Minnesota Vikings' Must-Win Sunday or Risk Losing Hope for a Successful Season

John SzurlejAnalyst ISeptember 15, 2011

NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 13:  Coach Leslie Frazier of the Minnesota Vikings watches his team against the Tennessee Titans during a preseason game at LP Field on August 13, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. Tennessee defeated Minnestoa, 14-3. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings may be the first team to come to a crossroads if they fail to win at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Although it is only Week 2, the embarrassing performance of the team against the San Diego Chargers has left this team severely interrupted.

After a dismal performance from quarterback, Donovan McNabb, and the inability of the Vikings' receivers to catch a ball, let alone get open, has left the only reliable source of offense, Adrian Peterson, with a massive cross to bear.

This team already entered the 2011 season with the expectations of riding its prized back's talents and assumed everything else would fall into place.

Some call it a rebuilding year, some say the addition of McNabb shows it's not, but one thing is certain.

The Vikings are not in the position of playing the wait and see game.

With a challenging schedule that includes division rivals Detroit and Green Bay ahead of it before Week 9's bye, this team is forced to figure out where it is headed and how to fix the problems at hand.

It is entirely possible that this team can wind up 2-7 before the bye week, as the teams it faces all have considerable offensive weapons in comparison to the Vikings.

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 11:  Donovan McNabb #5 of the Minnesota Vikings in the huddle with his teammates against the San Diego Chargers during their season-opening game on September 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San DIego, California. (Photo by Donald
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

The Vikings' inability to score points outside of the ground game has also added the pressure of the importance of finding themselves and winning quickly!

The Vikings face Tampa Bay, which luckily is undergoing a soul-searching process as well, as it too had an inconsistent showing in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions.

This game will feature several areas of interest for both teams and may simply come down to who can start the stalling engine first.

The Buccaneers do not have a considerable defense in comparison to many teams in the NFL, and the Vikings are relatively sound in this department against the Bucs.

This game could come down to a kicking game if both teams have to rely on the defenses to compensate for the offensive shortcomings through four quarters of play.

If McNabb cannot find a rhythm and start making plays, either with his feet or his arm, then he may experience a moment of deja vu soon enough as he will face another situation where the coaches lose faith in him, as they did in Washington.

For those who choose to find comfort in the fact that the season is only about to become two games old, keep in mind that the NFL waits for no one and the deeper the hole that you dig, means the longer the climb out.

A Vikings team cannot afford to start the season 0-2 or 0-3 in a division that houses the resurgent Detroit Lions, always dangerous Chicago Bears and defending champion Green Bay Packers if they intend to compete in 2011.

Head coach Leslie Frazier needs to start planning for all possibilities, including the possibility of Joe Webb or Christian Ponder, taking the reigns if his current quarterback continues to sputter.

The Vikings currently are approaching a crossroads faster than most would have expected and without solutions to their deficiencies, they risk losing their entire 2011 season before it even started.