Amidst the negative locker room chatter berating head coach Brad Childress, and the clamoring over media buzz girl Jenn Sterger, there is still one of the better teams in the NFL just waiting to rid themselves of a nightmarish season that has seemingly knocked the wind out of the Vikings' sails.
But for the Minnesota faithful, it’s now or never.
The Vikings get set to disembark onto Soldier Field to face the Chicago Bears in an incredibly pivotal game that could raise the Vikings to near .500, which would breathe hope into their dwindling playoff aspirations; this in turn would afford the Vikings some much needed breathing room in the race to the playoffs.
But is a win in Chicago enough to turn things around?
There is more to a championship team than just the right group of players; there is an equally important psychological factor.
This is a team that is seemingly losing faith in their head coach; a team that has been inundated with news about their quarterback’s frivolous history, as well as his uncertain future; and a team that has all the right pieces, but is a little short on focus.
Similar to a bunch of villains who have to pull together for one common goal, the Vikings are in a position where they have to make a decision—as a collective—to either wade in the mire that has engrossed them, or allow it to leave their promising season in utter ruination.
So yes, it is now or never.
With seven difficult games remaining, and an already damaged team ego, the Vikings have a golden opportunity to put the first half of the season behind them and sort of start anew, but I have to imagine that if they do get to the postseason, and even win the big one, it will be one of the most tarnished championship wins in my recent memory.
Or would it?
Does it really matter what happens during the course of a season? Does it really matter that Brett Favre found new and exciting ways to “text”? Does it really matter that the players are peeved, even a bit disingenuous, towards their head coach?
No, it doesn’t matter.
The stories of Jenn Sterger will fade like the blurred out TV image of his text, the petty locker room jargon surrounding Brad Childress will be considered nothing more than “par-for-the-course”, and the dismal first half of the season will be nothing more than an afterthought.
Don’t believe me? Ask Packers fans what was more important: Brett Favre’s Vicodin addiction, or the Super Bowl win.
The team and the fanbase are a giant singularity. They share the embarrassing happenstances together; they wear the same in-game arguments on their sleeves; they rise with every win and fall with every failure.
And they lust after the same prize.
But the prize is often found within the team long before they ever get to the big show, and the first glimpse of this strange transformation can happen at any time during the regular season.
For the Minnesota Vikings, it’s now or never.