The Vikings will be trying to break an eight-game road losing streak on Sunday as they face the Bears at Soldier Field.
Minnesota is hoping it gained some momentum by rallying from a 14-point deficit on Sunday against Arizona to beat the Cardinals 27-24 in overtime. That ended a two-game losing streak for the Vikings and temporarily ended speculation that coach Brad Childress' job was in jeopardy.
But in order to get Childress off the hot seat the Vikings will need far more long-term success than a furious rally that began with less than 5 minutes left in Sunday's' game.
The victory pulled the Vikings to 3-5, putting them in third place in the NFC North behind Green Bay (6-3) and Chicago (5-3).
"We certainly hope so," linebacker Chad Greenway
said when asked if the victory over the Cardinals could serve as a springboard. "Obviously we've been really inconsistent but the key was we were able to pull out a tight one at the end which is something we've obviously struggled with all season. ... This game is all about confidence and hopefully we gained some and we can push it into next week."
Said Childress of the comeback: "It's a testament to, I think, the kind of guys we've got in the locker room. Thought they had the opportunity. Coaches did a good job of keeping them well-prepared, and I think it's just a testimony to those guys' resolve. I think the last time was seven years ago that somebody came back from 14 points down at that late point in time. It's sure something to build on."
One of the big questions that remain is the status of the relationship between Childress and his players. There has been a definite friction there that goes beyond Childress' decision to release wide receiver Randy Moss
last week - a move that angered owner Zygi Wilf because he wasn't consulted.
It was interesting that after the victory Vikings players went out of their way to say they won for themselves or the team but directed it away from having won to save Childress' job.
Childress said he has received no assurances about his future and doesn't sound too worried about it. Greenway also said he doesn't need to hear anything definitive about his coach.
"I think you guys want that, obviously, because you continue to prod at me," he said. "But it's not what it's about. It really isn't. What it's about in this league is stringing a couple, two, three, four, five wins together to be in a position at the end of the season to make the playoffs. That should be the focus. It shouldn't be anything else. Hopefully that's all in the past and we can continue to move forward now."
Quarterback Brett Favre on the hurry-up offense the Vikings ran Sunday against Arizona. "I feel like I flourish in those situations," he said. "At that point in the game, you've got no other choice but to take chances. I feel like that's been my forte throughout my career." It certainly proved effective, as the Vikings rallied from 14 points down to tie before winning in overtime.
Wide receiver Bernard Berrian was well aware of the quiet environment in Mall of America Field on Sunday that did not change until his team began to rally late in the fourth quarter. "It did feel like the whole second, going into the third quarter, you would ask, 'Does it even feel like a game out here?'" Berrian said. "But we just kept clawing and scrapping and came out with a win."
Linebacker E.J. Henderson was part of a late-game effort by the defense that helped spark the Vikings' rally. Arizona had minus-9 yards on its last 12 offensive snaps. "We knew No. 4 (Favre) and the boys would score if we got it back to them, so that's what we did," Henderson said.
RB Adrian Peterson rushed for 81 yards on 15 attempts, giving him his second best per-carry average on the season at 5.4 yards. Peterson had two touchdowns, including only the second receiving one of his four-year career. His first came in his NFL debut in 2007 against the Atlanta Falcons. Peterson is second on the team with 26 catches for 257 yards. His career-high for receptions came last season when he caught 43 passes.
TE Visanthe Shiancoe did not catch his first pass until the fourth quarter but he finished with four receptions for 66 yards, including a 25-yard scoring catch that tied it with 27 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Shiancoe is third on the Vikings with 24 receptions for 331 yards and two touchdowns.
WR Greg Camarillo saw easily his most extensive action of the season and he did not disappoint. The sure-handed veteran caught four passes for 66 yards and also prevented a touchdown in the first quarter when he raced across the field and stripped the ball from Arizona's Kerry Rhodes as Rhodes neared the end zone. The ball went out of the end zone for a touchback and the Vikings got it back.
DE Jared Allen had 2.5 sacks after having only one all season that he recorded in Week 2. The Vikings had six as a team, equaling their total for the season.
DE Ray Edwards was credited with two sacks to increase his season total to 3.5 for the season. That ties Allen for the team lead.
CB Lito Sheppard played in a dime defense that the Vikings employed on a few occasions against the Cardinals. The Vikings normally only employ a nickel defense in passing situations.
The Vikings barely snuck in a home win against an average team, and they needed overtime to do it. Can they take that win and use it for momentum on the road and in the division?
Can the Vikings take OT win and use it for momentum on the road and in the division?