There is, as the most obvious of sports cliches goes, a lot of football left to be played.
So, even as the Vikings take their 1-3 record against Carolina at the Dome this Sunday, there are still playoff hopes among the purple faithful.
But is there even reason for optimism? Is it just a matter of self-delusion to think the 2013 Vikings might have some post-season added to this very tenuous season?
Depends who you ask.
But to show how much tea-leaf reading is really a subjective thing, we offer two scenarios:
1) The Vikings have about as much chance of making the playoffs as Bud Grant putting on gloves in cold weather: Ain't gonna happen. We know all the previous precedents that say a 1-3 start is basically a death knell, but we find these numbers at Football Outsider most compelling, mostly because it looks like some real complicated math went into the assessment.
The conclusion: The Vikings are now projected to get 5.8 wins this season (we told you there was math) and apparently have a 3.6 percent chance of making it to post-season.
2) Will the Vikings make the playoffs? Did Randy Moss moon Lambeau Field? The answer is an unequivocal yes! Sort of ... maybe ... from Vikings.com.
The whole NCF stinks, says this assessment, with only five teams in the conference with winning records. "The point here is not that it’s okay to be 1-3," says Vikings.com, "rather, the point is the Vikings are not far off the pace (just one game back in the loss column in the division) and a win on Sunday against Carolina will move them even closer."
Okay, so Vikings.com is really assessing the team's chances of clawing back to a .500 record, but 8-8 teams get into the post-season, like, well ... sometimes.
And there you have it sports fans. The Vikings will either make the playoffs, or totally won't. You can bank on it.