"Must Win" Takes On New Meaning

The Vikings face a game today that will define their season. With a win, they remain atop the NFC North, 4-1 in the division and back on track for the playoffs. With a loss, the team itself could fall apart -- making this a "must-win" game in every sense of the phrase.

When the Vikings were 6-0, they faced a Giants team that had to win to keep any playoff hopes alive. A week later, a win over the Packers and the NFC North Division title was all but wrapped up. Both opponents felt the sense of urgency and responded.

The Vikes now find themselves in the same position. A loss today vs. Detroit and the Vikings would fall into a tie with the Packers if Green Bay can win at home vs. the 49ers. In the process, they would fall behind in tie-breaker scenarios for the first time all season -- making this game a "must-win" that the team has seen others in and one they now find themselves in.

The biggest problem for the Vikings in their losing skid has been blamed on the lack of a solid run defense. The Lions shouldn't pose a problem in that regard, since they're the 30th-ranked offense in the NFL and last in the league in rushing.

The players are feeling the heat after four straight losses. Now is the time to get that situation rectified. If not, look for a locker room to divide after this week.

SUNDAY NOTES
* The Vikings have scored 103 more points than the Lions through 10 games this season.
* The Vikings are first in the league in total offense, but defense remains a problem. They are 29th overall -- 28th vs. the rush and 29th vs. the pass.
* The Lions have lost just two fumbles all year -- the lowest total in the NFL.
* Daunte Culpepper has a quarterback rating of 134.0 on third down -- the best in the NFL.

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