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Lunchbreak: Vikings Believe They Can Win Out

They've done it before, and they believe they can do it again.

Viking Update's Tim Yotter wrote the following of the Vikings locker room maintaining its sights on the playoffs despite a midseason losing skid:

The Vikings are still hoping to pull out of their tailspin, clinging to the faith that if they can win five straight games to start the season they can win four straight to end the season, even if losing six of the last seven has put their once-commanding playoff position in serious doubt.

Yotter raised the possibility of running back Adrian Peterson, who underwent surgery for a torn meniscus after Week 2, returning to the field for any portion of the remaining regular season.

One bright spot is that Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson, who led the NFL in rushing last year, has started sprinting and could return in the coming weeks. That could help bolster a rushing attack that is last in the league in total rushing yards and rushing average.

Yotter opined that if Peterson was able to return, it could help the Vikings be more successful in the red zone. This season, Minnesota has scored a touchdown on only 45.7 percent of opportunities inside its opponents' 20-yard line.

Ultimately, Yotter pointed out that it's up to the team to right correctable errors now, especially with a longer stretch between games.

Having 10 days between games might help after turning around for a quick Sunday-Thursday game on Thanksgiving and traveling to Detroit for an important divisional matchup and then facing the NFL-leading Cowboys last Thursday.

Yotter referenced quarterback Sam Bradford, who said the following after a loss to Dallas:

"Obviously, it's been a tough stretch for us here. And I think there's still a lot ahead of us, but obviously there's a lot of improvements that we've got to make. A lot of corrections that have to be made. Hopefully after this break, you know, we can kind of get away, regroup, come back, focus and finish the season strong like we know we can."

Goessling: Final 4 games could rely on Vikings pass rush

As the Vikings continue to seek the postseason, they'll hope to repeat the 2012 season and win the final four games of the season to finish 10-6.

ESPN's Ben Goessling said Minnesota's goals could hinge on one thing. He wrote:

Their hope for making that happen rests largely on a defense that appears to be getting back to peak form.

The Vikings defense played one of its finest games of the season in a 17-15 loss to the Dallas Cowboys last Thursday, holding the league's fourth-ranked offense to a season-low 264 yards and forcing two turnovers.

Goessling pointed out that the Vikings pass rush against rookie quarterback Dak Prescott stood out "at the forefront of that performance." He then quoted ESPN NFL analyst Matt Bowen, a former NFL defensive back, who said that the Vikings gave the Cowboys their toughest challenge yet up front:

"Dallas routinely just blows people off the ball; they're bigger, they're stronger, they're more physical. I thought Minnesota played tough the entire night. It's unfortunate they couldn't generate enough offense to take that game, because I think that's a game they could have won. It's a game they probably should have won, to be honest."

Goessling breaks down a Danielle Hunter sack of Prescott – with the help of Bowen – to illustrate the effectiveness of Minnesota's pass rush.

Hunter leads the team with [9.5] sacks, and he's part of the league's only defense where three players have at least six sacks. If the Vikings can keep up that kind of production, perhaps they'll put their season back together.

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