The Minnesota Vikings are in prime position to grab a playoff spot with a strong finish down this closing stretch of daunting games.
In their first test, they dropped the ball.
The Vikings (6-5) emerged from an ugly 28-10 loss at Chicago still tied with Seattle and Tampa Bay for the second NFC wild card spot, but they've lost to both of those teams and thus must finish ahead of them. The loss to the Bears (8-3) on Sunday put a big dent in Minnesota's goal of becoming the surprise winner of the NFC North, too, leaving the Vikings in third place with little margin for error remaining.
They play at Green Bay (7-4) this Sunday and Chicago again the week after that.