Given the Bears' struggles, they have dropped three in a row to fall to 4-6 and quarterback Jay Cutler has struggled, Minnesota has been installed as a heavy 10.5-point favorite.
However, the Vikings are doing everything within their power to pay no attention to all the praise being heaped on them by odds makers and the national media.
"We're getting a lot of pats on the back right now because we're winning, but at the same time we want to keep our eye on the goal," tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said.
There is little doubt that with the talent on this roster and the way quarterback Brett Favre has been performing that the realistic goal for the Vikings is not only finishing with the best record in the NFC but also making it to the Super Bowl.
If that was in question, it shouldn't be after the Vikings' dominating 35-9 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at the Metrodome.
Favre was nearly perfect, completing a franchise record and personal best 88 percent of his passes, and the Vikings did not let up on the Seahawks after scoring 21 second-quarter points.
Granted, Seattle is a porous team that fell to 3-7, but the NFL is full of mediocre to bad teams and the Vikings have taken advantage of that fact with victories over teams such as Cleveland, St. Louis and San Francisco. So far, Favre has proven to be better than anyone could have expected, and the 40-year-old is a legitimate MVP candidate with 21 touchdowns and an even more remarkable three interceptions.
The Vikings could be 10-1 after Sunday and will enter December with games remaining against Arizona, Carolina and Chicago on the road and Cincinnati and the Giants at home. The three road games are all set for prime time, with the meeting with the Cardinals on Dec. 6 having been flexed to a Sunday night start on NBC.
As far as the division goes, those late-season games shouldn't mean much given that the Vikings figure to clinch the NFC North early. However, Minnesota is hoping to get a shot at the best record in the conference and is only one game behind 10-0 New Orleans. The Saints play host to New England (7-3) on Monday night.
Wide receiver Sidney Rice, who leads the Vikings with 50 receptions, said he isn't concerned about the Vikings becoming overconfident no matter what happens.
"I feel like this is not that type of team," he said. "Everybody is down to earth. We know the job that we have to do and what's expected from us. We're not going to get carried away with confidence. We're going to be confident but not get carried away with it."
SERIES HISTORY: 96th regular-season meeting. Vikings lead, 51-42-2. The teams are deadlocked at nine victories apiece since the 2000 season. The Bears did win the only playoff meeting, beating the Vikings 35-18 in a first-round game in 1994 at the Metrodome. The Vikings are 30-19 at home against the Bears, including that postseason loss.