As the Minnesota Vikings better their playoff possibilities, they are trying their best not to look at the big picture; instead, the mantra is "going 1-0 this week."
With a three-game winning streak, a 6-6 record and a real opportunity to make the playoffs, the Vikings might have plenty of people jumping on their bandwagon these days. But as far as coach Brad Childress is concerned that doesn't matter.
"We're under the radar as far as I am concerned at 6-6 and playing San Francisco," Childress said. "I'm not getting into the whole thing. You count them up at the end."
The latest game the Vikings will need to stay on a roll is a victory Sunday against the 49ers at Monster Park. A year ago the Vikings lost 9-3 to the 49ers in San Francisco, but that came in the midst of a four-game losing streak.
This time the Vikings have won four of their past five and appear to have a real shot at winning out with home games against Chicago (5-7) and Washington (5-7) followed by the regular-season finale at Denver (5-7).
The Vikings are coming off a 42-10 victory over Detroit at the Metrodome and have scored a combined 83 points in the past two games.
Childress has been careful to preach a one game at a time approach to his players in an effort to keep them focused. So far it seems to be working.
Asked about how he goes about this, Childress said: "I usually vary (the message) every week. There is a little different twist to it every Wednesday when we start up, so just that you want to be playing good. You don't want to be a descending team this time of the year. You want to be finding a way to do one more thing and being a little bit better."
At this point whatever Childress is saying has certainly worked.
QB Tarvaris Jackson had a second consecutive strong outing, completing 18 of 24 passes for 204 yards with two touchdowns, an interception and a 110.4 rating in the Vikings' 42-10 victory over Detroit. Jackson also ran five times for 20 yards and is clearly maturing as an NFL quarterback. His decision-making is far better than it was earlier this season.
RB Adrian Peterson returned after missing two games because of a knee injury and rushed for 116 yards on 15 carries with two touchdowns. Peterson showed no effects of the slightly torn lateral collateral ligament he suffered in a Nov. 11 loss to Green Bay. Peterson now has an NFL-leading 1,197 yards on 184 carries and 10 touchdowns.
RB Chester Taylor split carries with Adrian Peterson and gained 70 yards on 14 rushing attempts with a touchdown. Taylor's presence means the Vikings don't need to rush Peterson back into a full-time role and with both playing well they likely will continue to split carries.
TE Visanthe Shiancoe had one catch for seven yards but could not hold onto a sure-touchdown in the end zone after a halfback pass from Chester Taylor. Lions linebacker Paris Lenon made a nice play to knock the ball out of Shiancoe's hands at the last second. Shiancoe is third on the Vikings with 21 receptions for 292 yards with a touchdown.
WR Bobby Wade caught his first touchdown pass as a Viking in the victory over Detroit. He had four receptions and leads the team with 37 catches for 426 yards this season. That is four more receptions than he had last season with the Tennessee Titans.
WR Sidney Rice led the Vikings with five receptions for 53 yards and a leaping touchdown Sunday. While no other receiver has more than one touchdown catch this season, the rookie now has four.
WR Aundrae Allison, subbing for the injured Troy Williamson, had two catches for 52 yards and also had a franchise-record 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second quarter. Allison, a fifth-round pick in the NFL draft last April, has been active for only seven games this season but might have made a big enough impact Sunday to keep himself in the lineup.
WR Troy Williamson missed Sunday's game because of a concussion suffered the week before against the Giants. Allison's performance means there will be no need to rush Williamson back.
S Dwight Smith did not start Sunday after getting into an argument with a coach last week. He did play in the game and the incident seems to have been put in the past.
CB Antoine Winfield missed a game for the fourth time in five weeks because of a hamstring injury. Winfield's status for Sunday game at San Francisco remains uncertain.
CB Ronyell Whitaker saw playing time in the nickel role when Marcus McCauley briefly left Sunday's game because of an injury. Whitaker also replaced the injured Tank Williams in the dime defense.