Vikings can create space with post-bye games

The Vikings already have a 2½-game lead over their closest NFC North opponents, but following the bye they have three straight homes games, two of them against divisional opponents. The rest of November will be an opportunity for the team to essentially seize the division.

The Vikings entered the bye week atop the NFC North with a 7-1 record and will have an excellent opportunity to add to that victory total over the next three weeks.

In an odd scheduling quirk, the Vikings will play three consecutive home games and won't be back on the road until Dec. 6 when they play Arizona. All three of the home games appear to be winnable and two of them are against NFC North foes.

The woeful Detroit Lions will be at the Metrodome first, followed by Seattle and Chicago.

The Vikings already beat the Lions 27-13 in Week 2 at Ford Field and the Lions odds of getting a victory in Minnesota don't seem to be very good.

The Lions have not won in Minnesota since 1997 and overall the Vikings have won 17 of the past 20 games in this series. Brad Childress has lost only once in seven meetings against the Lions since taking over as the Vikings coach in 2006.

Given that the Vikings could end November with a 10-1 record it might be easy for players to start looking ahead, but Childress is guarding against that. Asked about playing host to three consecutive games, Childress refused to bite and stuck with his one game at a time mantra.

"All I know is we've got one (game) when we come off the bye," Childress said. "I'm not going to change in the second half of the season, you know?"


  • WR Percy Harvin, who is averaging 30.7 yards on 28 kickoff returns and also has two touchdowns, could get an opportunity to return punts, according to coach Brad Childress. Harvin did not look completely comfortable fielding punts when given the opportunity in training camp.

  • RB Adrian Peterson has nine rushing touchdowns this season, only one away from his regular-season total in 2008. Peterson had 12 rushing touchdowns as a rookie in 2007.

  • TE Visanthe Shiancoe's team-leading six touchdown catches this season are only one shy of a career high that he established in 2008.

  • Pro Bowl left guard Steve Hutchinson had an amazing streak come to an end on Nov. 1 at Green Bay when he was called for holding. It was the first time that had happened to Hutchinson in 97 games or since Nov. 30, 2003 when he played with Seattle.

  • The Vikings are hoping to get CB Antoine Winfield back after he missed the past two games because of an injury to his right foot. It's possible Winfield could return against Detroit but he also might be held out for another week to make sure the injury is completely healed.

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