Vikings Become ‘Significant' Again

Tarvaris Jackson ((Nick Laham/Getty)

The Vikings knew they had to do a better job of confusing the opposing quarterback and they accomplished that Sunday. That helped loft them back into the playoff conversation, and several players and coach Brad Childress offered their opinions on that topic.

Place whatever label you'd like on the probabilities. Inconceivable, unimaginable, implausible or something else. Fact is, the Vikings are back in the hunt for a wild card spot after a 41-17 win against the New York Giants.

"We went from success last week to significant this week. I felt like we needed to win this game. It's an important part of the season. Everybody wants to be significant," Vikings coach Brad Childress said. "That's the number one reason people lose their jobs – because they're not significant. One of the things we talked about to our guys was that. So we asked them all to be a significant part of this and I thought they did a great job."

The Vikings now have a two-game winning streak, their first winning streak since October 2006, and the second part of that streak came against a Giants team that entered the game on a roll at 7-3 and feeling good about their week of practice.

"We were just a footnote with no one talking about us and it was just another game to everybody, but it was very important to us," said quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who completed 10 of 12 passes for 129 yards without throwing an interception. "We knew we had to come here and it was going to be a hostile crowd, and we played well and started good early."

They did that despite playing without their most explosive offensive player – rookie running back Adrian Peterson – and one of their best all-around defenders in cornerback Antoine Winfield.

Peterson was held out of his second straight game with a torn lateral collateral ligament. However, Peterson was on the field running and cutting before the game and trying to convince the coaching and medical staffs that he was ready to play.

In his place, Chester Taylor rushed 31 times for 77 yards to help the Vikings control the clock with an early lead. Taylor's hard-earned yards limited the number of times Jackson needed to put the ball in the air.

"Chester, people forget that he was a 1,200-yard rusher. He's done a great job and it shows that we have other options," Jackson said.

Winfield was held out with a hamstring injury that sidelined him for the second half of the Vikings' win against the Oakland Raiders last Sunday.

With a 5-6 record, the Vikings are one game behind the Detroit Lions (6-5) for the second wild card spot in the NFC and face the Lions next Sunday in the Metrodome. The San Francisco 49ers helped the Vikings' cause with an overtime win against the Arizona Cardinals to move Arizona into a tie with Minnesota in the NFC standings. The Chicago Bears are also 5-6 after an overtime win against the Broncos, but the Bears have only two conference wins and the Vikings have a win in hand against them. The Vikings and Cardinals don't play this season. The Philadelphia Eagles, who beat the Vikings earlier this year, are 5-6 after a loss to the Patriots Sunday night and also have a 3-5 conference record.

"You try not to think about the playoffs. When you've dug a hole the way we've dug a hole, you try to just dig until you see light. We just try to take every week as one week, and if we win the games we need to win then we don't have to worry about the playoffs because we will be there," said safety Dwight Smith, who returned an interception 93 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. "We have been letting teams stay in there and giving them rays of hope, but today we were going to try to put our foot on their throat and keep it that way." Smith's touchdown expanded the Vikings' lead to 34-10 early in the fourth quarter with his second interception of the day and the team's second interception return for a touchdown in the game. Less than a minute later, the lead ballooned to 41-10 when Chad Greenway returned another interception for a touchdown.

"It is big for us because we haven't been able to put two wins together back-to-back, and to be able to come in here in a hostile environment against to me one of the better teams in the NFC is huge," fullback Tony Richardson said. "It's something we can build on."

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