The Vikings normally don't practice on Mondays, but this isn't a normal week.
Minnesota (8-4) will set out to prove that Sunday's showing against Seattle was an abnormality from how it will to in the final four games of the season, starting with a trip to Arizona (10-2) on Thursday Night Football.
The 38-7 loss to the Seahawks tied for the third-worst final margin in team history, but players have returned to Winter Park to move past it as quickly as possible and repair lapses on offense, defense and special teams.
Ben Goessling of ESPN.com wrote "the loss, and the tight turnaround, should stamp out any trace of overconfidence that coach Mike Zimmer and older players like Chad Greenway seemed to detect last week.
*The linebacker alluded to some instances in practice that were uncharacteristic of a typically focused Vikings team. And after the game, Zimmer said, "We're not quite as good as what we think we are." *
The Vikings opened the game without starters Linval Joseph (foot) and Andrew Sendejo (knee). They also lost starters Anthony Barr (groin) and Harrison Smith (hamstring) in the first quarter before balance became so skewed with a little help from what Goessling called a "bizarre" personal foul against Brian Robison on a tackle of Russell Wilson that helped Seattle's second TD drive.
But it's important not to miss what happened here. Even if the Vikings had been healthy and up to the task on defense Sunday, and even if they hadn't had some dubious calls go against them, they would still have to sort out an offense that wasn't good enough to stand up to the Legion of Boom after Adrian Peterson was controlled early. This offense has struggled all year to stand up for itself when Peterson is stopped.
Like 24 minutes
Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press also noted the need the Vikings have for a quick turnaround, writing, "The 24-hour rule this week might need to be more like 24 minutes."
"We can't let (Sunday's) loss become two," Zimmer said.
Zimmer immediately went to work after the defeat on preparing for the Cardinals. The Vikings will practice Monday and Tuesday before flying Wednesday to Arizona.
"We've got a quick game, so we have no choice (but to move on)," said cornerback Terence Newman. "It's one of those things where you've got to go to work (Monday) and you've got less than the 24-hour rule. I'm just hoping the guys will be a little mad (and stay that way) until Thursday night after our game."
Tom Pelissero of USA TODAY Sports noted that the Vikings had an additional challenge that's been added to Wilson's repertoire after appearances in the past two Super Bowls.
*He's playing on script. He's getting the ball out on time. He's trusting his receivers and pulling the trigger without seeing them come open first. *
Pelissero noted that Wilson still showed elusiveness in escaping defenders, but added, "this new dynamic – an offense that's really an offense, rather than a series of scramble drills surrounding the pounding of Marshawn Lynch – is what has the Seahawks suddenly looking so primed to make a push for a third straight NFC title."
Sub becomes a hero
The Seahawks were without Lynch, but rookie Thomas Rawls channeled his own "Beast Mode" against a Vikings run defense that dropped from 20 to 22 after Sunday's outing. Rawls rushed for 101 yards on 19 carries.
Mark Craig of the Star Tribune wrote the Vikings struggles in defending the run have shown up in all four losses this season.
*Sunday was no exception. Seattle took turns pounding on and dancing away from Vikings defenders for 173 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries (4.8 yards per carry). *
"We were just on our heels all day," linebacker Chad Greenway said. "I felt like that on the field. Just kind of trying to react to what they were doing and not being up to speed with it. We just never got comfortable out there. We missed a lot of tackles."
In four losses this season, the Vikings have allowed 167.8 rushing yards per game, compared to an average of 89.9 in their eight wins.