The term must-win is overused, but we wouldn't be telling the truth if we said Sunday's game in Washington is really, really important for the Vikings.
"The big thing is we need to win," said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer. "It's time we need to win, so that at the end of the day that's the most important thing."
So what's at stake?
After starting the year 5-0, the Vikings could deal their playoff hopes a major setback with a fourth straight loss.
Things could get worse too, with a brutal three-game stretch over 12 days that includes:
- Arizona (3-4-1)
- at Detroit (5-4)
- Dallas (7-1)
In case you haven't noticed, both Detroit and Green Bay have closed in on Minnesota for the lead in the NFC North.
While the Vikings are dealing with their toughest portion of the schedule, things get easier for both the Lions and Packers. Green Bay plays at Washington, at Philadelphia and hosts the Texans.
But the real concern might be the suddenly-hot Lions. Detroit hosts the Jaguars, the Vikings and plays at the Saints.
A loss Sunday would give Detroit the same record as the Vikings. They also already own a victory over Minnesota at U.S. Bank Stadium, meaning they hold the advantage.
If the Vikings don't win Sunday it might be a bumpy ride until the end of the season.