Posted at 8:00 AM on December 20, 2008
by David Zingler
With a win against Atlanta tomorrow the Vikings would clinch their first division title since 2000 and their first ever NFC North Division championship. While this season has hardly been a smooth ride, this team has shown remarkable resilience and grit making it one of the more likable Vikings squads in recent memory.
That being said, if the Vikings follow their script, they'll lose this week. It's true, somebody had to say it. Year after year, the Vikes have proven to be at their best when they are counted out and at their worst when they are counted on.
If you can't follow what I am talking about, you either are not a Vikings fan or have overdosed on the Purple Kool Aid. In either case, do yourself a favor and stop reading now.
Is this the Vikings team that can break that trend? There are reasons to think so. They appear to be peaking at the right time, their big ticket players - Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen and Bernard Berrian - are at the top of their game, Tarvaris Jackson is playing better with more confidence than he ever has, role players like Visanthe Shiancoe, Chad Greenway and Ben Leber are playing like stars and Brad Childress has seemed to get out of the way and let things happen. I don't mean that as an insult to Chilly either, sometimes that's the hardest thing for a coach to do.
There are also plenty of reasons to think they'll choke. Jackson has had a couple of good games, but he still hasn't proven to be the real deal, Allen is banged up, Pat Williams is likely out for the year and you still really can't trust Childress. It's taken this run just to get his career record to an even .500 (23-23).
Despite my misgivings (and what my wife believes is illness), I maintain my eternal optimism about the Vikings. I think they'll beat Atlanta on 24-14 and win the division. Who knows what will happen after that, but if the Giants continue to crumble, the Vikings have an outside shot at the #2 seed in the NFC which comes with a first round bye (If the Vikings win tomorrow and the Giants lose to Carolina and the Vikings beat the Giants on December 28, both teams will finish with 11-5 records, with the Vikings having the head-to-head tiebreaker). If that happens this could be the year the Vikings go all the way and win the Sup.....OK, pass the Kool Aid.
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)