Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 12/14/11
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Jim Kleinsasser has spent his entire 13-year career with the Minnesota Vikings after being a second-round pick in 1999. Kleinsasser has witnessed some extreme ups-and-downs during his career, but, like the rest of the 2011 Vikings, he doesn't have much interest in having his name be part of the lowest of lows in franchise history. At 2-11 with three games remaining, Minnesota is dangerously close to setting a team record for fewest wins in a 16-game schedule, which was set in 1984 when the Vikings finished 3-13 in Les Steckel's lone season as head coach. When his playing career is done, Kleinsasser figures he might stay in the Twin Cities. He hopes living in infamy isn't part of his post-playing days. "This is mythirteenth year," said Kleinsasser, the longest-tenured member of the team. "I'm going to be living here. I think it's fairly important that my name isn't a part of that. I think this team, each guy to a man is going to want to keep their name away from that mark." Sunday's last-second 34-28 loss at Detroit was Minnesota's fifth in a row. Only Indianapolis (0-13) has a worse record and Minnesota is tied with St. Louis at 2-11. The players want nothing to do with establishing a new low mark in the team's 51-year history. Besides the 3-13 season, Minnesota hasn't had another season with less than five wins during a 16-game schedule. "I don't think anybody in this locker room wants their name associated with being the worst team in franchise history," Kleinsasser said. "That's something that you never think that's going to be a problem for you. We just got to come out and just get one win and go from there. We've got three games here and we've got to put it out there and just play. "We've got nothing to lose. What else is there to do but go out there and ball?" The final stretch won't be easy starting with Sunday's home game against 10-3 New Orleans. A road game at 4-9 Washington follows before the Vikings finish the season at home against 7-6 Chicago. Steckel and the 1984 Vikings are often the subjects of ridicule among the team's followers. Steckel took over the team from legendary coach Bud Grant. The 3-13 record ended Steckel's short tenure and Grant returned to the head coaching role for one season before Jerry Burns started a six-year run as coach. In 1984, the Vikings lost their last six games of the season, being outscored by an average of 27 points per game. Meanwhile, Minnesota has lost eight games by a touchdown or less this season. "We know what's going on," linebacker Chad Greenway said. "We know the Les Steckel year of 84. You want to be a part of good history. But the reality is we put ourselves in this situation so it's not like you can point a finger and blame somebody else for this. We've been really good at losing close games." These Vikings are aware of the history, though. Receiver Percy Harvin said it's been a topic of conversation in the locker room amongst players. "We've been sitting around the last couple weeks, saying to ourselves, man we need to get this together," Harvin said. "It's not something you want following you around. So we need to do something."
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