And now a few words from that master of motivation, Jared Allen. The challenge for Jared is simple: get his Vikings teammates to stop feeling sorry for themselves and go play some football. As always, Jared has a unique approach to attacking this problem. He believes the solution is for his teammates to, in his own eloquent words, “embrace the suck.”
What exactly does this mean? Only Jared himself can possibly explain:
“I try to keep a positive mindset and not let my circumstances determine my joy and my happiness so that’s kind of the approach I take,” said on NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk Thursday. “I’ve kind of been telling guys all week, you got to we got two ways to look at this, we can either go in the tank and say, ‘Hey its going to be an early offseason’ and we can hopefully win a few games here and there and people can start playing for themselves, or we can take this upon the group as a team and we got a chance to do something special.
“You got a chance to come back from a 1-4 start. It’s not like we don’t have the talent, you know this team won a year ago, so we know how to win, we just got to get it done and I think if guys take that approach and to be honest it doesn’t feel like 1-4, guys this week have been having a good time and if you take that approach and say, ‘We got a chance to do something epic here, let’s embrace the suck, let’s embrace this and move forward’ and it starts with one win and I mean you look at teams throughout the history of the league, I mean the Giants they sneak into the playoffs a few years back and win a Super Bowl.”
Jared’s way of stating things is a bit indelicate but you can see where he’s coming from. He’s saying guys need to pull together as a team and not let things spin out of control and get into that selfish mode where you’re just worrying about your own stats and your own contract. He’s trying to keep the mood light and not let guys get into a self-pitying mindset where they’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Jared’s been down this road before a few times with Viking teams, in 2010 when everything fell apart and in 2011 when nothing went right from the very beginning. He knows how fast things can snowball. He also realizes that the team is going out there playing panicky football and that’s not how you turn your fortunes around. You turn it around by playing loose the way Ron Rivera had his Panthers playing last week.
The Vikes need to go into New York with a “nothing to lose” mentality, or in Jared’s words, an “embrace the suck” mentality. If they go in with an “every man for himself” mentality or play butt-clenchingly tight like last week, then they will be 1-5 and it really will be too late to turn it around.