There is a very reasonable possibility that the Vikings season is already over if you adjudicate success by playoff appearances only. The deck is stacked against Minnesota — only six NFL teams have revitalized a season to climax with postseason inclusion. Of course, this was the “old” playoff format. Starting this season, a total of 14 teams will make the playoffs rather than the 12 of yesteryear.
What’s more, the Texans are 0-3, too. Unless the game finishes in a tie, either Minnesota or Houston is leaving NRG Stadium on Sunday with an 0-4 record. That’s the type of record that seriously drives fans and pundits to mock-draft websites. One can only hold out hope for so long.
The game will be a test of wills. Which team is more desperate? Is it more likely that Bill O’Brien is fired or that the rumblings about Mike Zimmer’s employment heat up? These are questions to ask yourself.
Both franchises will be desperate this weekend, and the fallout for the loser carries far-reaching implications.