Its been a roller-coaster week for the Vikings.
Sunday night they fought back against the Bears to claim the NFC North lead for the first time all season. By midweek, the suspensions against Kevin and Pat Williams have been upheld, and the Vikes looked to be without their top run stoppers for the remainder of the regular season.
The punditry had long pointed to this game as the Lions best chance to avoid the dreaded 0-16 season. With a schedule that concludes with the Vikings at home, at Indy (winners of their last five), home against the Saints (who will be fighting for their playoff lives, and boast one of the NFL's best offenses), and a trip to the Frozen Tundra to face the Packers, it's easy to see why.
Add in the chaos of the Williams' legal issues, and this could be a bona fide trap game.
But it won't be.
The Williamses will almost certainly play, since a federal court has agreed to hear their case on Friday morning. There is enough gray area within this case that unless the judge is ready to render his verdict that afternoon, a temporary injunction could (and should) be granted to prevent undue loss of pay to the players in question.
Even if, and perhaps, especially if, the Williamses are suspended, the Vikings will be ready for this game. They, too, finish the season with tough opponents and losing a game like this means they would basically need to win out in order to secure their playoff birth.
If that wasn't enough, the Vikings will face their former Quarterback in Daunte Culpepper. Even without their stalwarts, the defense will want to make life difficult for the QB whose less than graceful exit from the team helped to usher in the current era of quarterback issues.
The final reason the Vikings won't fall prey to the Lions, is one Adrian Peterson. The Lions have been shredded by powerful running backs over the last few weeks, and Peterson is one of the hardest runners in the NFL. While expecting the Lions to surrender the 292 rushing yard and four TDs they gave up to the Titans for the second week in a row might be a little optimistic, Peterson and Chester Taylor are even better than the Titans duo of Chris Johnson and LenDale White.
The long week to prepare will give the Lions some advantage, and they will come out hungry for the win, no doubt. But the Vikings are playing for their lives as well, and the running attack isn't about to abate against the league's worst rush defense.
The Vikes will prevail in this one, Williams wall or not.