The Minnesota Vikings, who started their 2012 campaign off to the tune of 5-2, are now 6-6 and staring elimination from the playoff hunt straight in the face. Their postseason dreams, albeit weak, are still alive, but a win against the Chicago Bears in Week 14 is imperative to maintaining some semblance of hope.
What was a pleasant surprise for Vikings fans has quickly turned into a sour season full of disappointment and frustration. With Christian Ponder crumbling at midseason and the painful loss of Percy Harvin lingering like a swift kick to the shin, Minnesota has lost four of their last five and appear to have mentally checked out.
At this point, though, a win would do wonders for not only their playoff hopes, but their team morale as well.
Especially against a divisional foe like the Bears, the Vikings might rediscover some of that early-season mojo that got them off to such a hot start if they could muster a win on Sunday. That, however, will all depend on whether or not the Vikings can shake off the cobwebs and come ready to play. Ponder needs to play like the confident quarterback that shredded a few defenses earlier in the season, and the porous run defense needs to plug up the holes that they’ve been letting opponents exploit all year long.
Assuming they can do all of that, the postseason could still be within reach. Although they’d need some teams like the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to fall into late-season slumps, it’s not completely out of the question to think that the Vikings could be playing when January rolls around.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the Vikings are desperate for a win. The panic button has already been pushed; hopefully head coach Leslie Frazier can light a fire under his team and lead them to a much-needed victory against an inconsistent Bears team in Week 14.
If not, the Vikings can kiss their fading playoff hopes goodbye.