| | The Minnesota Vikings - Everyone’s New Bandwagon Team
The Minnesota Vikings, given up for dead about a month ago, are suddenly everyone’s newfound favorite team. On nearly every sports talk show you hear everyone touting the Vikings as a definite playoff team. What a switch that is.
The Vikings were written off for dead at 2-5 on Halloween and most people thought head coach Mike Tice would be fired. They have won five in a row since and quarterback Brad Johnson is the big reason why.
"It's just us being a confident team," linebacker Keith Newman said. "We were 2-5, but we really weren't playing well. We had a lot of distractions off the field. There were a lot of different things going on. When you have that kind of lofty expectations put on you, you're never going to be where you thought you'd be, but the landscape of the NFL changes on a weekly basis."
The Vikings play three of their final four games at home, including Sunday's game against St. Louis, and most people believe they are the favorite in the NFC wild card race. They are one game behind Tampa Bay (8-4), with Dallas and Atlanta also at 7-5.
"Our focus is not on the wild card, our focus is on winning the NFC North," Newman said. "That's our first goal. If we're going to rely on tiebreakers, or this to happen or that to happen, we're going to be on the outside looking in."
The Vikings have also been helped by a very favorable schedule. They have beaten the Lions twice, edged the Giants without scoring an offensive touchdown, then beat Green Bay and Cleveland. Remaining on the schedule is the free-falling Rams (5-7) the stumbling Steelers (7-5) and head to Baltimore (4-8) before the season finale at home against the Bears. "You sneak a peek at the what-ifs. It's human nature," tight end Jermaine Wiggins said.
"Players will not be allowed to look ahead if I can help it," head coach Mike Tice said. "I don't want to hear any discussion about anything other than the Rams. I think they'll adhere to that advice, or they should. If they don't, we'll see what type of penalties we'll employ."