A Win Is Necessary for Vikings on Sunday

Reactions after Vikings Beat Bears in Another Comeback Win
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The Minnesota Vikings’ season went down the tubes early this season when they got off to a slow start, and Kirk Cousins bowed out with a torn Achilles. Justin Jefferson also hit injured reserve, and everything was going wrong for Kevin O’Connell’s squad.

A Win Is Necessary for Vikings on Sunday

After ripping off a winning streak, they are once again in jeopardy of a fruitless year. Sunday’s game could be the season.

Heading into their bye week, the Minnesota Vikings got a cupcake in the form of the Chicago Bears. Justin Fields was back under center, but a less-than-talented team was coming into U.S. Bank Stadium, and there was no reason for the home team to lose. The Vikings’ defense showed up and allowed just 12 points for the opposition, but Kevin O’Connell and his offense couldn’t stop tripping over themselves and put up just 10 points of their own.

A Win Is Necessary
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Minnesota now has two weeks to fix things and get it right. The offense is being infused with the presence of Justin Jefferson returning from injured reserve, and a better gameplan should support Josh Dobbs. There is no reason a better foot forward can’t be achieved against a mediocre Las Vegas Raiders team, but it absolutely has to happen.

While the Vikings do control their playoff destiny, that also requires them to right the ship. They have now lost two straight winnable games, and doing so for a third straight week would be unacceptable. This is the last game on the schedule where Minnesota should feel good about walking into a contest, and every other opportunity gets worse if they can’t capitalize on this one.

A Vikings Stalwart
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It was a benefit for Minnesota that the Green Bay Packers upset the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving, but they squandered any opportunity to capitalize with the recent losses. Now, having a final game against Green Bay on tap and a pair with the Lions, they can dictate how the season finishes. There is still a path to a ten-win season, but they have done themselves no favors.

Making a deep run in the playoffs remains unlikely, but with so many uncertainties across the league, there is hardly a straightforward plan to take a deep breath. The Vikings have enough talent to upset plenty of better teams, as we saw earlier against the San Francisco 49ers, but it will require a full-game effort.

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Justin Jefferson can establish himself as an X-factor for the Vikings as he returns to the active roster. How well he produces will largely be tied to the ability and rapport Josh Dobbs can show with him. That said, getting a talent as good as Jefferson for a tough run down the stretch is hardly a detriment for any team looking to make noise.

This has been a roller coaster of a season for the Vikings. They haven’t rolled over and given in to their fate at any point, but it is now do or die. There is no ideal path for Minnesota to make the playoffs if they lose on Sunday, and playing what should feel like a home game against a lackluster Raiders team should give them ample opportunity to get the job done.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.