Jon Krawczynski / AP Sports Writer, Published September 20 2011
Urgency high for McNabb, 0-2 VikingsEDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – The Minnesota Vikings heard plenty of boos at the Metrodome on Sunday as they left the field following a stunning collapse against Tampa Bay that dropped them to 0-2.
Coach Leslie Frazier had a simple message for them on Monday as he revisited losing a 17-0 lead in a 24-20 defeat.
“My only words to our fans are be patient,” Frazier said. “We’re going to get there. I have great belief that we will.”
Donovan McNabb has already made it clear he can’t afford to wait. Even though McNabb insists that he thinks he has plenty of football left in him, the 34-year-old quarterback definitely feels a sense of urgency in his 13th season.
After the offense struggled mightily in the Vikings’ season-opening loss to San Diego, McNabb was asked if all it was going to take was a little time for the unit to come together.
“That’s something you say when you’re young,” McNabb said. “Do I have time to sit back and let it grow? No. I want it to happen now, and that’s the way that I prepare. We prepare to win now.”
And that was before the Vikings dropped their second straight game, digging themselves a daunting hole with the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions off to fast starts in the NFC North.
McNabb, who led the Eagles to five NFC title games and a Super Bowl appearance in 11 years in Philadelphia, came to Minnesota looking to rejuvenate his career after a poor season in Washington.
He agreed to take a pay cut as part of his trade from the Redskins to the Vikings, who he saw as a team filled with talent that just needed a leader on offense.
In his first two games in purple, he’s watched the Vikings give away big first-half leads.
“I think it’s now the time for everyone to really challenge themselves and find out what they are doing individually wrong and get it corrected so that we won’t have these problems later in the season,” McNabb said on Sunday.
McNabb passed for just 39 yards in Week 1, but he looked better against the Bucs, completing 18 for 30 for 228 yards. But he bounced a throw in front of Visanthe Shiancoe in the end zone that forced the Vikings to settle for a field goal and said after the game there were several plays he’d like to have back.
Players and coaches lamented the mental mistakes, with penalties on Jared Allen and Brian Robison hurting the defense. Receiver Percy Harvin said the offense lined up in the wrong formation a couple of times to hurt their production in the second half.
For a guy who wants to show everyone that the Eagles and Redskins were wrong for giving up on him, it’s not the way he envisioned starting the season.
“We’re definitely close,” Harvin said. “But at the same time we’re far because we keep making the same little mistakes that keep being huge at the end of games.”
Now the Vikings host the vastly improved Lions on Sunday, and a loss there could be a backbreaker.
“For me, the attitude is it’s a must-win situation,” McNabb said. “Obviously playing in conference play, it’s very important. We have a tough opponent coming in with a little confidence. This is an opportunity to kind of get back on the horse and put ourselves in position in our division to where we want to be.”
Frazier hammered that sense of urgency point home to his players on Monday as they studied their performance in the game against Tampa Bay. He emphasized the good things they did to build such a big lead in their dominant first half and said they had to be smarter in situational football – recognizing the plays that are there to be made in specific parts of the game.
“The sense of urgency has nothing to do with where our record is now,” Frazier said. “But the fact we’re playing a divisional opponent at home. We just got to find a way this weekend.”