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Vikings Hope Mini Bye Helps Prep for Final 4-Game Stretch

EAGAN, Minn. — There's no case of the Mondays for the Vikings today.

That's because Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's team is still enjoying some time off, as players aren't expected back inside Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center until Tuesday.

Veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson lit up Friday when he told Twin Cities media members that the team got to enjoy a mini bye so late in the season.

"When Coach tells us, 'I won't see you until Tuesday,' that was awesome news," Peterson said. "That's great for, not only for guys like me but for the entire team just to unwind a little bit, get your mind off football just for a couple days and get ready for this stretch that we have in front of us.

"Everything is right there in front of us, we just have to go out and win the games that's on our schedule," Peterson added.

The Vikings sit at 6-7 following Thursday night's 36-28 win over Steelers.

And with an 11-day span between that victory and a Monday Night Football showdown with the Bears on Dec. 20, Zimmer said everyone was ready for a little break … especially considering the stressful and chaotic vibe of the season through 13 games.

"I think the players need to get away," Zimmer said Friday. "It's been a pretty good stretch. I think they need to get away from me a little bit.

"And then I think that —I just got done talking to coaches and I watched the film of [Thursday's win], that's why I'm grouchy right now — I think when we get back we need to really hone in on being more disciplined in the things that we're asking the players to do.

"Then making sure they do it the way we want it done," Zimmer added. "So I think that is kind of going to be our focus moving forward here when we to start getting ready for Chicago."

With Minnesota's Week 15 game coming a day later, the Vikings will move their usual weekly schedule back a day.

For example, players are usually off on Tuesdays but will practice that day and instead be off Wednesday. And the three-day practice schedule will be held from Thursday-Saturday later this week.

View the Vikings in "Big Head Mode" as the team defeated the Steelers in Week 14 on Thursday Night Football at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Through 13 contests, the Vikings have had 12 of them decided by one score.

There have been thrilling comebacks and disappointing blown leads, all culminating to a point where the Vikings are still very much in the NFC Wild Card race.

Wide receiver K.J. Osborn said the Vikings will be ready for anything down the stretch.

"To have all these games keep coming down to the wire, it's not how it was designed," Osborn said. "Obviously we may not want it to be that way, going into these overtimes and last possessions – you know, we had a big lead [Thursday] night – but you know, we roll with the punches.

"That's the way the game is going," Osborn added. "We fight through adversity, and we came out with a win. Any win is a good win."

Minnesota still has its season series with Chicago left on the schedule, with those games taking place in Weeks 15 (away) and 18 (home). The Vikings also have a Week 16 home date with the Rams before taking their annual trip to Lambeau Field to face the Packers in Week 17.

With four games left to go, the sprint to the postseason is on.

Peterson and the Vikings hope that some extra rest now will go a long way over the next month.

"We know that's not going to be easy. We know that's going to be a very, very tough challenge," Peterson said. "But this mini-bye week comes at a very pivotal time for us in the season to make sure that we're ready to roll for this stretch."