Minnesota, in fact, trails the Chicago Bears (5-3) by one game and is tied for second place with the Green Bay Packers, whom they will meet this Sunday in Minneapolis.
The game is key for several reasons, the most important of which is the Vikings lost 24-19 to the Packers at Lambeau Field in the regular-season opener for both teams. If the Vikings want to put themselves in a spot to win the division, they likely are going to have to beat Green Bay and Chicago at home.
Minnesota lost 48-41 at Soldier Field on Oct. 19 before heading into the bye. It was at that point that coach Brad Childress began emphasizing a one-game-at-a-time approach that is cliche but seemingly effective with professional athletes.
"We won one, but that doesn't mean anything unless you win the next one," linebacker Chad Greenway said after the victory over the Texans. "That is kind of the approach we took on that five-game run we had last year and it's kind of the same approach we need to take this year.
"We are only one or two games behind in our division, but we are still behind so we have got to keep winning. We have to win more than Green Bay and Chicago, but the best thing is we have them at our place."
The Vikings will know what type of shot they have at making their first playoff appearance in Childress' three seasons as coach by the end of this month. After playing host to Green Bay, the Vikings will have back-to-back road games in Florida (Tampa Bay and Jacksonville) and then return home to play Chicago in a Sunday night game.
Linebacker Ben Leber, for one, has no interest in thinking that far ahead. "We kind of had a new attitude after the bye," he said. "I think everybody has bought into the ‘One week at a time (philosophy).' We're 1-0 right now and that's all we can be. Hopefully, next week we'll be 1-0 again."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think he's comfortable. He gets to know our personnel better every week and that's each and every one of those guys whether it's (wide receivers) Sidney Rice or Aundrae Allison, Bernard Berrian, obviously, and the tight ends. He gets more and more comfortable. He's not afraid to speak up and say, ‘Hey, I like this. I'm not comfortable with that.' We usually milk some plays out of him and make him put pen to paper as we start the week too." — Coach Brad Childress, on the progress of veteran QB Gus Frerotte in the Vikings' West Coast system. Frerotte is now 4-2 as the Vikings' starter.
BY THE NUMBERS: 7 — Sacks for Jared Allen and Kevin Williams this season, a total that not only leads the team but is more than the total sacks for the Vikings' team leaders in 2006 or 2007.