Vikings stay alive with 25-16 win

Running back Adrian Peterson cheered on his teammates from the bench. He could return Sunday. (Photo by Lou Lampson)

It ain’t over until the fat lady sings, and so goes the Vikings’ season. With three weeks remaining in the regular season, the Vikings are still in the playoff chase.

After losing six of seven games, the Vikings got Head Coach Mike Zimmer back on the sidelines. Zimmer missed the Dallas game and returned Sunday. He wore dark glasses and had his right eye patched up to protect it from the sun’s rays.

The Vikings’ 25-16 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars improved their record to 7-6. The Vikings position is this: Keep winning and see what happens. Two of their remaining three games are at U.S. Bank Stadium, where the Vikings are 5-1. So they still have a fighting chance to save their season.

If the season had ended last Sunday, the Vikings would miss the playoffs. Detroit (9-4) would win the NFC North, and New York (9-4) and Tampa Bay (8-5) would be the NFC Wild Cards.

To win the NFC North, the Vikings need the Lions to lose all three games while they win all three to finish at 10-6. The Vikings host Indianapolis and Andrew Luck Sunday, then travel to Green Bay and finish here with the Chicago Bears.

Detroit, by virtue of the head-to-head sweep over the Vikings, hold all the tie breakers if both teams finished the regular season with the same records. The NFC playoff picture is crowded for six playoff spots, four Division Champions and two Wild Cards. The Wild Card race looks like this with six teams vying for two spots: New York (9-4), Atlanta (8-5), Tampa Bay (8-5), Washington (7-5), Green Bay (7-6), and the Vikings (7-6).

Vikings all-time leading rusher Adrian Peterson is eligible to return to action this week. He was placed on the injured reserve list after injuring his right knee in the 17-14 win over Green Bay.

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 info@larry-fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.