Notebook: Players React to Purple Fashion

The Vikings lived up to the rumor that they would be wearing purple pants with purple jerseys last Monday night, but not all the players were on board with the immensely controversial decision (purple tongue firmly in purple cheek). Plus, the Vikings are facing a different kind of tight end, Tarvaris Jackson is changing his habits before a game and other quotes.

The rumor started spreading last week. The Vikings were considering wearing their purple pants. Then it turned into the possibility of purple pants with purple jerseys.

Could they seriously consider such an atrocious fashion statement in front of the entire football nation? The answer, as we found out last Monday, was a resounding yes.

They brought out the purple pants. They donned the purple jerseys. And not everyone was on board.

"I was definitely for it. It was just something different," said cornerback Antoine Winfield, who got to register one of seven votes from the players committee that meets each Friday with head coach Brad Childress. "For a little guy, we might look good in purple, but the big guys, they were the ones complaining about it."

Not all the big guys were complaining. Guard Anthony Herrera said he liked the purple over purple.

"Looks to me and all that stuff is not really huge," said Herrera, who also had to sport the orange of Tennessee during his collegiate career. "It's all about going out and executing."

Linebacker Ben Leber registered the one dissenting vote on the players committee, but he says he wasn't alone when it came to the opinions of the overall team.

"In our corner, I think we had maybe 10 guys – so 10 out of 53 guys," said Leber, who admitted that he was the only one on the players committee to vote against the uniforms. Asked if he thought the all-purple look would return, he said, "Unfortunately, yes."

As rumor of the fashion statement circulated last week, at least one player smiled and said it was possible but that he wouldn't divulge the top-secret strategy that almost surely threw off the Chicago Bears' game plan on Monday night.

But with the decision to go purple came many other important decisions. They say the accessories make the outfit, and Leber played up that angle and the angst it caused.

"I just looked in the mirror and it was like, ‘Oooowww.' I just didn't know about the purple pants," Leber said, before revealing the big controversy. "Then what do you do with the socks? Do you go purple or white with the socks, and then you've got the black shoes. There are so many things to think about."

It's a wonder the players had time to dig into their playbooks during the week.


The Vikings have the mission of facing another of the NFL's top tight ends. This time it is the Redskins' Chris Cooley, who is used a bit differently than the others they have faced earlier this season.

"He seems to be split out a little bit more. He's not really in the core as much as some other receiving tight ends. So he presents a different challenge because you're out in space more," said Leber, who will be charged with covering him some of the time on Sunday night. "He seems to be a little more athletic than the other guys we've gone against. I think (Dallas' Jason) Witten is a great pass-receiving tight end, but he can also block and do some other things. But Cooley, his feet are a little quicker."

Cooley has 26 touchdowns since entering the NFL in 2004, tops in the NFC among tight ends.

"Chris has an uncanny ability to wiggly himself open. He understands coverage concepts. He understands about how to work in a zone, working to the fat part of the zone," Childress said. "He understands how to drop man to man coverage because of some of the matchups that he gets. He does a great job with his head and shoulders releasing from the line of scrimmage. He is a rare guy. You have to treat him like a wide receiver."

"He is almost like a wide receiver in some of the things that they do and the way they utilize him, and yet he is a pretty good blocker as well," defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. "So he presents some challenges for any defense that he faces and it won't be any different for us."


When Vikings coach Brad Childress was asked about turning the Vikings into a team that is used to winning, he talked about it taking 21 days to form a habit or break a habit. He's undoubtedly hoping it takes his quarterback less than six days to break his routine.

Jackson was playing in his first prime-time game on Monday night, throwing three interceptions and being credited with a fumble on the exchange of a handoff to Adrian Peterson. But one thing Jackson could have controlled better before the game was his eating and drinking habits.

In the third quarter, he was pushed out of bounds and his calf cramped up, sending him to the bench while backup Brooks Bollinger took over and handed off to Peterson for a touchdown and then kept the ball on a designed quarterback run for a two-point conversion.

"I always had problems with cramps in college because it was hard for me to eat. I hate feeling like I am full before a football game," said Jackson, who talked about getting out of his routine with a night game. "I will try to eat a little more, try to eat a little more maybe earlier and try to slow down at the end. Try to get some more fluids in my body because it is a long day. Just sitting around the room I might as well just drink as much as possible.

"I drink a lot, but I was drinking the wrong things, like I was drinking orange juice and apple juice pretty much all day instead of water and Gatorade. That is probably what it was."


  • Special teams coach Paul Ferraro on coverage ace Heath Farwell, who didn't make the starting cut for the Pro Bowl but could end up going as an alternate: "He has had an unbelievable season. I'm glad he is here. In terms of coaching a player, I couldn't ask for more from a guy than Heath Farwell, so I'm glad he got recognized. I'm a little disappointed that he didn't get named to the Pro Bowl, but it is what it is. … I think the one thing I would like to see them look at is more than one special teams player being named. You've got four phases (of special teams) with 11 guys on each phase. I would hope maybe they would take a look at that and maybe recognize more than one guy."

  • Jackson on former teammate Fred Smoot, now playing in a different style defense with the Washington Redskins: "I don't think Smoot will want to run up and tackle nobody, but he is doing a pretty good job in the defense he is in. He is a cover guy and he is doing pretty well. I watched a couple games they played on TV and he is just being Smoot. He is out there making plays, talking and having fun. That is him; that is his game."

  • Jackson and Smoot's smack talk: "He might say a couple things. We were pretty cool when he was here. He is a funny guy. I know he is going to say something funny. I know he is going to make me laugh on the field somehow."

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