Dave Campbell / AP Sports Writer, Published December 05 2010
Frazier hopes first game as interim coach in front of home crowd goes well
With the “Fire Childress!” chants hopefully retired, the Vikings (4-7) hope to get their fans riled up again – in a good way – when they host the Buffalo Bills in Leslie Frazier’s first home game as the interim replacement for Childress.
“Our fans are going to be huge in our success on Sunday, all the way through,” Frazier said. “I’m hoping that if we face adversity, that noise doesn’t wane.”
The Metrodome, now named Mall of America Field, has been notoriously helpful to the Vikings over the years. Even with the playoffs a near-impossibility, there are three chances left in 2010 to distract and disrupt the opposing offense and feed off that loud crowd, provided there’s still reason to cheer.
“We plan on earning it. We’re asking. I’m begging. Whatever it takes. We’re going to show that we’re worthy of it by our play,” said Frazier, who has mentioned often this week his desire for the din.
Players haven’t exactly appreciated the boos they’ve heard at home during this disappointing season, but they understand.
“They pay a lot of money for those tickets to come and watch us play, and they expect us to go out there and win,” cornerback Antoine Winfield said. “I feel their side of it, but we’re trying. We’re working hard, and the ball just hasn’t been bouncing our way.”
After the low point of a 31-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Vikings used the fresh-start energy from the widely respected Frazier’s takeover to beat the Washington Redskins 17-13 on the road. The pressure is off, at least, even though the failure to perform up to those Super Bowl aspirations can’t be forgotten.
“It’s just how it falls sometimes,” Bills wide receiver Lee Evans said. “They do have a tremendous amount of talent over there, and you can’t discount that regardless of what their record is.”
The Bills (2-9) are eliciting the same kind of quotes, with four losses in their last six games by three points each. Three of them were in overtime, including last week’s dagger against the Pittsburgh Steelers when wide receiver Steve Johnson dropped the would-be winning touchdown in the end zone.
“That’s going to mean this game he’s probably going to be catching everything,” said Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, who had a problem hanging onto the ball in 2007. “I know he’s going to go back to work because nobody likes to be seen like that.”