The Vikings enter their bye week with a 7-1 record and fresh off an exciting win over Green Bay that improved their record in the NFC to 5-0 and in the NFC North to 3-0. As a result, the Vikings sit atop the division with a 2.5-game lead over both Chicago and Green Bay and also with tie-breaker priority over the Packers following a season sweep of the green and gold.
With all of that good news in mind, it’s also important to note that the bye week comes at a good time for the Vikings. They are half-way through the regular season, but when you add in a 4-week preseason, training camp, injuries and the high-profile nature of the team, you can see this Vikings team has been through a lot already in 2009.
“It’s the half way point of the season and for us I think it’s great to keep that in perspective,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said. “It is probably good to have the latest bye in the League here. You don’t hear many coaches say that it doesn’t come at a good time. It does come at a good time just from the standpoint that these guys have been going at it for a very long time with the four preseason games and two weeks of training camp.”
Although a key defensive player – Antoine Winfield – has missed the previous 2 games and the Vikings had 11 players on last week’s injury report, Childress said his team goes into the bye pretty healthy and will benefit from the week off.
“We are reasonably healthy,” the head coach said. “Individuals can get healthier. We have a handful of guys that will be staying here and trying to get healthiest this week.”
Aside from Winfield, players such as WR Bernard Berrian (hamstring), QB Brett Favre and LBs E.J. Henderson (knee) and Ben Leber (calf) will certainly benefit from an extra week of rest.
As for players who’ve managed to stay off the injury report, they too need the break to freshen their bodies and their minds for the 2nd half of the regular season and hopefully a playoff push.
“Whether they are going to sit in a deer stand or sit on the beach or contemplate their navel, whatever it is that they care to do, they are free to do as long as they are back here on Monday,” Childress explained. “It’s really a good group of guys. They have tremendous chemistry together. They play for each other. They play with each other. It’s a different, varied group of guys as all you guys know that are in the locker room every day.
“It’s a joy to come to work with these guys every day, and even though they need a time off, I know when time is up they will be anxious to get back and get on with it.”
Tags: Antoine Winfield, Ben Leber, Bernard Berrian, E.J. Henderson
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