There ar few games around the league that have the type of impact Thursday’s win for the Minnesota Vikings. Instead of having a leg up in a tight race for the division, the Vikings are now lapping the field.
The Vikings’ win puts them three games up on Detroit with five games to go. Had they lost to the Lions, it would have brought them within one game and given Detroit the tiebreaker in the event of a tie.
The difference in strength of schedule could have opened the door for the Lions. Over the next five weeks, they face Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Cincinnati and Green Bay. Now even with five straight wins, the Lions wouldn’t have a great chance at taking the NFC North.
Minnesota has back-to-back tough matchups coming up as they play on the road at Atlanta and Carolina. They wrap up the year with the Bengals, Packers and Bears – two of which games are at home.
With two wins in a five-day stretch, the Vikings have a strong case for being the NFC’s strongest team – with Philadelphia and New Orleans in the conversation. The Eagles take on Chicago on Sunday and New Orleans takes on the L.A Rams.
Head coach Mike Zimmer isn’t getting overly excited despite his team’s 9-2 record.
“We really try to focus on each week. I know that’s a boring answer, but it’s really true,” Zimmer said.
The Vikings have been led by quarterback Case Keenum, who won his eighth game in 10 appearances this season. He tossed two touchdowns and went 21-for-30 for 282 yards.
“Any opportunity that you get is special,” Keenum said after the win. “Any experience that you have is priceless. I’ve used all of the experiences I’ve had. I’ve continued to try and get better and better.”