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Minnesota Vikings' Hurdle to the Playoffs: The Schedule

Andy SmithCorrespondent IJune 15, 2009

A champion is defined by the way he wins and the road he took to get there. For almost every championship team, the regular season is the best tool to shape them into the champion they will soon become.

It provides defining moments and heart breaks. Whether it's good times or bad, the regular season will always shape a team towards it's destiny or it's failure.

This is the case for the 2009-2010 Minnesota Vikings, a young, speedy, talented squad ready to prove it has the team of a champion.

It's been said many times by NFL fans and analysts alike that the Vikings' Achille's heel is its poor quarterback position. So far and for many years past, this has been the case.

With poor play from the position, the Minnesota Vikings have never been able to jump the hurdle and win a Super Bowl. In it's proud history, the Purple has never won "the big one," appearing in four, only to be sent home empty handed.

However, many use the excuse of poor QB play to cover up for the other factor that comes into play every year once regular season starts.

The regular season is the biggest hurdle in a team's road to the Super Bowl. If a team plays dreadfully during the regular season, then they are obviously not heading to the playoffs.

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The Minnesota Vikings would love to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history, but in order to do that they must survive one of NFL's most toughest divisions, the NFC North, and survive its regular season.

In a tough, "Black and Blue" division like the NFC North; that's easier said then done.

The Vikings' divisional opponents have been strengthening their teams; the biggest increase was with the Chicago Bears' blockbuster trade for former Denver Bronco quarterback Jay Cutler, seeking its first franchise QB since the days of Jim McMahon.

The Minnesota Vikings open the regular season on the road for two games, facing a Cleavland Browns team under the new direction of head coach Eric Mangini and then face one of three division opponents, the Detroit Lions. The Lions are struggling to rebuild and trying to shed themselves from the last years historic 0-16 season.

However, it's not these games other then the fact that they are road games that raises concern.

It had matchups against last year's Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, and a surprising 2008 Baltimore Ravens' squad. These two games pit the Vikings up against two of the NFL's and the AFC North's toughest defenses.

Both teams were capable of causing havoc for opposing quarterbacks and forcing turnovers. They're littered with talent from names like Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed, and Ray Lewis to James Farrior and Terrel Suggs.

The Vikings will also have to play a offensive threat in the Carolina Panthers in Carolina as well as the Cincinnati Bengals, while trying to cover star Wide Receivers Steve Smith of the Panthers and Chad Johnson, a.k.a. Ocho Cinco of the Bengals.

The biggest test of all will come from annual meetings with division rivals the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. They're already expected to battle Chicago for the NFC North title.

If this is the case, the Vikings' season and playoff hopes may rest on a Dec. 28 Monday night matchup against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, a battle for more than an NFC North title; it's a shot at a Super Bowl title.

If the Minnesota Vikings' 2009-2010 season is to be a successful one, it will start with their schedule, ranked as one of the easier schedules in the NFL.

Matchups against the AFC North and the NFC West will prove more important then ever. And any chance at playoffs will first and for most start with success against NFC North rivals home and away.

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