Vikings in the thick of NFC North

The Vikings were almost able to move into a first-place tie with Chicago for the division lead, but the Bears managed a comeback victory against winless Detroit. With a game against the Packers on Sunday, the division race is starting to heat up, but the Vikings are trying the old ‘one-game-at-a-time' approach.

The Vikings might be only a .500 team after their 28-21 victory over Houston at the Metrodome, but that's good enough to put them in the thick of the race in the NFC North.

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.


  • DE Jared Allen had two sacks for the second consecutive game against the Texans but had a wrap on his right shoulder after the victory. Allen had to leave for a few plays but isn't believed to be in any jeopardy of missing time.

  • DE Ray Edwards briefly left Sunday's game after appearing to aggravate a knee injury he suffered Oct. 19 in the Vikings' previous game, at Chicago. Edwards was able to return.

  • S Madieu Williams started Sunday and played in his first game of the season after being out since early in training camp because of a neck injury. Williams became only the eighth player in team history to intercept a pass in his first game with the Vikings.

  • S Tyrell Johnson is no longer starting now that S Madieu Williams is back but he was used in a dime defense that was used on a few occasions. That look has Johnson paired with veteran Darren Sharper at safety and calls for Williams to cover a receiver or tight end. Williams played cornerback earlier in his career and is considered to be solid in coverage. Johnson, meanwhile, also is now playing on all special teams.

  • RB Adrian Peterson had his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season and set a Vikings record for most rushing yards in his first two seasons with the team. Peterson has 2,164 yards, breaking the mark held by teammate Chester Taylor. Taylor rushed for a total of 2,060 yards in 2006 and ‘07.

  • Viking Update Top Stories