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Rufus Bess shares perspective on what it's like to be on a slumping Vikings team

WCCO digital update: Evening of Oct. 1, 2023
WCCO digital update: Evening of Oct. 1, 2023 01:24

PLYMOUTH, Minn. —With the Minnesota Vikings taking on the Carolina Panthers Sunday, we decided to talk to a former Vikings player who is from South Carolina.

Rufus Bess is now an assistant coach for the Robbinsdale Armstrong High School football team

"I still believe in the talent and the coaching staff that [the Vikings] have, and I truly feel like we'll win the division again and take it from there," Bess said.

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A bold statement, even with Sunday's win. But Bess knows from experience. Teams can hit slumps. Bess was a defensive back in the NFL for nine years, and spent his last six with the Vikings.

The 1987 team he was on had a three-game losing streak, and they lost four in a five-game span. They ended up going 8-7 in the regular season but made it all the way to the conference championship game. How does a team turn it around like that? 

Rufus Bess WCCO

"I think they have the people on the team that can do that. They have enough veteran players, enough camaraderie with the coaching staff," he said.

Bess' assessment of new Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores? Patience.

"I just think it's taken a little bit more time than we thought it would, but I do like like his style of play," he said. "I've watched him in Miami, I watched him when he was at Pittsburgh, and I think he'll do the job."

But for a guy with a few picks in his NFL career, the best pressing question for Bess is how would he defend the class of the current NFL: Justin Jefferson?

"He's so capable of catching anything that come in his area. So from my perspective, you know, I'd have to give him his respect and make sure that I tackle him when he catch the ball," he said. "And when I get a chance to make a play on him, make a play on him."

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