Dan Campbell sounded as if he was in the same condition Minnesota fans were as he watched the Vikings' loss to Philadelphia on Monday night.
"I fell over backwards in my chair drunk after the second half," he said Tuesday. "I couldn't even take notes anymore. Woke up, couldn't read my notes. But I'm back in this morning, took some aspirin, we're good."
That's not Dan Campbell, your next-door neighbor. That's Motor City Dan Campbell, or MCDC, the coach of the Detroit Lions. He is bringing his team into U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday to show the Vikings that it is no longer the NFC North doormat.
And Campbell is doing it unlike any other coach in the NFL, with passionate speeches, unvarnished sound bites and self-deprecating humor. He's built like a tight end — because he was one for 10 years, including the final three with the Lions. When he speaks, he sounds like Jeff Bridges as the Dude in "The Big Lebowski."
"Man, I got a plan," he said to his players while explaining why they were in pads the first day of practice. "I swear to you, all I think about is you guys. That's all I think about, man."
This dude abides by being as transparent in front of his players as he can and breaking down occasionally during news conferences as he discusses their journey toward relevancy. He also approached owner Sheila Ford Hamp about getting a pet lion to hang around the practice facility. Thankfully, that request was turned down.
Campbell's coaching staff is full of NFL experience and stole the show at times during this season's "Hard Knocks" series on HBO, as assistant head coach Duce Staley verbally jousted with defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn during practices.
MCDC has no problem with that if their bashes don't blur the team's goals. The Lions enter Sunday 1-1, tied for first place in the division for the first time since Week 4 of 2017. In Week 2, heading into their victory over Washington, they were the betting favorites for the first time in 24 weeks. They have scored 71 points, tied for second most in the NFL.
So Sunday is a bigger challenge for the Vikings than you think. There's evidence that this big lug and this cadre of trash-talking coaches are getting through to the players. They believe that Campbell is sincere about how much he cares about them, and how passionate he is about building a winner. And they are responding.
While Detroit is scheming ways to slow down the Vikings' offense — they need defensive linemen Alim McNeill and Isaiah Buggs to check Dalvin Cook in particular — the Vikings will have their hands full with the Lions' attack. Quarterback Jared Goff has thrown six touchdown passes and just one interception. Running back D'Andre Swift has rushed 20 times for 200 yards and a touchdown and has caught a touchdown pass.
Then there's wide receiver Amon-Ra Julian Heru J. St. Brown — full name — who has 17 receptions for 180 yards and three touchdowns. He's also an excellent blocker for the running game. And Harrison Smith will miss this game due to a concussion.
The Vikings should be aware of what's in store for them. They needed a walkoff 54-yard field goal from Greg Joseph to beat the Lions 19-17 at home in Week 5 last season, then lost at Detroit during Week 13 on a walkoff touchdown pass from Goff to St. Brown.
The Purple is smarting after their 24-7 loss to the Eagles, which, by the way, does not constitute adversity. It was a loss. Corrections are required, not an overhaul.
Sunday isn't an easy one. These Lions are restoring their roar.