that the next thing is (from longshot). You'd have to look on your racing sheet."

    "Nothing surprises me about what that kid does," Childress added.

    Childress said Peterson will get another MRI "eventually."

    Cornerback Antoine Winfield did not participate in practice Wednesday because of a lingering hamstring injury, but Winfield said on Monday he should be able to play against the Giants.

    Safety Eric Frampton was limited with a groin injury.

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