The Vikings have lost two consecutive games, are facing a short week after a Monday night road trip to Indianapolis, and must travel to Green Bay for a key NFC North matchup on Sunday.
Oh yeah, the Packers are also coming off a bye, and WR Randy Moss is doubtful with the lingering strained right hamstring that sidelined him in Monday's 31-28 loss to the Colts.
Yes, the NFL schedule-maker stuck it to the Vikings, big-time. But after grumbling about it briefly last week, Vikings coach Mike Tice welcomed the challenge on Tuesday.
"It's good that the short week comes with us playing the Packers," Tice said. "It really is. That's a great thing. I wouldn't want to play any other team except the Packers on a short week."
The Vikings are 5-3 and lead the Packers (4-4) and Lions (4-4) by a game. This is the Vikings' first game against Green Bay or Detroit this season.
"This is a good one to have right now," Tice said. "We won't need any rest this week."
Tice insisted the Vikings aren't the same team that last season went 3-7 after a 6-0 start. He said that the Vikings' ability to bounce back from a 14-0 deficit at Indianapolis on a Monday night without Moss proves it.
"This team just has more character," Tice said. "We don't want to be 5-3. But we're on top in the division, and I think we showed that we have enough character as a team when our backs are to the wall."
Moss hasn't caught a pass in a game since Oct. 17 at New Orleans. He played only two snaps Oct. 24 against Tennessee and nine snaps against the Giants on Oct. 31. Monday was the first time in his seven-year NFL career that he missed a game.
NOISE HURT EARLY
The noise inside the RCA Dome was responsible for the Vikings losing 28 yards on the first play from scrimmage. C Matt Birk couldn't hear QB Daunte Culpepper's cadence even though Culpepper was under center. Birk snapped the ball a split second too late. The ball bounced off of Culpepper's hands and squirted all the way back to the Vikings' 6-yard line after piles of players tried to pick it up. LT Bryant McKinnie finally fell on it.
"It was loud," Culpepper said. "I don't think Birk could hear me good. I pulled out early. I should have known to sit in there a bit. It's always good to stay in there on the road. The next time, I'll make sure to stay in there longer."
Tice Welcoming Short Week
Viking Update Top Stories
Harris sees maturation in his gameMinnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith isn't expected to play Sunday, so for the second straight year backup Anthony Harris finds himself front and center before a critical late…
Viking Update2:12 PM
VIDEO: Priefer seeks better playMinnesota Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer talks about a homecoming to Jacksonville and his desire to see better play from his special teams.
Viking Update12:45 PM
VIDEO: Shurmur on Jaguars, the playbook, moreMinnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur talks about the Jacksonville defense, the latest setback at center and working through tough times on offense.
Viking Update12:16 PM
Smith misses again; stage set for Harris?As Harrison Smith missed his third practice this week with an ankle injury, it appears safety Anthony Harris could be getting the third start of his career.
Viking Update9:40 AM
Vikings defense poised for challengeThe Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars are both struggling and it may take a big effort from the Vikings defense to get momentum back on their side this season.
Viking Update8:47 AM