Vikings’ frustration bubbles up

Published 9:43 am Monday, November 22, 2010


MINNEAPOLIS — Brett Favre snapped at his offensive coordinator after throwing an interception.

Ray Edwards and Chris Cook jawed at each other on the bench.

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Visanthe Shiancoe barked at everyone within earshot.

From helmet-throwing, to arm-crossing to full-throated chants of “Fire Childress!” in the stands, a season’s worth of losing and underachieving finally bubbled to the surface in the Minnesota Vikings’ 31-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

“That’s atrocious, man,” Shiancoe said. “That’s bad football. And that’s something that’s embarrassing to me. It’s embarrassing to the organization and I’m pretty sure it’s embarrassing to everybody.”

After getting picked off by Tramon Williams in the second quarter, Favre trudged back to the sidelines where Darrell Bevell met him. The two have been close for years, and Bevell was trying to calm Favre down with the Vikings already down 10-3 in a crucial division game.

Favre shrugged off the moment, saying it wasn’t the first time it’s happened.

“If I didn’t care and Darrell didn’t care, we may have been laughing over there,” Favre said.

Cook, a rookie second-round pick, had a tough day on the field and on the sidelines. He was burned for passes of 47 and 39 yards and gave up a touchdown reception to James Jones, all in the first half. So Edwards, a defensive end who spent all day chasing Aaron Rodgers around, tried to motivate him in an exchange that the young cornerback didn’t take very well.

“Just talking to him,” Edwards said. “If I ain’t doing my job, get on me. If we’re not doing the job, we take it up in front of each other in our room. We tell each other to step up.”

Even as the losing and scandals mounted through the first 10 weeks of the season, the Vikings could at least take pride in their ability to hold things together in the locker room and on the sidelines.

They are a veteran group with good chemistry that took heart in competing to the final whistle and not letting in-fighting and bickering overcome them during what was shaping up as a miserable season.

The strong foundation they built through the last few years appears to finally be cracking under the weight of Super Bowl expectations that almost certainly will not be met this season. The Vikings (3-7) almost assuredly have to win out to even have a prayer of making the postseason.

“Everybody’s competitive out there,” defensive end Jared Allen said. “Tempers get going. Emotions get flying and everybody’s trying to do something to spark that little energy to come back and get the thing right. The bottom line comes down to doing your job and making the plays you’re supposed to make.”

As the Packers started to pull away in the second half, the outward displays of discontent only increased. Shiancoe, Adrian Peterson and receiver Sidney Rice were among several players who were seen throwing their helmets in disgust.

Shiancoe said he didn’t think every player on the roster gave their maximum effort and Peterson didn’t disagree with him.

“It’s a vibe that I had,” Peterson said. “I just really didn’t feel it collectively. It will be something that will be addressed. I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels that way. We still have six games left so we have to come out with some wins. All wins.”

A disillusioned crowd, drown out by chants of “Go Pack Go!” for most of the game from the thousands of Packers fans in attendance, finally got a loud “Fire Childress!” chant going early in the third quarter before heading for the exits early in a blowout that few saw coming.

Owner Zygi Wilf stormed out of the Metrodome without taking questions, which surely will lead to more speculation about coach Brad Childress’s job status.

Shiancoe, Peterson and Allen — three respected veterans in the locker room — all stood up for Childress and said the players are more to blame for the team’s struggles.

“You gotta make plays, no matter who is at the helm,” Allen said. “The bottom line is that players have to make plays and we sure as hell didn’t make too many plays today.”

Shiancoe was the most outspoken, challenging every player on the team — himself included — to look in the mirror and focus on playing better.

“All I’m worried about is me and I’m not packing it in,” Shiancoe said. “And if I see somebody packing it in I’m going to call them out on it. That’s all there is to it. Don’t do that around me.”