by Mike Marek
Sunday amounted to be another confirmation that this year’s Vikings team is the real deal. Once again, a challenge presented itself, and the Vikings answered the bell.
All-world wide receiver Julio Jones was held in check, the Vikings’ defense played amazingly well keeping the high-octane Atlanta offense out of the end zone, and the Vikings scored in the red zone when they needed to. The result? Another Vikings’ victory and a spot atop the NFC.
The Vikings are playing football at a high level. At this point of the season no one on the NFC side of the league is playing as dominant a brand of football as the Minnesota Vikings.
Sure, the Eagles look tough with their high-flying offense, but they showed difficulty playing against a quality defense ala Seattle on Sunday night football. The Vikings also happen to have a pretty decent presence on this side of the ball.
The NFC south has proved to be a problem for everyone in the league with the exception of the Vikings. The purple have a chance to sweep the whole division this Sunday with a win over Carolina.
Some point to the Rams as the new hot team that is a trendy pick for the Super Bowl; however, the Vikings dismissed them a few weeks ago without leaving the game in doubt for too long.
One needs to ask, what else could stand in the way of this team and going to the Super Bowl? The answer is simple: themselves.
The Vikings are rolling right now, but the key to their success has been the chip that has so firmly been placed on their shoulder. Having a chip is all fine and good when you are trailing in the race, but now that they are in the lead they need the keep the pressure on. Doing so will be crucial for their run throughout the regular season, and they must push for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Vikings need to remember that championships aren’t won in December, and they shouldn’t start reading their own headlines. They need to stay scrappy, and keep their underdog mentality as much as possible. Thankfully, what looked to be a tough schedule for the Vikings down the stretch might be a blessing in disguise.
Luckily for the Vikings the path to get to the playoffs provides some additional motivation. It all starts with a matchup against potential playoff opponent Carolina this week, followed up with a game against Zimmer’s old squad the Bengals the following week, and wrapping with two straight divisional matchups against the Packers and Bears which the Vikings always take seriously.
It’s starting to feel like a 14-2 final record, and that could just be the beginning for the Vikings, because according to Mike Zimmer, “they haven’t accomplished anything yet, and we still have a lot of work left to do.”