Mark Craig's Sunday Insider: Any given Sunday rings true

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 24, 2012 - 11:24 PM

Surprising results happen every weekend in the NFL. The Vikings see no reason they can't spring the surprise.

hide

"Who concerns me in the NFC?" Adrian Peterson says. "No one."

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

It's important to keep one thing in mind when assessing playoff chances for the Vikings or any other NFL team with obvious flaws:

Greatness is not a prerequisite.

If the league's worst team -- Jacksonville -- can score 37 points and take the league's best team -- Houston -- into overtime, the Vikings can turn their bagful of blemishes into a playoff ticket.

If a 7-3 Bears team can lose two straight, get absolutely humiliated on "Monday Night Football" and be forced to bench not one but two offensive linemen, the Vikings can win a key NFC North game at Soldier Field on Sunday.

If the 6-4 Giants can lose two straight and get beat by 18 at Cincinnati; or the 7-3 Packers can keep struggling with a thinning roster; or the 9-1 Falcons can throw five picks in a game, then the 6-4 and shockingly healthy Vikings shouldn't feel outclassed in the NFC.

"You do look around the league and say, 'Why not us?' " Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield said. "Every week is totally different. Every opponent and every game is totally different. The NFC is pretty wide open."

The Vikings have spent the past two weeks spouting one of the oldest clichés in sports.

"We control our own destiny," said running back Adrian Peterson, echoing what every other player has said in every other interview conducted this week.

By its very definition, destiny can't be controlled. But you get the idea. With four of their final six games against NFC North opponents, including the next three, the Vikings don't need any help determining their playoff worthiness.

"Chicago, Green Bay, Chicago," said Peterson, referring to the Vikings' next three opponents. "It's going to be cool to get those knocked out of the way and get some W's on that side of the win-loss column."

Considering the first two are on the road, the Vikings might want to be content with going 1-2. That would at least keep them relevant heading into the final three games.

Then again, if 3-6-1 St. Louis can tie 7-2-1 San Francisco; or 6-4 Seattle can be 1-4 on the road; or 6-4 Tampa Bay can be only a month removed from being 2-4 Tampa Bay, then maybe the Vikings can say, "Hey, why not us?"

"It's cliché to say things like any one of us can beat anyone else," Vikings running back Toby Gerhart said. "But it's still true."

Peterson was asked which NFC team concerns him the most heading down the stretch. He responded like a guy who really doesn't care about his team's 30th-ranked passing attack or its shaky run defense.

"Who concerns me in the NFC? No one," Peterson said. "I'm not worried about anyone. No matter who we play, we have the same opportunity to beat them, and vice versa. I'm just concerned about what we can do to get to the dance."

Don't scoff. With 12 teams invited to "the dance," some of the guests will come armed with two left feet.

A year ago, the Giants staggered into the postseason with seven losses. Were they great? Hardly.

But this is the NFL. Even flawed teams win Super Bowls if they pick the right three weeks to get hotter than everyone else.

  • related content

  • Mark Craig's Northern Intelligence

    Saturday November 24, 2012

    At least Bears second-year right tackle Gabe Carimi took this week's benching better than left guard Chilo Rachal did. While Rachal left the team and was placed on the reserve/left...

  • Mark Craig's Fourth-and-five

    Saturday November 24, 2012

    • It will be interesting to see if Colin Kaepernick stays that loose and confident now that he's being given a chance to take Alex Smith's job long term.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 FINAL
San Francisco 3
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 1
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 72 FINAL
Georgia Tech 70
Stephen F Austin 73 FINAL
Prairie View 61
UAB 47 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 71 FINAL
Mercer 77
San Jose St 56 FINAL
Washington 78
Washington St 43 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 71
Baylor 71 FINAL
Memphis 47
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 FINAL
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will the Gophers bring home The Axe?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close