Tough stretch ahead for Vikings

The Vikings went 1-2 in what was supposed to be the "easy" part of their schedule. When they return from their bye, they will find a more daunting foursome of opponents on the horizon.

The Vikings should know exactly where their season is headed by the end of this month.

After starting 1-2 and then having a bye last Sunday, Minnesota will embark on its toughest stretch of 2010 beginning a week from Monday night as they face the Jets at the New Meadowlands.

That will begin a month that will then see them play host to Dallas on Oct. 17 before traveling to Green Bay (Oct. 24) and New England (Oct. 31).

Realistically, one would have to consider a 2-2 record in those four games to be an accomplishment. The issue is the Vikings have put themselves behind the eight ball with season-opening losses at New Orleans and against Miami at home.

There is little question that coach Brad Childress will spend next week drilling the "one-game-at-a-time" mantra into his players' heads as they prepare for the Jets.

In fact, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kevin Williams already was using that phrase before the Vikings embarked on their bye.

"We have to take one game, one week, one opponent (at a time)," he said. "That's all we can play. We can only get one win that week. That's what we have to focus on."

The Vikings are coming off a 24-10 victory over Detroit in Week 3 at Mall of America Field, but their passing game still needs to get on track if they want to have success against quality opponents.

One encouraging fact for Minnesota is that its defense has performed very well so far and should keep the team in games.

The pass defense, which has been suspect at times in recent seasons, should get a boost now that rookie cornerback Chris Cook has returned from a knee injury and is playing regular snaps in the nickel defense.

Cornerback Cedric Griffin also has returned after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament in the NFC Championship Game last January and is starting again at the right corner. Cook (6-2) and Griffin (6-0) give the Vikings good size in the defensive backfield.

NOTES

  • The Vikings have a sellout streak of 130 games at Mall of America Field at the Metrodome. The streak dates to the beginning of the 1998 season.

  • Childress is now 9-1 against Detroit since taking over in 2006. His only loss came in 2007 at Ford Field when the Lions beat the Vikings, 20-17, in overtime.

  • QB Brett Favre has thrown for 69,926, putting him 74 shy of becoming the first player to reach 70,000.

  • RB Adrian Peterson on how much he pays attention to the statistics of other running backs, such as Tennessee's Chris Johnson: "I don't go around checking stats on other guys, but of course when I'm at home I watch the network and those sports channels and I see it come across. I just focus on making sure when I'm out there and I'm called upon (that I'm) taking advantage and being productive. When I do that I'll keep myself ahead and in the hunt."


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