Vikings Trying to Avoid Delusion

The Vikings are on a four-game winning streak, and perhaps the worst thing that could happen to them is to begin thinking they are good enough to coast into the playoffs. As head coach Brad Childress said, "casualness leads to casualties."

The Vikings might be sitting in the final NFC wild-card spot entering Monday night's game against Chicago, but coach Brad Childress doesn't seem concerned that his team's recent success is going to go to its head.

Childress has spent much of his time preaching a one-game-at-a-time approach and has been quick to warn his players about becoming satisfied with what they have accomplished after a 3-6 start.

"We talked about (that) before this game," Childress said on Monday, a day after a victory over San Francisco. "Whether you want to say trap game or what have you, that comes from delusion and delusion is ignorance of the facts.

"We didn't want to get sucker-punched by delusion. ... The facts are that we need to make sure we take care of business with the team that is up, as long as we deal with the next team we'll be fine. If we're casual about the next team, casualness leads to casualties."

A few months back, this type of comment from Childress might have caused many to roll their eyes. But a four-game winning streak that has included victories over Oakland, the Giants, Detroit and San Francisco has many believing the second-year coach now knows exactly what he's doing.

He is certainly pushing the right buttons.

Although Childress won't even allow his players to mention the word playoffs these days, Minnesota not only has the inside track to get in but also has a schedule that appears incredibly favorable over the final three weeks.

The Vikings will play host to Chicago (5-8) and Washington (6-7) in two prime-time games before closing the regular season at Denver (6-7).

This brings us back to the one-game-at-a-time approach that Childress and his players have harped on since an embarrassing 34-0 loss on Nov. 11 at Green Bay.

Yes, it's a tired and cliched philosophy, but considering some of the weak opponents the Vikings have played of late (Oakland, San Francisco), it would be extremely dangerous if they did start to look down the road.

The temptation to look ahead shouldn't be a problem, considering the Vikings are playing the next two games under the lights when the rest of the NFL is watching. This tends to cause greater focus.

Beyond the Vikings' approach, it certainly doesn't hurt that a light seemed to go on for second-year quarterback Tarvaris Jackson beginning with the Nov. 18 victory over Oakland.

The Vikings aren't exactly an aerial show these days, but Jackson now has the presence to make teams pay for occasional mistakes and no longer seems to get flustered whenever things go wrong.

It will be as important that this continues as it does that the Vikings adhere to never looking beyond the next opponent.

SERIES HISTORY: 94th meeting. Vikings lead series, 49-42-2. The number of meetings will tie the series with the Packers for the most games against any opponent for Minnesota. The Vikings are 28-19 against the Bears in Minnesota and have won four of the past five games against Chicago at the Metrodome.

BY THE NUMBERS: 139-56 — The margin by which the Vikings have outscored opponents during their four-game winning streak. Minnesota was outscored 188-166 in its first nine games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I am not saying that these are little boys in a bubble, that they are living in a vacuum. They are not, but I also realize all that patting on the butt, they are the best thing since sliced bread, all that kind of thing, when they come in here they get a dose of who we are, what we have to do and those kind of things." — Vikings coach Brad Childress, on the fact that many "experts" now consider his team to be one of the NFC's best and how that is being handled internally.


All indications are that running backs Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor will continue to split carries for the remainder of the season.

Peterson had begun getting the majority of the carries before suffering a slightly torn lateral collateral ligament in his right knee on Nov. 11 at Green Bay. He missed the next two games before returning Dec. 2 against Detroit.

In that game, Peterson had 15 carries and Taylor had 14. On Sunday at San Francisco, Peterson had 14 carries and Taylor had eight. But Taylor finished with 101 yards on the ground, including an 84-yard touchdown run. Peterson was held to a career-low three yards rushing.

  • S Mike Doss did not play Sunday against San Francisco after injuring his hamstring the previous week versus Detroit.

  • CB Charles Gordon injured his quadriceps against the 49ers but was able to continue.

  • OL Artis Hicks was inactive for Sunday's game because of back trouble that started last Thursday.

  • DE Erasmus James underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL on Monday. It was his third surgery on the knee since he tore his ACL and sprained the MCL in September 2006. He was hurt again on Dec. 2 against Detroit.

  • DE Brian Robison injured his hip against the 49ers but was able to continue.

  • S Tank Williams missed a second consecutive game Sunday because of a sprained MCL.

  • WR Troy Williamson continues to suffer from headaches, the effects of a concussion suffered two weeks ago. Williamson hasn't played in the past two games and the Vikings will consult with a neurologist this week.

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