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Next 5 weeks could prove critical for Vikings' playoff chances

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If the Vikings play their cards right over the next five weeks, they could be sitting pretty with a 7-2 record headed into a Week 11 matchup with the Packers at TCF Bank Stadium.

As ESPN points out, this is the soft part of the schedule the Vikings need to take advantage of. Over the next five weeks the Vikings will play a group of teams with a combined record of 7-18.

  • Week 6: Kansas City Chiefs (1-4)
  • Week 7: Detroit Lions (0-5)
  • Week 8: Chicago Bears (2-3)
  • Week 9: St. Louis Rams (2-3)
  • Week 10: Oakland Raiders (2-3)

The Chiefs come to Minneapolis this week minus all-pro running back Jamaal Charles, who is likely done for the season after likely tearing his ACL in an 18-17 loss to Chicago on Sunday. Minnesota then plays the Lions and Bears on the road; Detroit is the only winless team in the league. St. Louis and the Raiders aren't bad, but both games are winnable.

Weeks 11-17 are daunting, as Minnesota has to play the Packers, Falcons, Seahawks, Cardinals, Bears, Giants and Packers. Those six teams are a combined 21-6, with Green Bay and Atlanta still undefeated.

Green Bay already owns a three-game lead on the second place Vikings in the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers and company host the Chargers this week, then comes their bye followed by tough road games at Denver and Carolina.

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