Players step up effort at Vikings camp after coach calls out defense
EAGAN, Minn. - A day after head coach Mike Zimmer called out defensive players for underperforming at Vikings training camp, players were answering the call.
Thursday, Zimmer questioned the defensive squad, wondering if success in recent seasons had led to complacency as training camp got underway.
"The offense has a lot of grit and fight," Zimmer said. "And I haven't seen much out of the defense yet. So, that's where my major concern is at this point."
Zimmer added, "They need to get more competitive... We need to come out here and compete every day. All the situations, the offense has won every time. If they want to be great on defense, they got to play with a chip on their shoulder, and I haven't seen it yet."
Zimmer's criticisms seem to have had an impact on Friday, with defenders making some big plays. Defensive end Everson Griffen was among the players who seemed to take the message to heart. He also acknowledged that, as a veteran, he has to lead by example.
"You know, the young guys, they're getting better each day," Griffen said. "As a veteran, you got to make everybody good. You got to be able to count on anybody in any situation. We play 16 games -- hopefully more than that; we got to start off with 16 -- and this game is a 100 percent injury rate. You got to get the young guys ready to step in and be able to play any time."