For the Vikings to reach the Super Bowl …

Last week, the focus was on Jerick McKinnon’s fumbles and how he needed to STOP ASAP. After fumbling three times in three weeks, McKinnon didn’t fumble in 17 touches against the Ravens. As a team, the Vikings had 68 touches without fumbling. This week’s Road to Minneapolis To-Do List asks for continued domination by the No. 3-ranked run defense (76.6). Snuff out Cleveland’s 25th-ranked run game (92.3) and its QB will be in big trouble.

0-4 to the playoffs ... again?

Question: Do you think the Los Angeles Chargers can join the 1992 San Diego Chargers as the only NFL teams to start a season 0-4 and make the playoffs? The Chargers are 3-4 after Sunday’s 21-0 rout of Denver. They’re two games behind Kansas City in the AFC West. In 1992, the Chargers were 3-4 and trailed the 5-2 Broncos through seven games. San Diego won the division at 11-5, while Denver finished 8-8.

Did you know?

Great defenses are measured against the 1985 Bears. They won Super Bowl XX with a defense that allowed an NFL-low 198 points (12.4). Did you know the 1986 Bears actually allowed fewer points (187)?

Three up, three down

The NFL’s worst free-fall is in Denver. A home loss to the Giants was followed by a shutout loss at the Chargers’ dinky stadium. Other “down” teams: Cardinals and Chiefs. The “up” teams: Raiders, Chargers and Bears.

Destination Minneapolis Week 8 hot forecast

Pittsburgh vs. Vikings

Hey, we have 17 of these possibilities, so you had to figure the Purple would show up eventually, right? Don’t laugh. The defense and the offensive line are playing very well, and quarterback Case Keenum isn’t trying to do too much. So why not a Super Bowl IX rematch? Vikings fans might want to ask for a better outcome.

Why Pittsburgh (5-2)? They’re 2-0 with a win at Kansas City since Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions in a 30-9 home loss to Jacksonville. Roethlisberger has one interception in 49 throws the past two games.

Why Vikings (5-2)? Injuries at quarterback, running back, receiver and offensive line haven’t overshadowed a defense that’s playing fast, efficient and powerfully.

My preseason pick: Seattle (4-2) vs. Pittsburgh (5-2). Seattle is creeping toward the top of the NFC with a three-game win streak that includes two road games. Pittsburgh mauled Cincinnati at home.