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Timing Is Everything

October 4, 2010

The Minnesota Vikings resume practice today after their week 4 bye. After dropping their first two games, the team is trying to build off of the momentum of a divisional win against the Detroit Lions in week 3. The Vikings overall record on the season is 1-2, but after watching the division leading Bears muster only 3 points in a loss to the Giants and the Packers eke out a win against the Lions this week, the Vikings’ two losses aren’t looking so bad.

At this point last season, the Vikings were 4-0, fresh off a victory against the rival Green Bay Packers and on their way to a 12-4 season. But this is a new year with new challenges, including a much more difficult schedule to contend with.

One of the disadvantages of having a great season is your schedule the following year. Who you play is determined by where you finish the previous season, but when you play each team is decided by the schedule makers. And the Vikings were not given any favors with the making of this year’s schedule. Brad Childress’ team will be tested in October as the team faces the Jets, Cowboys, Patriots, and Packers.

“I don’t know if I would have drawn it up that way, but we’re not going to back away from a challenge,” Childress said.

As the Pioneer Press‘ Jeremy Fowler points out, the Vikings next four opponents have “a combined .635 winning percentage” over the past three seasons. In order to survive a difficult October — not to mention the rest of the season — the Vikings will need the defense to continue its dominance. A few vintage performances from Adrian Peterson and Brett Favre wouldn’t hurt either.

The Vikings face off against the Jets on Monday Night Football this week. After dropping their first game, the Jets have won 3 straight contests. They are led by a stout defense and an efficient offense. Quarterback Mark Sanchez has thrown 8 touchdown passes and no interceptions in 4 games this season, and with the rebirth of LaDanian Tomlinson this week, the Jets’ offense appears to be finding a rhythm.

Both the Jets and Vikings came into the season with Super Bowl aspirations. The Jets are playing well and living up to the preseason hype, but the Vikings are simply looking for a win. A loss to the Jets would not be the end of the season for the Vikings, but a victory would put the team back in the postseason conversation.

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