The Minnesota Vikings are trying to do something this season that has never been done: play in the Super Bowl, in their home stadium. And, as of Monday morning, with Vikings' 10-2 record had them tied for the best record in the National Football League.
As Super Bowl 52 at US Bank Stadium draws closer, here are some common questions and answers that Vikings fans might want to ponder:
Are the Vikings going to win the NFC North Division?
They likely will. With four games remaining, the Vikings only need to win or tie one more game to clinch a division championship. The division's second place teams, Detroit and Green Bay, are tied with only six wins apiece, compared to the Vikings' 10.
What are the chances the Vikings make the playoffs?
It's almost a sure bet. Even if the Vikings lose all their remaining games and the Lions or Packers win their remaining games, the Vikings could win the division or qualify as a wild card team. It could come down to a tie-break formula.
Can the Vikings get home-field advantage throughout the playoffs?
Yes. If they win the division, they will play at least one home game in the playoffs. If they finish the regular season with the best record in the National Football Conference, or NFC, they would play home games throughout the playoffs.
Right now, it looks like the Vikings' stiffest competition for best record in the conference comes from three teams: the Philadelphia Eagles, who lead the NFC East division with a 10-2 record; and the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams, who lead their divisions with 9-3 records.
Will Case Keenum continue to be the Vikings' starting quarterback?
Yes, barring injury or slump. Keenum is arguably the team's most valuable player this season. He has started and won eight consecutive games. Even with former starter Teddy Bridgewater now healthy enough to play, head coach Mike Zimmer is likely to continue with his hot hand in Keenum. After Sunday's win, Zimmer complimented Keenum for "not trying to overdue things," and for being better on the run than coaches realized when they signed him to a free agent contract.
What makes the Vikings so good this season?
In addition to solid quarterback play, the Vikings have played stellar defense. Many experts believe the Vikings have one of the best defenses in the NFL. It's a fast, swarming defense that is among the league leaders in stopping both the run and the pass. The team's offensive line also has remained largely healthy, helping the Vikings establish a strong running game.
What are the team's potential weaknesses?
Depth and the kicking game. If the Vikings are suddenly hit with injuries, they may find it difficult to fill empty spots.
And while kicker Kai Forbath has done well with field goals, he has struggled with extra points after touchdowns this season. Given the Vikings history of botched playoff kicks, they probably dread the thought of potentially needing a last second kick to stave off defeat.
What about the rival Green Bay Packers — are they finished?
No. The Packers have struggled mightily since quarterback Aaron Rodgers was knocked out of the Vikings game with a broken collar bone, but they have managed to stay in the race. If the Packers beat the lowly Cleveland Browns on Sunday, they hope Rodgers will be back in the lineup the following week. If he returns, the Packers can beat any opponent.