We spent the last two days packing for a move, closing on a house and moving into a house, which 1) explains our two-day absence and 2) allowed us plenty of time to think about whether these 4-1 Vikings (yes, we did allow ourselves a certain three-hour window Sunday to watch football) are for real.
After many solitary hours of putting things in bins and boxes, taking things out of bins and boxes, wondering how Percy Harvin bounces off tacklers like that and legitimately wondering just who this team is, we have arrived at this conclusion: We're not sure yet.
Even those of us who wildly predicted a strong year for the Vikings -- even had them at 4-1 at this point in the season -- could not have envisioned how this team would win its past three games: with defensive grit and offensive efficiency against San Francisco, with timely playmaking against Detroit and with an all-around swarm against the lowly Titans. This team displayed a playoff-friendly formula in those past three games.
Still, we're not ready to announce the turnaround is permanent. Even though the Vikings have defeated two 2011 playoff teams, the Lions are a mess. The 49ers victory was a signature win -- impressive by any standards -- but there will be plenty more tests in a much more daunting second half of the schedule.
However, we wouldn't say the schedule is the biggest thing holding us back. The biggest thing is fear. We've seen fast-starting Vikings teams that turned to dust (hello, 2003). We've seen fast starting Vikings teams that fell apart at the worst possible time (hello, 1998 and 2009).
This team feels entirely different. If fear is the biggest thing standing between belief and skepticism, then 2012 has already been a wild success.