Minnesota Vikings: Players Who Will Play Crucial Roles Down the Home Stretch

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Minnesota Vikings: Players Who Will Play Crucial Roles Down the Home Stretch
Andy King/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings are currently one of four NFC teams who sit at 6-4 with six games to play in the 2012 NFL season. With four of those final six games against division rivals Chicago and Green Bay, the Vikings are firmly in control of their own destiny in regard to winning the NFC North and making the playoffs.

In reality, the Vikings may be underdogs in all six of their remaining games, but the mindset at Winter Park has to be, "Why not us?" There are certainly no unbeatable teams in the NFL this year, and if the Vikings follow the old cliche of "one game at a time," their goal of reaching the playoffs certainly isn't an absurd one.

It's been a wildly inconsistent season for the Vikings through 10 games, but that statement would apply to about 27 of the league's 32 teams.

At their best this season, the Vikings have looked like a playoff team. With two of the best weapons in the league on their side, the Vikings offense has had to ride the ups and downs that come with a second-year quarterback.

On defense, Minnesota has been all over the map, playing five very good games and five pretty poor ones.

The Vikings will be coming off their bye week heading to Chicago under ideal conditions. Minnesota will be rested and ready and the Chicago Bears are coming off a short week and quarterback Jay Cutler remains a question mark. 

As the Vikings begin a two-game stretch where they would love to steal a game at either Chicago or Green Bay, we take a look at a handful of players who will play crucial roles down the home stretch of the 2012 season.

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