The end is near. The Vikings are now 7-7 with two games left on this injured season. Adrian Peterson returned Sunday, and what many thought would be a much-needed, no-excuses spark turned into a reality check.
It’s not likely going to happen in 2016. The Vikings are alive for the playoffs but need a respirator, divine intervention, and collapses by Washington, Detroit, Tampa Bay and Green Bay. That’s asking for a lot.
Sunday’s Colt 34-6 destruction just reminds us all that this is the NFL. You can dream, but you cannot sleepwalk on Sunday. That performance Sunday was not only an eyesore for the most loyal of Vikings fans, but truth in disclosure. I know a sleepwalk when I see one.
Remember, the Colts are in their own AFC fight, happily now 7-7 chasing Houston and Tennessee at 8-6. The Colts, one of the NFL’s oldest teams, were born in Baltimore — remember John Mackey and Johnny Unitas? Unable to get a new stadium, they loaded their pads in a huff and took a Mayflower semi-truck to Indianapolis years ago.
Andrew Luck is their franchise player. Frank Gore is their next Hall of Fame player. They both combined to have their way at U.S. Bank Stadium with the once 5-0 Vikings.
The Colts are 17-7 all-time versus the Vikings and have beaten them five games in a row. The Vikings are now third in the NFC North, looking up at 9-5 Detroit and 8-6 Green Bay, and they play at the Packers Saturday on Christmas Eve. Oh boy!
Think about it: If the Vikings beat Green Bay and Chicago and the Packers beat Detroit the final weekend, all three teams would be 9-7. Who wins the tie-breaker? The Vikings would have swept the Packers, and the Packers would have swept Detroit, and the Lions would have swept the Vikings.
That, folks, might be the only way this Vikings team of Mike Zimmer (no longer wearing and eye patch) can reach the 2017 playoffs. Good luck and Merry Christmas from the eternal optimist.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.