The Perfect Storm

The Vikings' 4-0 resurgence has brought them from the outhouse to the penthouse in the chase for the second NFC wild card spot. But, perhaps even more amazing is that the Vikings have had to pass eight teams to get from where they were to where they are -- creating a perfect storm of their rise and the fall of the other contenders.

Perhaps what makes the Vikings rebounding season of 2007 so incredible isn't so much that they've won four straight games to move into sole possession of the second wild-card spot. What is so amazing is how many things had to fall into place to make that happen.

After Week 10, the Vikings were 3-6 – three full games back in the wild card behind the Giants and Lions, who were both perched at 6-3. At the time, only two teams in the NFC – the Rams and 49ers – had a worse record than the Vikings. We weren't thinking playoffs back then. We were thinking draft lottery, the potential firing of Brad Childress and the likelihood of doing something in the offseason to get a veteran free agent quarterback.

Clearly, that has all changed. But for the Vikings to be where they are, many things needed to fall into place. While the Vikings have gone 4-0 over the last four weeks, they've been able to enlist a lot of help from the outside. Consider the following:

NFC EAST -- The Redskins and Eagles have both gone 1-3 in that period to drop from 5-4 and 4-5 respectively, to 6-7 and 5-8.

NFC NORTH -- The Lions have dropped four straight since being 6-3 and in control of the wild card (five straight actually). The Bears have fared little better, dropping three of their last four and looking nothing like the defending NFC champions.

NFC SOUTH -- The Saints, who play tonight against the Falcons, have lost two of three games, while the Panthers have gone 1-3 and the Falcons – who were tied with the Vikings at 3-6 – have dropped three straight.

NFC WEST -- The Cardinals, who were 4-5 at the time, have gone 2-2 since and been passed by the surging Vikings.

After Week 10, aside from the division leaders, there were nine teams that were either tied or ahead of the Vikings in the wild card chase. Somehow, not only have the Vikings moved back into respectability by rattling off four straight wins, but only one of those teams has a record better than .500 in those games – the 3-1 Giants whose only loss came at the hands of the Vikings.

While it's been a strange month for the Vikings, perhaps never in the recent history of the NFL has there been such a perfect storm of teams falling by the wayside at the exact moment one team has found momentum.

SCHEDULE CHANGE

The NFL moved the Vikings-Redskins game on Dec. 23 from a noon start to the NBC Sunday night game per their flex scheduling option.


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