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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Sep 2005

    Vikings back in the playoff picture

    The Mercury News
    Posted on Wed, Nov. 23, 2005

    [size=18px]Vikings back in the playoff picture[/size]

    Knight Ridder Newspapers

    ST. PAUL, Minn. - Since the Vikings got off to a 1-4 start, the conventional wisdom has been they would have to win the NFC North Division to make the playoffs.

    The landscape has changed.

    With Chicago at 7-3 and on a six-game winning streak and the Vikings 5-5 and on a three-game roll, both teams are playing well enough to perhaps claim postseason berths in a conference that is only slightly less wide open than Terrell Owens' mouth.

    "There's a long way to go," Vikings coach Mike Tice said Wednesday. "This is a week-to-week league, but also every three weeks it seems like everything changes. A couple weeks ago, Atlanta was the team to beat and going to the Super Bowl. Atlanta has lost two games in a row at home. At home! Now they've got to go on the road, play on the road this week, Thanksgiving, in Detroit. . . . All of a sudden, they could be looking at three losses in a row. Things change, I guess."

    They also figure to change a few more times between now and the end of the season, but with a relatively soft closing schedule that includes just two games against teams that currently own winning records (Dec. 18 against Pittsburgh and Jan. 1 against Chicago), the Vikings are set up to finish fast for a change.

    "Fortunately, we're playing solid football, not great football, in November," Tice said. "Hopefully, we'll carry that over to this week, close out the month and carry that over to December. A lot of people joked about, maybe not really joking, about `Hey, you guys have started 6-0, 5-1 and finished 3-7. (This year) we started 2-5; maybe we can flip it.' Maybe we can. We'll see."

    If nothing else, the Bears and Vikings, with their recent play, have won some respect for the NFC North, which has been ridiculed for much of the season as the worst division in football.

    They also have thrust themselves into the thick of things in a conference in which only Seattle, with an 8-2 record and three-game lead on St. Louis in the wimpy NFC West, seems assured of a division title.

    Dallas and the New York Giants are tied for first in the NFC East at 7-3, but both have rugged closing schedules, and the Vikings own a tiebreaker edge on the Giants by virtue of their 24-21 victory.

    Carolina and Tampa Bay share the NFC South lead at 7-3, a game ahead of Atlanta, which still has two games against the Panthers in addition to back-to-back road contests against Chicago and the Buccaneers.

    Think the Falcons are kicking themselves about that 33-25 home loss to Green Bay two weeks ago?

    The Vikings, for their part, are 0-3 against Carolina, Tampa Bay and Atlanta, which could cost them in the event of a wild-card tie, and their most direct route to the playoffs is still to finish ahead of Chicago in the division.

    Not that they spend any time thinking about that or which team the Bears are playing, of course.

    "We can't worry about anything anybody else is doing," Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson said. "We've got to take care of ourselves and worry about us. Hopefully, Chicago will lose down the road. We've just got to keep winning and keep ourselves in the hunt."

    Added nose tackle Pat Williams: "We're not worrying about that right now. If we keep winning and they keep winning, it's going to come down to that last game. That's our main focus."

    Linebacker Keith Newman was more candid.

    "We can't find ourselves scoreboard watching because that's kind of what happened last season," he said. "You do somewhat scoreboard watch because we know if we win and Chicago loses, that's a game we've gained. If Chicago loses and we don't win, it does us no good, though, so basically we've got to go out there and take care of business."

    The Vikings have done a good job of that lately, overcoming their slow start, off-the-field distractions and quarterback Daunte Culpepper's season-ending knee injury, among other things, to get back in a race that might not be decided until the regular-season finale against the Bears.

    "We have some good leadership that has emerged and not allowed the team to think of anything but one game at a time, let's dig ourselves out of this hole," Tice said. "And we also have some history. Guys know that at one point we won nine games in a row (from 2002-03). We started 6-0, 5-1. I heard the buzz a few weeks ago. They know we're capable of rolling off some victories. We've done it before."

    That's reason enough for Newman, one of those leaders to whom Tice referred, to believe they can do it again.

    "I think it's very possible," he said. "We've got more guys in here believing. Now that we've kind of settled down and found what kind of team we are; we've got more guys believing. Maybe this is the year we start off slow and finish strong."

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    SamDawg84 Guest

    Re: Vikings back in the playoff picture

    if frey is playing we should just blitz him with newman and happy nappy lol. i wonder y we are doin better with b-rad than daunte? lol

  3. #3
    ultravikingfan's Avatar
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    NE Ohio

    Re: Vikings back in the playoff picture

    "SamDawg84" wrote:
    if frey is playing we should just blitz him with newman and happy nappy lol. i wonder y we are doin better with b-rad than daunte? lol
    Frye will not play unless Dilfer is getting killed and the game is out of reach.

    Or, if they have a lead...Romeo wants to bring him in more.

    Thats all they have been talking on the radio about this week. I cannot wait until the big purple hand smacks that entire team!

  4. #4
    Mr. Purple's Avatar
    Mr. Purple is offline Ring of Fame
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    Re: Vikings back in the playoff picture

    Awesome read. Really gives me hope. Our team is playing right now some solid football. We may not be as flashy as we have been in the past, but that never got us anywhere. I cant wait to play the nfl's butthole.

    Theres NOTHING greater then a Florida Gator!
    "I promise everyone this. When Childress is let go in two years I can honestly say this.
    "I am not surprised"."-PurplePackerEater

  5. #5
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings back in the playoff picture

    The article gives a better clear cut picture of the playoff scenario. If not the division, a wildcard spot is more achievable than I thought.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  6. #6
    sharper42's Avatar
    sharper42 is offline Pro-Bowler
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    Dec 1969

    Re: Vikings back in the playoff picture

    yeah it is
    our only sure-handed receiver

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