EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –The Vikings this week are game planning for the Redskins, but part of that plan has nothing to do with Washington.
Everson Griffen said Wednesday that the Vikings are looking to return to form.
"The biggest thing for us to do right now is to get back to practice and get back to the way we [played] – running to the ball, finishing the plays, finishing the rushes," Griffen said. "Just doing all the right things that we did when we were hot in the first five games."
After losing three consecutive games, Griffen is telling his teammates they don't need to panic, but they do need to right the ship.
"Would we like to be 7-1, 8-0? Of course. But that's not reality right now," Griffen said. "The reality is that we have to go back to work and find a way to get back on track."
The defensive end pointed out that Minnesota remains atop the NFC North division with its 5-3 record, but he said it's time for the team to separate itself from the competition.
"We have to get hot again," Griffen said. "These are the months that count – November, December. Now it's time for us to find a way to get back hot and find a way to win."
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer on Wednesday told Twin Cities media members that he zeroed in on a number of positive takeaways in last Sunday's overtime loss to the Lions.
Minnesota showed a tenacity that Zimmer recognized.
"If we'll continue to look like the football team that we've kind of developed, we're going to win games," Zimmer said. "We didn't win the game the other day, but I was proud of the team, the way they fought, the way they competed and the way they played. I just felt like during the game, they looked like my football team has looked.
"I'm not the most readily acceptable to losing, but there are so many things about the process of trying to get wins and the process of how you're doing things," Zimmer continued. "And I just felt like with all the stuff that went on the last couple weeks, for them to go out and act like my football team again, finally, I felt it was a good thing."
Griffen said Zimmer has been communicating with the team "the way a head coach should" – Zimmer doles out some tough love, but he also focuses on all the positives he's seen.
According to Griffen, Minnesota needs to stop hurting itself with penalties and preventable mistakes.
"We just have to get back to doing a lot of good things and not all the wrong things," Griffen said. "The biggest thing for us is just to home in and go back to what we know – running to the ball, being physical, being smart players, outworking people, out-hustling people and just doing all the right things on a daily basis."
The Vikings totaled 15 sacks in their first three games, including eight at Carolina in Week 3. Since then, opponents have often tried quick passes, as well as chipping and using extra protection, allowing a combined six sacks in the past five games.
Zimmer said Thursday he believes the Vikings can be a little more aggressive in the second half of the season.
"We're kind of feeling our way a little bit in the pass rush," Zimmer said. "We're getting a lot of chips and a lot of extra protection, we're getting a lot of quick things out so guys are kind of thinking a little bit too much. We're trying to clear that up."