Skip to main content

News | Minnesota Vikings –

Captain Munnerlyn: 'Get Back to Vikings-Style Defense'

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –For the first time in 72 games, Captain Munnerlyn watched his team play on television rather than taking the field.

"It was so tough for me to watch the game," said Munnerlyn, who was out of commission Sunday with an ankle injury.

The game at Washington marked the first contest Munnerlyn has missed since Week 17 of the 2011 season, the sixth-longest streak of any active cornerback. Observing from the (figurative) sideline was difficult enough; being unable to help the Vikings stop a four-game losing streak made it that much harder.

Munnerlyn said he felt like he "saw everything" from a defensive perspective.

"I know the calls they were in," Munnerlyn said. "I haven't missed a game in a very long time, so to sit there and watch the game, I was very upset.

"I wanted those guys to win so bad, and I couldn't do anything about it," he added. "I kind of got mad here and there; I probably kicked some boxes over or punched some boxes here and there. It was very tough, a tough situation to watch."

His comrades in the locker room share Munnerlyn's emotion and frustration. After leading the division through the first half of the season, Minnesota (5-4) is now second place behind the Lions, who have the same record but hold an edge over the Vikings after defeating them last week.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's message to his players has been to maintain their focus and remember they're not out of contention and still have seven games remaining in the regular season. Munnerlyn said the most important thing is getting back to the basics and getting a win in the books.

"We just have to go out there and play our style of football," Munnerlyn said. "We have to go back to the fundamentals.

"We have to calm down a little," Munnerlyn added. "One guy who has a job and his job is to stay outside, he has to stay outside so the other guy can come and make the play. We just have to go back to that, go back to the drawing board and get back to playing Vikings-style defense."

When asked if being bumped to second place lit a fire beneath the team to kick into gear, Munnerlyn said a lack of gumption isn't the problem.

"I think the fire's been lit, to be honest with you. It's been lit, but we just don't know how to put the fire out right now," said Munnerlyn, who turned the focus to the upcoming matchup with Arizona.

At 4-4-1, the Cardinals are also second in the NFC West division but sit two games behind the 6-2-1 Seahawks.

"They're trying to get back into their division race, and we're trying to take over our division," said Munnerlyn, who hopes to be back in the lineup on Sunday. "So we have to go out there, we have to play fast, we have to play physical, we have to get back. We have to put this fire out and start winning football games around here."

Zimmer said Munnerlyn ran on Monday and has a chance to return this week.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.