Digging A Hole

The Vikings and Brad Childress have lost 11 of their last 14 games, dating back to last season, and the coming stretch of five games doesn't bode very well to the future. But, as they return from their bye week, a win over the Bears Sunday has become critical.

The Vikings begin the second quarter of their 2007 season Sunday with a 1-3 record in the portion most considered to be the easiest part of their schedule. In the next five weeks, the Vikings face four playoff teams from last season – the Bears, Cowboys, Eagles and Chargers – as well as the 4-1 Packers who sit atop the division and already have a win in hand over the Vikings. It will be a brutal stretch, but one that the Vikings will have to be successful in to keep their playoff hopes alive.

At 1-3, the Vikings are in last place in the NFC North and only the Falcons (1-4), the Saints (0-4) and the Rams (0-5) have a worse record in the conference. While the NFC is viewed as the weaker of the two conferences, the Cowboys remain unbeaten at 5-0, the Packers are close behind at 4-1, the Redskins check in at 3-1 and six other teams are currently at 3-2 on the season. With nine of the 16 NFC teams currently with winning records, a win over the Bears becomes almost a requirement because a loss would truly be devastating to any playoff hopes the Vikings might entertain.

Of the Vikings' three losses, two of them have come within their own division, having dropped games to the Lions and Packers. A loss to Chicago would put the Vikings at 1-4, with a record of 0-3 in the division. Under that scenario, even if the Vikings would sweep their remaining division games after that, the team would be just 3-3 in the division and would likely lose any and all tie-breakers.

All three of the Vikings' losses were games in which the team had a chance to tie or win the game late, as evidenced by the fact that the Vikings have outscored their opponents 67-59 despite the 1-3 record. The slow start isn't a death knell for the team, but their return to action Sunday has the must-win tag on it … and for good reason.

* The Vikings replaced Darrion Scott on the 53-man roster with Brian Daniels, a rookie guard who had spent the early part of the season on the practice squad.
* Scott becomes the third defensive end in as many years to be lost early in the season, joining Kenechi Udeze in 2005 and Erasmus James in the last two years.
* With the injury to Scott, James is expected to be activated for the first time this year Sunday against the Bears.
* The Vikings waived linebacker Cameron Siskowic from the injured list Tuesday, joining cornerback Mike Hawkins who was waived last week.
* Despite playing one less game than most teams in the NFC, Adrian Peterson is still tops among NFC players with 589 all-purpose yards.
* Tony Romo's awful performance Monday had some happy memories for Minnesota sports fans for a different reason than most would think. The last time a quarterback threw five interceptions in a game and still won a Monday Night Football game was when Wade Wilson of the Vikings did it. He had five picks Oct. 26, 1987 in a 34-27 win over the Broncos. What made that game special for local sports fans was because it was the Monday night game seen by the fewest fans. The game with the Broncos was scheduled for Oct. 25, but because the Twins needed the Metrodome for Game Seven of the 1987 World Series, the Vikings got pushed to Monday and the game was only seen in the market areas for the Vikings and Broncos. Unlike Romo, who was embarrassed on a national scale, a very small percentage of the potential viewing audience saw Wilson's forgettable performance.
* Bears wide receiver Bernard Berrian had a MRI on his right foot Tuesday after suffering a toe injury against the Packers Sunday night. The MRI came back negative and isn't viewed as being too serious. However, he will likely be limited in practice and listed on the injury report that comes out today.
* The Buccaneers have been in contact with the Vikings about the availability of Mewelde Moore in a trade, but the Vikings haven't received an offer to their liking. The Bucs have lost Cadillac Williams for the year and Michael Pittman is out 6-8 weeks. One name that has surfaced is former Viking Ciatrick Fason.

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