The Minnesota Vikings are on the verge of turning their season around. After defeating the Detroit Lions on Sunday, Viking fans have turned their attention away from "Tank for Trevor" and begun asking themselves if this team has what it takes to get into the playoffs.
Sunday's win was huge from that standpoint as it brought the Vikings record to 3-5. Although that's not inspiring, Minnesota has played better in recent weeks and is beginning to come within striking distance of the seventh playoff spot in the NFC.
The NFC's playoff situation has a log jam for its wild card spots. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sit toward the top of the pack with a 6-3 record, but the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams hold the final two spots with a record of 5-3.
With the Vikings two games back of a playoff spot, the next few weeks will be crucial to pull off an improbable trip to the playoffs.
The stretch will start against the Chicago Bears next week. With a trip to Soldier Field on Monday Night Football, it would seem that the deck is stacked against the Vikings. But the Bears have lost three straight games since starting 5-2 and if the Viking defense can continue its own turnaround, they should be able to handle Nick Foles.
The following week, the Vikings will receive a visit from the Dallas Cowboys. As part of a miserable NFC East, the Cowboys should be out of contention for a wild card spot, but still brings plenty of talent. The makeshift secondary will be tested against Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup, but it's another winnable game for the Vikings.
From there, the Vikings will embark on a stretch of games they should be able to win. Teddy Bridgewater's return to Minnesota in Week 12 and a visit from the Jacksonville Jaguars should get a couple of notches in the win column and pave the way to a Week 13 showdown in Tampa Bay.
If the Vikings can score four straight wins, they could be rolling into Raymond James Stadium at 7-5 and in line to hold their own destiny heading into their final four games of the year.
The final month will be difficult with trips to Tampa Bay and New Orleans, but also a pair of winnable games against Chicago and Detroit.
There are plenty of questions surrounding the Vikings between now and then, but what seemed like a pipe dream just a couple of weeks ago could become a reality. If the Vikings can find their way into the playoffs, they'll be a team that has gotten hot and could make a surprising run.