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Vikings Step Out Of Character In Loss

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 7, 2009 – 5:20 pm

For most of this season we’ve spent all day Monday and Tuesday following Sunday games rehashing what took place in yet another Vikings victory. But for just the 2nd time in 13 weeks (including the bye week), the Vikings showed up to Winter Park on a Monday coming off a loss.

As a result, the rehashing isn’t as fun. And when you add in the heart-breaking leg injury suffered by LB E.J. Henderson, the motivation to look back dwindles even more.

Fortunately, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress did a nice job taking a look back at Sunday night’s loss during his regular day-after-the-game press conference with reporters at Winter Park. As a result, we’ll examine what he said and we’ll also take a look at just a few more developments from the loss and then we’ll quickly turn the page to next week’s game instead of spending another day talking about last week’s loss.

“Just as far as I was concerned, it was really a complete step out of character for our football team,” Childress said. “I would tell you that whether you listed offense, defense, special teams (first). Whether you want to talk about turnovers, big plays against, big plays first, turnovers next, lack of explosives (plays) on our part, explosives on their part, we haven’t seen that. That was disappointing.”

Childress is correct in that Arizona out-dueled the Vikings in all of those facets of the game, and also in many others. The Cardinals were better in the return game, rushed the passer better, protected the passer better and, as Childress mentioned immediately after the game, had the “it” factor.

“There was a relentlessness by them and a desperate side to them that I didn’t see from us,” Childress explained. “That is very difficult to start up once you are in the fray.

“I thought that they did a great job and they took it to us in all three phases of that. That is something that in the long run I am accountable for, and part of the accountability part is identifying it and having everybody own it, coaches players, players coaches, and then learn from it going forward. I have no reason to believe that our group won’t do that and move forward.”

A few other issues Childress addressed on Monday…

– Henderson had surgery on his leg last night and stayed overnight in the intensive care unit at a Phoenix hospital. Childress said he wasn’t aware of specifics pertaining to why he was in an intensive care unit compared to a regular room or how long of a recovery process his LB would have, but he did say that Henderson is in “good spirits” and in “good shape” and that he’ll likely return to Minnesota sometime either in the middle of this week or late this week.

– Rookie LB Jasper Brinkley will be tabbed to step in for Henderson initially, Childress acknowledged. Brinkley had a fine training camp and Childress said he thought the University of South Carolina product was one of the hardest hitters coming out of college during last April’s draft. Childress said Brinkley will be “just fine” and also suggested the team will take a look at other players who might be available to add depth to the LB corps.

As for Brinkley, he’s looking forward to the opportunity to play and prove to his teammates that he belongs.

“I’m definitely comfortable with the scheme,” Brinkley told reporters today in the locker room. “In training camp it took a little adjustment, coming from another defense. From training camp to now, though, it’s all settled in with me.

I’m still praying for E.J. and I know he’s going to call me because we’re very close; he’s my mentor. I know he’s going to be pulling for me. I’m going to go out there and play hard and not let another person out-work me. I’ll prepare well.”

– DT Kevin Williams was asked what jumped out at him as he watched film from Sunday night’s loss to the Cardinals: “We messed up a few things. If you look at it, it looks like they just beat us up and down the field, but some of the stuff was on us being out of position. We gave them yards and plays. It’s stuff that’s correctable; it’s easily correctable. We saw that today and we’ll fix it this week.”


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Somber Vikings Return To Winter Park

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 7, 2009 – 10:54 am

The mood around the Vikings is somber Monday morning and the reason goes far beyond their disappointing 30-17 to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night.

LB E.J. Henderson was seriously injured during the game, fracturing his femur in a collision with teammate Jamarca Sanford as he chased Cardinals RB Tim Hightower.

This NFL.com account describes the circumstances and immediate aftermath of the injury.

Henderson is a team captain and is looked upon not only as a standout defensive player but also as an emotional rock both on and off the field and that’s why his loss will stick with the team for longer than usual.

It’s no problem going back to work after a loss, especially when the loss still leaves you at 10-2 and in prime position for a 1st-round bye in the playoffs. But the seriousness of Henderson’s injury is another animal and it will be up to the other leaders and veterans on this team – and there is a locker room full of them – to get the team to move on and concentrate on what’s ahead.

As for Henderson, he spent the night in Arizona and underwent surgery. His brother, Erin, who was inactive for the game, stayed with him, as did a member of the Vikings athletic training staff.

We’ll have more updates on Henderson’s status as they become available so stay tuned to vikings.com and the vikings.com Blog for those.


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