When a team loses its starting quarterback and its starting running back and has other injuries here and there – as the Minnesota Vikings have endured this season – it would be easy for that team to stumble, to founder, to mail it in and play for next season.
The Vikings (5-0) haven’t done that. In fact, they’re the only unbeaten team in the league.
How does a team to do that? Is it players? Is it coaches? Is it something else entirely?
“It’s a combination of everything,” Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “We love each other in this locker room. We’re going to do whatever it takes. We all signed up for this, and we’re all in this train together. The train is going to keep moving no matter what, and we know that. We know we bring guys in that are good enough to start and who are good enough to contribute. I feel like Coach Zimmer (and general manager) Rick Spielman, they do a good job of bringing guys in who want to compete and who want to be great. That’s the secret to the madness.”
The Vikings have not lost since their crushing 10-9 Wild Card loss to the Seahawks this past January. They haven’t forgotten that feeling, either.
“Since that last game that we lost, we all talked about it, we all said what we had to do, and right now, that’s what we’re trying to do,” Joseph said. “We’re trying to not have that feeling ever again. I think that after that last loss, it really (gave us an idea) of how good we can be if we really stick to it and commit to it 110 percent.”
The Vikings play their next two games on the road – at Philadelphia (3-2) this Sunday and at Chicago (1-6) on Oct. 31 – but are a perfect 3-0 in their new stadium. They beat the Packers 17-14 in their U.S. Bank Stadium opener and have defeated the Giants and Texans by a combined 32 points.
“Winning in that stadium is a beautiful thing,” Joseph said. “We just want to continue to keep doing that.”
Joseph, 28, has 25 tackles, 3.0 sacks and one forced fumble this season. Joseph, who won a Super Bowl with the Giants, has never been named a Pro Bowler, but that could change this season.
“I love helping my team win,” he said. “I’ll do everything to help this team win.”