The Vikings won't be traveling far to play their next three games, but they can put some more significant distance between them and their NFC North competitors.
The Vikings returned from their bye week on Monday in even better shape than when they left.
Losses by Chicago and Green Bay increased the Vikings' (7-1) lead in the NFC North to three games and put them in excellent shape to run away with the division in the second half.
The Vikings will have an outstanding opportunity to create even more separation with home games against Detroit, Seattle and Chicago to complete the month.
That means it would not be unrealistic for the Vikings to be 10-1 when they play at Arizona on Dec. 6. Of course, coach Brad Childress will continue to take a "one game at a time" approach.
"It's always good to get home and get in front of these fans here," Childress said when asked about the three-game home stand. "I don't know anything about three in a row. I know we've got one in a row here against an NFC North opponent and really a nameless, faceless opponent. We just need to worry about what we need to do to get ready for those guys in those different jersey numbers."
Linebacker Chad Greenway
doesn't expect his teammates will have any problem with their focus.
"I don't foresee it's going to be an issue with this group," he said. "We just want to get back to work. We want to get to work in the fact that you get back in, you get the meetings going again, just kind of get back in the grind and you get back in the swing of things as far as the monotony of the week of work. I think that grind that we get on really maintains the level of consistency in a group. So we're not going to look too far ahead."
Defensive tackle Kevin Williams on what the Vikings' mindset needs to be coming out of the bye week with a 7-1 record: "Finish. We're in a good position right now. We have to keep stacking wins. For the most part, teams are remembered for what's done in November and December and not what's done in September and August."
Coach Brad Childress on what he expected from rookie wide receiver Percy Harvin: "We anticipated he would have return ability. Just the fact he's been as explosive. We know he had explosive components to him. You never know until those guys in front block and that matter of truth that you start to pour it up in there how they'd be. But he's made great, great progress there and I think he's made exceptional progress in terms of flexibility, not being a line runner. There are lines in the playbook but they can't possibly describe to you all the options you have along that line. So just the understanding, some of the flexibility he has along that line."
CB Antoine Winfield continues to be sidelined with an injury to his right foot that kept him out of the Vikings' final two games before the bye. It appears Winfield could miss at least one more game. The Vikings will play host to the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
WR Vinny Perretta, a member of the Vikings' practice squad, was the only player not at practice Monday as the team returned from its bye. Perretta was dealing with a family issue, according to Childress.
WR Darius Reynaud hasn't played since Week 3 because of a hamstring injury but he appears ready to return. However, wide receiver Jaymar Johnson has taken over as the Vikings' primary punt returner.
FB Naufahu Tahi missed the Vikings' victory over the Packers on Nov. 1 because of an eye injury but appears ready to return. He was back practicing on Monday.
CB Asher Allen has seen playing time in the nickel package with Winfield out but it's not clear if he will remain among the game-day actives once the veteran returns.