What else is there to say? This weekend is Armageddon for the 2012 season.
If the Vikings beat the hated Packers, they've earned their 10 win season, and they've earned their playoff berth. That is a huge sign of progress for a rebuilding organization, a clear step, a clear signal that the team is being built and is recovering from the '10-'11 doldrums that could not in any conceivable football way have gone worse.
If the Vikings beat the hated Packers, they're entered into the Anything-Can-Happen-Slugfest that is the contemporary NFL playoffs. Get into the playoffs, in whatever way and whatever seed, and you have a chance. We've seen teams, 9-7, #6 seeds, whatever, go on a holy tear through the playoffs, picking off teams with better records that were better in September and October than they are right now. The Vikings can win their way into that mess. I'm not reading any elegiac poetry yet: the Vikings are still in Super Bowl contention, however unlikely that seems or is.
If the Vikings win, Adrian Peterson may become the third Minnesota Viking to claim the NFL MVP Trophy. This award is otherwise known as "The Award for Best QB or RB on a Playoff Team," and in recent weeks many pundits are openly admitting that the last part is necessary to win the award. Everybody respects Peterson. Everybody recognizes he is carrying the Viking offense to competitiveness. Everybody recognizes his historical greatness. But he needs his team to win one more game to claim that MVP.
(and maybe you got some Viking gear--t-shirts or hats or jackets or jerseys--over the holidays. This will be your game day debut of said gear. If the Vikings beat the Packers to make the playoffs, you'll always, always have a good feeling about those t-shirts or hats or jackets or jerseys).
And if the Vikings lose to the hated Packers, all of that is probably gone. Those hated Packers that we haven't beaten since 2009 would have thwarted us right before our eyes in the Metrodome. Those hated Packers, who since the last time the Vikings beat them have won a Super Bowl and had a 15-1 season, would proudly and gleefully stomp on our hopes that are already quite sullied and broken from all the times they've been stomped on before without ever realizing their full consummation. Those hated Packers would laugh and celebrate as they take away our 10 win season, probably take away our playoff berth, remind us that they are still our betters and we've got a long way to go before beating them.
If the Vikings lose to the Packers, it is another long offseason in the wilderness wondering what the team needs to do to become real contenders. A surprisingly competitive and enjoyable season will be given a capstone of a devastating loss to the biggest rival that probably keeps us out of the playoffs. The Packers will once again walk off victorious--their sixth straight win against the Vikes, their seemingly billionth win in the last three years--and the Vikes will once again be an also-ran, not quite a lousy team, but not a contender either.
Root hard, friends. Root hard.