|Down-and-up Vikings running out of time to start a streak|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 20 November 2007 02:20|
The latest concoction from Minnesota's head coach, ``respondability,'' was a postgame tribute to a successful follow-up to a lopsided loss at Green Bay the week before.
Though the Vikings had four turnovers in the first half and gave up passes of 46, 49, 31 and 28 yards, Sunday's 29-22 victory over Oakland featured a balanced, productive offense plus plenty of pressure and a stiff defense against the run from the front seven.
Now, the challenge for Childress is to get his team to play like that two games in a row. He urged them to bounce back from the embarrassment of that 34-0 defeat by the Packers with a you-never-know mentality that heeded the nothing-is-promised nature of NFL careers.
``That's what it comes down to. It's on us. Coaches give us the game plan every week, but on Sundays it's about us making plays on the field,'' cornerback Antoine Winfield said.
The defense, despite those long completions allowed by the secondary to former teammate Daunte Culpepper, showed some resiliency after giving up 488 total yards the week before. The best part about the performance was the five field goals they forced the Raiders to kick, three of them following lost fumbles.
Minnesota (4-6) gave Justin Fargas no room to run and moved back into first place in the league against the run, with an average of 74.4 yards.
``We all come from rough spots in our life, and we're used to having our back up against the wall and responding to adversity,'' defensive end Ray Edwards said. ``That's what you've got to do every time you get put on a short field: respond to adversity.''
Childress was certainly pleased.
``You can either kick the dirt and say, 'Aw, this is a bad deal, a bad break,' or you can bow up. I thought our defense had that card and I expected them to play that way. They rose up,'' he said.
One of the hooks of the NFL that keeps the interest of fans and analysts is the unpredictability of it all, how teams can play so well one week against a tough opponent and so poorly the next in a game when victory appears nearly imminent.
Inconsistency, however, is typically more of a mark of a not-so-good team than a maddening characteristic of an underperforming unit. The Vikings have their flaws and aren't likely to correct them with only six weeks left, so they'll have to rely on their clear strengths of running the ball and stopping it on the other side - and hope that's good enough.
The next game, a trip to play the Giants in New York, looks like the most difficult matchup remaining. The other road games are against San Francisco and Denver, both teams without winning records, and home games against Detroit, Chicago and Washington feature opponents without any momentum.
Most veterans have a sense of resignation in the schedule each season, realizing that a lot of the time it's how you play, and not who you play.
``You're not going to win every game, unless you're New England,'' Winfield said.
Minnesota's best hope for a strong finish might rest with Tarvaris Jackson, who quietly had his best game as a pro with 17 completions in 22 attempts. Jackson is far from a reliable quarterback at this point, and playing against the Giants on the road with their strong pass rush will be a major test for him.
``It will be good to evaluate him in those confines, within the confines of our offense, and just watch him manage it and play and do the right thing with the football,'' Childress said. ``And yeah, you have to do something. You don't get to play them all at home. You don't get to play them all against the Oakland Raiders. These guys are a 7-3 football team, and found a way to get on a five-game run.''
The Vikings would settle for two in a row, to start.