What's it take to win a Super Bowl?
"First of all, most championship teams have an elite quarterback. No. 2, the defense will be playing well. Three, the team will be playing well at the right time of the season."
That's what Packers cornerback Tramon Williams told ESPN.com in 2012, which ESPN backed up with similar opinions from more NFL players and coaches.
Do the Vikings have all three parts to the formula? Kind of, sort of.
Elite QB? ✔️
The Vikings don't have an elite quarterback in the eyes of public opinion, but Case Keenum has put some elite performances on tape.
According to ESPN's QBR rankings, Keenum has two of the seven best games by a quarterback this season. His 4-touchdown day against the Redskins is No. 2 on the list and his 369 yards and 3-touchdown game against Tampa Bay is No. 7.
Sam Bradford's Week 1 slaughter of the Saints is No. 5 on the list.
That's three of the top seven games by a quarterback this season. Not even Eagles MVP candidate Carson Wentz can say that.
Defense playing well? ✔️
Washington racked up 396 yards of total offense against Minnesota, but that's 102 yards more than they usually allow. Overall, the Vikings are fifth in scoring defense (18.3 points per game) and they're pretty much top 10 in every other key category.
- Total defense: 5th
- Passing defense: 12th
- Passing TD allowed: 10th
- Rushing defense: 3rd
- Rushing TD allowed: T-6th
- Sacks: T-10th
- Interceptions: T-11th
Playing well at the right time? TBD
The definition of the "right time," per Williams, is late November and December – a time of year that's killed the Vikings going all the way back to the 2000 team that lost to the Giants in the NFC Championship Game.
The 2000 Vikings were 11-2 before stumbling to an 11-5 finish. It was the same song and dance for the 2004, 2009 and 2015 Vikings.
- 2004: 8-8 finish highlighted by losses in four of the final five games.
- 2009: 11-1 turned into 12-4.
- 2015: Started 7-2, lost three of four, finished 10-6.
Even the 2012 Vikings, led by Adrian Peterson's 2,000-yard season, needed to win four straight in December thanks to a dreadful November.
Perhaps this is the season they play well all the way through.
"We have a chance to do something really (expletive) special here with this team," Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said after Sunday's win over Washington. "We got a bunch of fighters, guys that want to compete, guys that love to go out and practice and play and do things right. We gotta pull together. Let's not make this an individual thing. Let's continue to get better. Let's finish these last seven ballgames and play our asses off."
Minnesota's determination will be tested the next four weeks against the Rams (7-2), Lions (5-4), Falcons (5-4) and Panthers (6-3), the latter three of which are on the road.