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Updated: December 19th, 2011 3:45pm
Notebook: Visanthe Shiancoe says 'some guys hung it up' in defeat

Notebook: Visanthe Shiancoe says 'some guys hung it up' in defeat

by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Visanthe Shiancoe said he saw "a lot of effort from a lot of guys," in the Minnesota Vikings' 42-20 loss on Sunday to the New Orleans Saints.

But after a six-second pause, the Vikings tight end admitted he didn't see the necessary effort from all of his teammates. "I would say, you could see some guys hung it up," Shiancoe said. "Not a lot though. Like a very small handful of guys."

Shiancoe said it was "very, very disappointing" to see that happen and made it clear he wants no part of being with a team that could be the worst in franchise history.

The Vikings are 2-12 entering their final two games, meaning they need one victory to equal the 3-13 record that Les Steckel's team finished with in 1984.

"I'm trying to keep this team together anyway I can," Shiancoe said. "Trying to keep the morale going, trying to encourage (quarterback Christian Ponder) as much as possible, encourage every position as much as possible. That's all I can do.

"I'm going to try to do my assignment the best way I can. Keep on running my route, keep on trying to get open as much as possible and just go with the flow."

Shiancoe wasn't going to name any of the players he thought "hung it up" but he said he wouldn't hesitate to talk to guys he didn't feel were giving a full effort.

"No doubt," he said. "You have to somehow influence that. And I will do that. Ain't no games around here. We're grown men around here. ... Can't see nobody slacking off, especially when you give all your effort. That's not right, and that's not going to be accepted."

Shiancoe said there should be plenty of incentive to avoid being the worst team in Vikings history.

"We were just talking about that in the tight end room as a matter of fact, that's a lot of motivation right now," he said. "That's what we talk about in the tight ends room and what we're going to try to do as a group. So we're going to put up that effort as much as possible. We're going to take these next two weeks very, very seriously."

Vote of confidence

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees threw for 412 yards and five touchdowns on Sunday, leaving the Vikings defense ranked 24th overall in the NFL and 30th against the pass.

Speculation is that first-year coordinator Fred Pagac won't be back and other members of the defensive staff also could be in trouble.

But what about the Tampa-2 system the Vikings employ?

Coach Leslie Frazier has long used that system and taught it during his time as the Vikings defensive coordinator.

"I'm confident it can be effective," he said. "But there are definitely some things that we've got to take a look at in the offseason to make sure that we're doing the right things based on the guys that are lining up and playing the Tampa-2 defense.

"We'll have to take a very hard look at our schemes, like we do every offseason, and just see if we're doing the right things. We can't be opposed to tweaking things if that's what you need to do, especially after the season that we've had.

"So we've got to, top to bottom, make sure that we're doing the right things in trying to evaluate our team and our defense in particular and what we need to do personnel-wise to not experience what we're experiencing in 2011."

Frazier said it will be a matter of examining both the scheme and the personnel the Vikings are using.

"This defense has been successful in the past," he said. "We're having a down year for sure this season, but it's been successful and there are still are some teams that are having success with it. We've just got to go back and look at what we're doing and how we're doing it and see if we can do it a whole lot better than we've done it in 2011. But I know it can work."

No regrets

Despite watching Brees throw the ball all over the Metrodome on Sunday and having seen Aaron Rodgers' success with rival Green Bay, Frazier does not question the Vikings' offensive strategy.

The Vikings, of course, are built around Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson and the ground game.

"I know we have the best running back in the game, and we'll get to the point where we'll be a team that can compete with New Orleans and Green Bay," Frazier said. "They've been better than we have this season.

"(I'm) very, very happy that we have Adrian Peterson as our running back and that we can build our offense around Adrian. It's going to be good for our team. It's going to be good for our defense, our offense, our special teams, the fact that we have Adrian as our guy. And it should help our quarterback."

Out of the mix

Cornerback Cedric Griffin did not see action on one defensive snap Sunday after starting 12 of the first 13 games.

Griffin explained afterward that his lack of playing time had been "coordinated" - he would not elaborate - and Frazier said that he, Griffin and vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman would sit down this week to discuss the veteran's role.

"In these final two games, we're going to need him in some form or fashion to hopefully help us," Frazier said. "We were strapped (Sunday), especially when Asher (Allen) went down, it was tough. I've got to sit down and talk with him about these final two games and how he can help us."

Even after Allen left in the first half because of a concussion, Griffin could not get off the sideline.

Griffin was benched in the first quarter of the Vikings' loss on Dec. 11 at Detroit after struggling all season to return from ACL surgery on both knees that he underwent in the past two years.

"(It's) not a lack of trust, but there are some things that he and I have to talk about to make sure that we are on the same page on certain things," Frazier said. "I still have confidence that he can help us in situations. I really do. But he and I need to sit down and talk through some situations."

Asked if Griffin had done something off the field, Frazier said: "(It's) purely what we got to get done on the football field and how we're doing it. He's been good off the field. He's practicing well, even though he's not in the starting lineup. He's doing everything we're asking him to do. But in these final two games, especially with Asher coming off a concussion, we're going to have to work things out so he can help us out."

What happened?

Shiancoe had no receptions in Sunday's game, the first time since Week 1 that has happened. But he wasn't about to say much about the fact rookie Kyle Rudolph had the only two catches by a Vikings tight end on the day. 

"Oh, no, no, no, (I'm) not frustrated," Shiancoe said with a laugh.

Shiancoe said he expected the tight ends would be involved in the game plan, adding that, "the opportunities were there but a lot of things came into effect to stop that."

Asked if there was time to find the tight ends, Shiancoe said: "I'm going to leave that alone. I'm going to leave that alone. ... You guys watch film, you guys seen the game. You guys watch everything, right?"

This is it

Shiancoe is hoping that veteran tight end Jim Kleinsasser returns next season but he doesn't expect that to be the case.

"I think (this) will be," his last season, Shiancoe said. "It's bad that he's going out this way, so we've got to make it as good as possible, you know what I'm saying?"

As for his own future, Shiancoe said he doesn't want to discuss the subject. He will be a free agent after this season.

"I don't want to be any sort of distraction," Shiancoe said. "That's the last thing anybody needs right now." 

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
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