The Vikings have been the beneficiaries of things falling their way during their current winning streak, as teams that were ahead of them in the playoff chase seemed to part like the Red Sea in front of them.
That stopped Sunday … in a big way.
The two teams the Vikings would have enjoyed seeing lose the most – the Redskins and Saints – both won. Some overzealous Vikings fans might be pleased to see the Giants lose and, believing the Vikings can run the table, could potentially see the Vikings move to the fifth seed in the NFC playoffs ahead of the Giants (who play unbeaten New England in Week 17).
However, seeing as the Vikings have yet to claim the sixth spot – much less the fifth – it likely would have been more important to see the Redskins and Saints lose Sunday. The Saints are the only wild card hopeful that has a better NFC record (6-4) than the Vikings (5-5). If the Saints win their two remaining games, the Vikings will have to run the table to hold them off. As for the Redskins, they sit at 7-7 and, even if the Vikings win tonight against the Bears to improve to 8-6, a loss to Washington next Sunday night would vault the Saints ahead of the Vikings due to the head-to-head consideration if the Saints win.
While there are still plenty of reasons to believe that the Vikings can make the playoffs this season, the primary competition did them absolutely no favors. While the fact remains that, if the Vikings go 2-1 in their remaining three games and the Saints and Redskins each lose once, the Vikes are still in the postseason, the road to the playoffs just got considerably more difficult.
* Bobby Wade will be a game-time decision with a knee that has been swelling up on him this week. If Wade is active, it will likely mean that Troy Williamson, who is ready to return to action after missing time with a concussion, would be inactive again. The Vikings typically keep four wide receivers active and Sidney Rice, Wade and Robert Ferguson have three of those spots pretty well locked down. The decision would then come between Williamson and Aundrae Allison, who has performed well in the role of kick returner and could nose Williamson out for the gameday roster spot.
* Adrian Peterson was part of ESPN Sportscenter's "Sunday Night Conversation" segment. Aside from giving fans around the country a glimpse into the troubled childhood A.P. experienced, he was informed that ESPN analyst and current NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith said that Peterson could revolutionize the running back position for the future.
* It might be more of a business decision to keep Dwight Smith in the lineup for tonight's game than any change in policy by either Brad Childress of Zygi Wilf. Smith, who made headlines over the weekend for getting busted for marijuana possession, is likely to play tonight. While Wilf hired Childress with the intention of clearing out the "bad influence" players that made the Vikings something of a league laughing stock with their infamous boat scandal, with injuries to safeties Mike Doss and Tank Williams, the Vikings could be extremely shorthanded at safety if Smith was to be benched for disciplinary reasons. However, don't expect Smith to get a free pass on this. Punishment in one form or another – be it a suspension or an eventual release – is likely to be coming.
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