During the preseason we heard Jared Allen speak about his general disdain for the term "rebuilding year", saying that he wants to win now, and expects that everyone who suits up in a Viking uniform to feel the same.
Now another high-level vet is echoing that sentiment. Normally you don't hear much out of Antoine Winfield, who while certainly being one of the highest level players the Vikings have had on defense over the last few years lacks the DE's bombastic personality. This week in the locker room, Winfield made a rallying-cry speech to teammates, coaches, and apparently even front office personnel, urging them to not just look to the future, but to look at the now.
While the specifics of the speech aren't coming out, and probably won't ("What's said in that team room is for our ears only", Jared Allen said), its sounding like it hit home. There shouldn't be much speculation on why Winfield felt it necessary to make the speech: let's face it, we barely gutted out our first victory against the Jaguars (who went on the be slaughtered the next game against the Texans), and the loss to the Colts surely still stings. On top of that, Winfield knows his playing time is coming to a close- being, after all, the oldest member of the Vikings.
Whatever was said sure sounds like it was well-received. From the younger guys like Mistral Raymond to other old hand vets like Jared Allen, the players are speaking positively about the speech, saying it was good and needed to be heard.
Let's see if that's the shot in the a** the Vikings need. While there's not a lot of hope for the Vikings to beat the 49ers this week, there's also absolutely no reason this team needs to just roll over and take it. This team has talent, and it has potential. Whether that potential can equate into what would be an even bigger upset than the Cardinals topping the Patriots in Tom Brady's first ever season opener loss at home, I don't know.
But I'm thinking Winfield might be recalling a particular game two years ago, one in which he unleashed the wrath of hell- not only the first Tuesday game since polio was still a concern, but also the biggest upset in 2010, when the Vikings stunned the Eagles. Heck, if it could happen THEN, in that insane season...
Winfield surely thinks it can be done again, and he's apparently got the team believing right there with him. And I don't know about you, but I don't feel like arguing with Antoine Winfield.