Notebook: Confidence unshaken

With 10 wins and two losses, the Vikings have shown they know how to put a win behind them and focus on the next game. Now they're out to show they can rebound from a prime-time loss and beat another playoff team, and they say they're confidence hasn't been shaken. Plus get injury updates from Friday and more notes and quotes.

As bad as Vikings fans feel about how their team played on Sunday night against the Arizona Cardinals, the players are ready to move on.

"We messed up a few things. You look at it, it looks like they just beat us up and down the field," said defensive tackle Kevin Williams. "Some of the stuff was on us, out of position. We gave them yards and plays. It's stuff that's correctable. It's easily correctable."

The Vikings, who have the league's third-ranked run defense and 11th-ranked rushing offense, gave up 113 yards on the ground and gained only 62. They are also league leaders in sacks, but on Sunday night they didn't get any of their own and gave up three to the Cardinals.

"It ain't puzzling. We saw what we did wrong. We left some plays out there and gave them some plays and you can correct that pretty easy," Williams said. "If guys don't want to give effort, you can get them off the field. Some plays was lack of effort, some plays we were just in the wrong spot."

Whatever the reason, the Cardinals handed the Vikings a 30-17 loss – only the second loss of the season for Minnesota. Players remain confident in their ability and their winning ways.

"We're not going to let one performance define us or get us down. We've put a whole bunch of wins in our bag right now and you can't take those away from us," linebacker Ben Leber said. "We're obviously doing something right and we're a good football team."

The Vikings haven't lost two games a row since the start of the 2008 season, when they lost at Green Bay and to Indianapolis. After those two performances, head coach Brad Childress made a change at quarterback, benching Tarvaris Jackson and inserting Gus Frerotte.

Now with a more accomplished veteran in Brett Favre leading the offense, the Vikings are currently the second-seeded team in the NFC. But Favre had one his worst performances as a Viking, throwing two interceptions – the first time all season he threw multiple interceptions.

But the breakdown was pretty much an all-around team effort. Neither the running game nor passing game was working well on offense. The Cardinals averaged 4.5 yards on 25 rushes and Kurt Warner threw three touchdowns and no interceptions. Even the special teams struggled, giving up a 64-yard punt return.

The fact that a loss like that came during a nationally televised prime-time game made it worse for the players.

"It was frustrating that we came out and didn't play our best ball or not even close to our best ball, especially on prime time it was discouraging," Leber said. "But those things happen and I think we're going to correct everything going into Sunday so we won't have those glitches again."

"We still have four games left and to get to where we're trying to go, we've got to keep winning and stacking them up," Williams said. "We need these next couple games to maybe secure the second seed in the playoffs. We're worrying about Cincinnati now. We get that game, then we'll go on to the next one.

"The confidence is fine. Nobody is in a bad mood. We're disappointed that we lost, but we know that we've got a lot of season left."

INJURY REPORT

The Vikings will be trying to get the most wins under head coach Brad Childress, going for their 11th victory of the season. They could be short-handed in that effort.

Safety Tyrell Johnson (concussion) is doubtful. WR Percy Harvin, who missed Wednesday through Friday practices with migraine headaches, is one of five Vikings listed as questionable, joining T Phil Loadholt (shoulder), CB Karl Paymah (knee), CB Antoine Winfield (foot) and CB Cedric Griffin (neck). Last week, the Vikings had four players listed as questionable (meaning a 50-50 chance) and two of them played.

The Vikings also have eight players listed as probable, meaning it's a "virtual certainty" they will play. They are G Steve Hutchinson (shoulder), RB Adrian Peterson (foot/ankle), WR Bernard Berrian (hamstring), G Anthony Herrera (concussion), T Bryant McKinnie (ankle), TE Visanthe Shiancoe (ribs), DT Pat Williams (foot) and QB Brett Favre (unspecified). Favre apparently practiced fully on Wednesday and Thursday, but was listed as a "coach decision" for being limited on Friday. Being that he's probable and has started 303 consecutive games, he defines a "virtual certainty" to play.

For the Bengals, TE Chase Coffman (knee), DT Domata Peko (knee) and HB Bernard Scott (foot) are out. S Chris Crocker (ankle) and S Kyries Hebert (knee) are questionable. C Jonathan Luigs (back), WR Chad Ochocinco (knee) and Morgan Trent (knee) are probable. Ochocinco was added Friday because he was limited with a knee injury.

WHERE'S THE FOCUS?

The Vikings can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Cincinnati. A win Sunday, combined with a Green Bay Packers loss, would also clinch the second straight NFC North division title for the Vikings. Childress is intent on keeping the focus on a week-to-week basis.

"Certainly the division is one of those goals. We have done a great job of staying week-to-week. God knows that we have our hands full just like last week with a very good football team whose record indicates that," Childress said. "You take care of this week and then you move on. Our focus is solely on the Bengals here."

MUNDANE DRILLS MAKE ALL-PROS

Steve Hutchinson was honored as one of 26 players selected to the USA Football/NFL Players Association All-Fundamentals Team. The all-pro Vikings guard said the drills that he has been running since youth have helped with his success.

"Little mundane stuff, we have a chute over there. I think kids in pee-wee use chutes as an offensive lineman. It forces you to get in there and stay low. There are all kinds of ridiculous-looking drills that you are punching and moving your hands. You look like you're about to teeter over," Hutchinson said. "A lot of these drills are with the purpose of making it look silly, but a lot of offensive line play is reaction and being able to recover. You are going to get beat and somebody is going to knock your hand down and you have to recover. There are a lot of things we do. I would say for the young guys playing that's the foundation you want to set."


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