This Sunday night game between the Vikings and Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium has the feel of one that could have a lasting impact on both franchises.
Let's say the Vikings win and improve to 6-4-1. They would feel a lot better about their playoff chances than they do now. A Packers loss, meanwhile, would drop them to 4-6-1 and deal them a blow in the playoff race. It would probably increase the heat on head coach Mike McCarthy and start the Packers down a path by which they might replace the coach at the end of the season.
But let's say the Vikings lose and fall to 5-5-1 — same as Green Bay, in this scenario. Green Bay would win any two-team tiebreaker for the division or wild card against the Vikings with a win and tie on its résumé in head-to-head meetings.
It would put the Vikings in precarious shape heading into the final five games, with several tough games ahead.
Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. firstname.lastname@example.org.