The 5 Games That Will Determine the Vikings' Fate in 2013

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The 5 Games That Will Determine the Vikings' Fate in 2013
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings fans know that not every game is created equal—while straight win-loss records determine who ends up making the playoffs, some games stand out as simply more important than others.

With new rosters solidifying across the league and offseason training about to hit full swing, now is a better time than ever to fully evaluate who on the schedule might cause the most problems or become the key matchups of the season.

An oft-doubted team like the young Vikings needs to constantly establish themselves if they are to earn respect, despite entering the season with the defending MVP selection in Adrian Peterson and a handful of Pro Bowl honorees.

Despite a playoff appearance under the umbrella of a solid 10-6 record (and an incredible four-game run), established media are ranking the Vikings in the middle of the pack. ESPN has decided the Vikings are worth a ranking of 17th overall, while CBS argues they are closer to a 19th seed. The best might be from NFL Network analyst Eliot Harrison, who gave the Vikings a solid rank of 12th after an exciting draft.

The best way to build to playoff success and regain that respect will be to dominate in the most important games of the season.

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