I'll be perfectly honest--this game scares me to death. How many times have the Vikings been here before? How many times have they had a playoff spot/victory/Super Bowl in their hands only to give it up against teams they shouldn't have? I mean, wasn't it just a four years ago that the Vikings, needing only one win to clinch a playoff berth, faced a Bears team with no playoff hopes and, despite having Daunte Culpepper, Randy Moss and a stellar offense, lost 13-10 when Moss had the ball ripped out of his arms by Charles Tillman in the end zone?
And now the Saints are breathing down the Vikings neck in the playoff chase, and there's a Bears team that's been eliminated from the playoffs coming into the Metrodome and I am terrified. It doesn't matter that the Bears' sole offensive weapon only plays special teams. It doesn't matter that the Bears defense has suffered so many injuries and played so poorly that they're giving up 4.22 yards per carry (22nd in the NFL). It doesn't matter that their pass defense makes opposing quarterbacks look like Drew Brees (92.1 QB rating against and 92.1 QB rating for respectively). It doesn't matter that the Purple Jesus performed his first miracle against them. I am terrified of this game because this game (and the following two games) are the type of games that the Vikings have been losing since the 2000 season.
You think I'm joking? Since the 2000 season, the Vikings have gone 3-15 in the last three games of each season (not counting 2002, in which they were nowhere near playoff contention), including 0-3 last year. They have yet to finish better than 1-2 this millennium, managing that feat only three times. And it's not like the Vikings have just gotten unlucky against good competition either (examples include the Bears game mentioned above, the Cardinals game in 2003, the loss to a 6-10 Redskins team in 2004 and many more that I don't want to go into). Obviously, this didn't prevent the team from making the playoffs in 2000 and 2004, but it certainly did in 2003, 2005 and 2006. And it certainly looks like a 1-2 or 0-3 finish would eliminate this years team as well.
So you'll have to pardon me if I don't get worked up about the Vikings' failure to maintain a "culture of accountability". I don't have the energy. Honestly, at this point, all I really want out of Childress is for him to create a culture of winning so they can stop choking and finish strong. And yeah, I didn't mean to be this negative, so I'm sorry about that, but misery likes company, so I thought I'd share.
My brain says the Vikings win 31-13, but my gut says Bears 20, Vikings 14. I hope the Purple Jesus and the Tarvaris Revolution listen to my brain.