The Vikings have an opportunity in front of them that may make or break their 2011 season. In the next four weeks, the Vikings play the Buccaneers and Lions at home, at Kansas City and at home against Arizona. While nobody is saying the Vikings will win all of them, there is a likelihood that the Vikings may be the projected favorite in all four games.
They are three-point favorites over the Bucs Sunday and, with a convincing win, would create a dilemma for bookmakers if the Lions are 2-0 heading into the Metrodome Sept. 25. If the Lions are 2-0, it will be because they beat Kansas City in Week 2. The Chiefs then go on the road to San Diego in Week 3, which means that, when they face the Vikings in Week 4, they could easily be 0-3 and a home underdog. Arizona speaks for itself. The Vikings will be favored even if they're 2-2 or 1-3 when they face the Cardinals at Mall of America Field.
The loss to San Diego was disappointing more because it could have gotten the Vikings building some early momentum in the 2011 season. The loss was a setback, but, given what is before them over the next month, the Vikings have a chance to become one of the talked-about teams of the NFL.
Only time will tell if the Vikings take advantage of the opportunity in front of them, but there is the potential they can come out of the next month of games at 4-1. Even 3-2 would be acceptable. Less than that, and it could be a long season.
The Vikings are focused only on the Buccaneers Sunday. But the outcome of that game may hold the key to the 2011 season – for better or for worse.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.