The Vikings have already been written off by most of the national experts in the "what have you done for more lately?" world of 24-hour NFL news, but when you've lost five of six games it's easy to understand that assessment.
At this point, if the Vikings want a legitimate shot of making the playoffs, a minimum of nine wins likely will be needed, probably 10. The door is still open, although it appears clear that two teams will be coming out of the NFC West between Seattle and San Francisco as a division champion and a wild cards. The second wild card is a battle among teams currently 4-3 – just two games ahead of the Vikings in the loss column.
The Vikings would have to win eight of their final 10 games to get back in the mix. That's a tall order, no doubt, given their schedule. For a pair of Vikings veterans, that's the hope they're clinging to.
"One day at time, man, one day at a time," Jared Allen said. "I just try to come in and do my job and try not to get too sidetracked by the circumstances of what's going on. I just understand I have a job to do. I don't get paid to make executive decisions. You try to clear your head. You play for the guy next to you."
The "play for each other" selflessness has been a hallmark of the Vikings franchise and why, despite the weather extremes, it has become a popular destination for free agents over the years. There is a family atmosphere, at times an "us vs. them" mentality that has mostly made the Vikings a schism-free zone among the players themselves.
It is the camaraderie that helps the Vikings weather the storms of odd-numbered years this decade.
"We've got a great group of guys in this locker room, guys that I've played with for many years," Allen said. "I've been around most of these guys in this locker room for six years – day in, day out for six months straight. You build bonds and that's what you come to work for. You come to work to play for the next guy. When things suck, which they do right now, you've got to come to work and play for the next guy. They're counting on me to do my job and the Wilfs pay me to go out there and play hard every Sunday and try to win football games. That's the mindset you've got to have."
Running back Adrian Peterson has had his own share of struggles off the field with the tragic death of his 2-year-old son and the on-field struggles with a balky hamstring that has bothered him for a month. It's understandable how Peterson is looking at the dismal 2013 season – keep the blinders on and keep looking forward.
"I try to stay in the now," Peterson said. "Right now, we're getting ready to play the Packers. It's a chance to get a ‘W' – get our first win at home and keep our hopes alive. I try not to think ahead, even though we do at times. But, at this point in time, I'm not looking ahead."