The Vikings lost control of their own playoff destiny, but they are trying to move ahead and focus on what they can control.
The Vikings' playoff scenario entering Sunday night's game against Washington was extremely simple: Beat the Redskins and a spot as a wild-card team in the NFC playoffs was all theirs.
But after an extremely disappointing 32-21 loss, Minnesota no longer controls its postseason destiny and is now a long shot to make the NFL's playoff tournament.
In order to do so, the Vikings will need to beat the Broncos in Denver on Sunday and have Washington to lose to visiting Dallas. While the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry is one of the NFL's best, Dallas has nothing to play for in this game. The Cowboys have locked up home-field advantage through the postseason and are likely to rest their starters for much of this game.
The Vikings, whose five-game winning streak ended before a national-television audience, are obviously extremely disappointed.
"We had control of our own destiny and we lost it," safety Darren Sharper
said. "We know we still have a chance, but we have to get some help. I guess you have to go with the idea that anything can happen, but it'll be tough."
Nonetheless, a day after the loss, coach Brad Childress made it clear his team has moved on and will be ready to play the Broncos.
"I think the thing about our team is it's hungry, it's humble, it's focused, committed and I have no doubt that they will comeback with the same look in their eye and the same resolve that they had after the last time they lost, which was after the Green Bay Packers
game," Childress said. "Obviously, they know it's big and we'll reframe the thing and all of our focus will go onto the Denver Broncos
, and in fact it already has."
Unfortunately for Childress and the Vikings, that might not be enough.
Coach Brad Childress on the fact rookie running back Adrian Peterson has been held in check the past three games: "Well, he's not a secret anymore; there's no doubt, and yeah, we're going to have to do some work in terms of if they're going to have an extra guy in there, we're going to have to do a few different things in terms of running the football and throwing the football. It will probably come back to the quarterback, the wide receivers and the tight ends being able to beat people and show that you're going to beat them that way as opposed to running the ball."
Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who threw two interceptions on Sunday night, on his performance: "It hurts a lot because the turnovers game them points, and like I've said, you can't turn the football over right there. I take the blame totally for that. It's my fault and the reason why we got down (22 after the first half) by so much, so early. I have to cut those turnovers out. That's pretty much it."
Linebacker Ben Leber on being booed off the Metrodome field by the fans at halftime: "I completely understand. We did not perform very well and it was not the team that the fans have seen over the past few weeks with the turnovers that we have had, and the defense did not respond as we would have hoped. I can't say that we didn't deserve it a little bit."