During the last few days, both of the head coaches in today's Vikings-Packers game have tried not to define the game as a "must-win." But in reality, how could it be anything but a must-win?
Face the facts. The Vikings are 5-3 and on a two-game losing streak that would be extended to three with a loss at Lambeau Field today. The Packers are 4-4 and on a three-game winning streak that would increase to four games with a home win.
The simple truth of the matter is that a Vikings win would give them a two-game lead over the Packers with a win in hand on the road. A loss and, for the first time all-year, the Packers would have a technical lead on the Vikings – although they would both be 5-4, the Packers would have the head-to-head tiebreaker edge.
While the coaches can downplay it, most fans see today's game for what it is – a must win. A loss for the Vikings won't be the end of the world, but it will make their job a whole lot more difficult and could make winning the NFC North a tall order indeed.
* From the "Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire" Department comes this: Bryant McKinnie isn't going to get any breaks this week. Coming off a rough game against Colts pass rusher Dwight Freeney, his assignment this week is Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, another pass rusher that will bring the heat from Daunte Culpepper's blind side.
* Of the Vikings five wins this season, the combined record of their opponents is 16-24. The Vikes are currently 0-3 against teams with winning records.
* The Packers are just 1-3 at home and in danger of having a losing home record this year for the first time in the Brett Favre era.
* Favre will be playing in his 200th consecutive game today and his 198th straight start.
* The Vikings have the easiest remaining schedule of the three teams in contention for the NFC North title. Their final eight opponents currently have a combined record of 32-32 – better than that of the Lions remaining opponents (33-31) and the Packers (37-27).
Season Could Turn Today
Viking Update Top Stories
Barr named to Pro Bowl as replacementThe Minnesota Vikings now have six players in the Pro Bowl after LB Anthony Barr was named a replacement on Monday.
Viking Update7:46 AM
Another NFC contender emergesWith Atlanta heading to the Super Bowl, they become the 12th NFC team in the last 16 years to make the Big Show, leaving the Minnesota Vikings and three other teams in the green …
Viking Update5:05 AM
Rhodes leads Vikings D-backs record settersXavier Rhodes set or tied five Minnesota Vikings records in 2016 and three other defensive backs made their mark in the franchise record books.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 9:44 AM
Sunday slant: Stars have blind spotsThe last week of interviews with Minnesota Vikings past and present shows that sometimes the elite athletes have blind spots that keep them from achieving whatever their top-end…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 5:30 AM
Vikings get inside intel at the ShrineThe Vikings took advantage of a new business opportunity in the East-West Shrine Game and the potential benefit could pay off some sweet dividends.
Viking UpdateSaturday at 11:51 PM