The message inside the Vikings locker room was very clear after the 40-3 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Luckily for the Vikings, that shouldn’t be very difficult as they host the Patriots on Thanksgiving. There won’t be much time to sulk on the heels of a 37-point beatdown on national television. Not with legendary coach Bill Belichick coming to town in a few days.
“It’s certainly a disappointing outcome,” quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “We’ve got to find a way moving forward to get wins and play much better than we did tonight.”
Asked about the quick turnaround this week, receiver Adam Thielen said he’s glad the Vikings play again in a few days. He wants to rid himself of the sour taste. He doesn’t want to wait until next weekend.
“These are the weeks we want to get back on the field as quickly as possible and go play a game,” Thielen said. “It will be good to get back on the field and be able to show again who we really are.”
There were stretches throughout the the game on Sunday when the Vikings were unrecognizable. They couldn’t get anything going on offense, defense or special teams.
“You’re kind of like, ‘What’s going on?’ ” Thielen said. “We didn’t do the things that have helped us win games. I think we kind of expected that we would find a way to win because we’ve been doing that. Sometimes these games are good to kind of wake up a little bit and realize we have to bring it every single week.”
Though the players took accountability for the loss postgame, coach Kevin O’Connell did, too, noting how he didn’t do a good enough job. He added that the next few days are a huge opportunity for the Vikings to look inward. They have to rely on each other, learn from their mistakes and turn the page.
“We will look back on this and we will be able to see how we handled it moving forward,” O’Connell said. “That will ultimately tell the story of our 2022 season. We’re not going to let this affect us other than make sure we know tonight wasn’t good enough and we’ve got to get a lot better in a hurry. Looking to Thursday as a great opportunity to get right back at it.”
Logistically, this week will be much different as the Vikings will have less time to prepare for the Patriots. They usually practice on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before a game. They won’t have that luxury with the game being contested on Thanksgiving.
“We know that’s not who we are,” Thielen said of the loss before starting the process of moving on. “The truth is we got our butts kicked. The truth is also that we’re 8-2 and we’re in a good position. We have to move on quickly and go back to work.”