On the strength of another strong defensive performance against another underwhelming offensive opponent, the Minnesota Vikings moved to 7-6 on Sunday, solidifying their prospects for making the 2007-2008 NFL playoffs. While the 27-7 drubbing of the San Francisco 49ers should lay to rest concerns about the Vikings not being prepared to win games that they should win, the victory was not without its reminders that the Vikings still have several things on which they must improve before they are ready to challenge the two or three heavy-weights in the NFL.
The primary area of concern for the Vikings in the big picture is that, while they have been winning of late, and while they have been winning by sizeable margins, the team's victories have been coming mostly at the expense of the league's decidedly lesser teams. While these trends were positives on Sunday, the Vikings will have to show that they can continue their trend of positive play against the lesser teams when facing the league's better teams.
The Vikings' seven victories this season have come over teams with a combined winning percentage of .416. The team's six losses--two against the Packers--have been against teams with a combined winning percentage of .585.
Should the Vikings make the playoffs this season, they would be facing a field with an approximate winning percentage of .719. That's a sizeable improvement in the caliber of team that the Vikings would be facing in the playoffs over what they have faced in all but one of their victories this season.
All of which is not to suggest that the Vikings are incapable of beating some of the better teams in the NFL. They might very well have made some of the adjustments necessary to stop strong passing attacks and to maneuver through stalwart passing defenses. But whether they have made the adjustments to address weaknesses most dramatically laid bare several weeks ago in a loss to Green Bay, however, will not be answered until the playoffs, as the Vikings face three more weak teams in their final three games of the regular season.
Up Next: Some Good Signs and Some Continuing Concerns. Plus, is it the end of the Millen Era in Detroit?