The Vikings have slid from 4-1 to 5-4. In their final game before the bye week, they host the Lions, a 2011 playoff team that has climbed out of an early-season hole to get to .500.
Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen knows that his team can’t afford a loss that would drop them to .500.
“Huge. Huge,” Allen said Friday, via 1500ESPN.com. “I’d lie to you if I said it was just another game. It’s absolutely not another game.”
The Vikings already have beaten the Lions in Detroit. The Lions hope to return the favor.
“We’ve got to play and we’ve got to play well,” Allen said. “It’s at home and it’s in our division. We’ve got to come out and we’ve got to put up. That’s the sense of urgency I feel around here. . . . It’s an absolute — I don’t [want] to say ‘must win,’ but it’s one we’ve got to have.”
But does it really matter? Sure, beating the Lions would move the Vikings to 6-4. But with a post-bye slate that goes Bears-Packers-Bears-Rams-Texans-Packers with four of those games on the road, the chances of getting enough wins and enough help (especially since the 4-4 Bucs hold the head-to-head tiebreaker) already are slim.
Lose Sunday, and slim goes to none.
So, yeah, in that regard, it’s huge.