EAGAN, Minn. – Ready or not, the Steelers are coming to town.
The Vikings don't have much time to let Sunday's loss fester, as they're slated to host Pittsburgh at U.S. Bank Stadium for Thursday Night Football.
A win at home – during which Minnesota will wear its Primetime Purple uniforms – is essentially a non-negotiable if the Vikings hope to keep any playoff hopes alive.
"This is the NFL. There's not a whole lot of margin for error anytime. So you've just got to let go of the last loss," Mason Cole told Twin Cities media members Monday. "Whether it's a win or a loss, you've got to let go of it, because we play in three days now.
"You've got to come in here and correct the things on film and start install for Pittsburgh," he added. "We've got to know this defense inside and out and be ready to go for Thursday Night Football."
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Sunday afternoon that "everyone is disappointed," but there's zero time for wallowing.
"We're going to keep fighting. We'll get some guys back next week. I anticipate getting quite a few defensive guys back, and we'll keep fighting," Zimmer said.
He added: "Obviously our backs are to the wall, but they've been back against the wall for a while."
The Vikings now sit at 5-7 with five regular-season games remaining, including home contests against Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Rams (Dec. 26) and Chicago (Jan. 9).
Vikings running back Alexander Mattison said it's difficult to flip the switch after putting so much energy into a comeback effort Sunday, only to have the lead quickly pulled from beneath them on the game's final play.
"It's tough when you put your all into it, especially a game like that," Mattison said. "But we understand that we have another task ahead of us, and we have to continue to move forward … because we can't do anything to change the past, but we can do something to change our future.
"With the playoffs being that big picture, we're trying to get to the playoffs, we have to understand, learn from that and continue to push forward and fight for our goals," Mattison added.
D.J. Wonnum, who has returned to his starting defensive end spot in the absence of Danielle Hunter (Injured Reserve) and Everson Griffen (Non-football Illness), echoed the sentiments of his teammates.
"We can't cry over spilled milk. The game is lost," Wonnum said. "We've got to look ahead to the future. We've got to keep going so we can stay in this hunt and get in these playoffs."