Time for the Vikings to get my hopes up and set me up for another bitter disappointment. It happens every year. We sail along through the season, winning a few, losing a few, nothing out of the ordinary, and then comes that moment where it looks like we may actually have a chance to make a playoff run.
This year that moment came in the form of a goal line stand against the Bears, followed by this: http://www.nfl.com/videos?videoId=09000d5d80cef164
And just like that I'm a believer again. Suddenly I have visions of a Super Bowl run dancing in my head. I check the rest of the schedule and every game looks winnable. I do some quick math and figure that 11-5 will give us the third seed and a home playoff game against probably Atlanta or Dallas. We win that and go on to face the Bucs in the second round. No way we could lose to them twice. An NFC championship game at the Giants is not insurmountable (I've said that before). And suddenly I'm checking Stubhub for Super Bowl tickets and a hotel room in Tampa.
But then I stop myself and say, "Self, you do this every year. Why not just prepare yourself for the inevitable collapse?"
So this year I'm going to expect nothing but utter failure. I've come up with the four worst case scenarios for the way this season could end so that whatever happens, it can only be better than what I'm expecting.
1. The Vikings lead the 0-12 Lions by a score of 7-0 with two seconds left to play. Instead of taking a knee, Gus Frerotte decides to hand off to Adrian Peterson who fumbles the ball and it is returned by the Lions 99 yards for a touchdown. The Lions then decide to go for the 2-point conversion and Dante Culpepper sneaks it in to win 8-7.
2. The Vikings lose two of their next three games and the Packers win two of their next three games. The Vikings have to beat the Giants in the final week to wrap up the division. With the Giants playing their third string, the Vikings lead the entire game until the last play as Anthony Wright hits Mario Manningham in the corner of the endzone for a game-winning touchdown. The Packers then go on to win the division and beat the Jets in the Super Bowl.
3. The Vikings win the division, make it to the NFC Championship game against the Giants and build a 41-0 lead at halftime. The Giants come storming back in the second half and win 42-41.
4. The Vikings win the division, make it to the Super Bowl against the Patriots, and lead by four with two minutes to play. The Patriots win on a last-second bomb to Randy Moss.