The two straight wins the Minnesota Vikings have delivered following a change in leadership have indeed been impressive, albeit far less so than Brett Favre's incredible run of 297 consecutive starts.
The Vikings are hoping both streaks can continue this week, when the revitalized team takes the NFC East co-leading New York Giants in a Monday night encounter that will now take place in the neutral setting of Detroit's Ford Field due to the effects a severe winter storm that has rendered the Metrodome unplayable to host this revised Week 14 game.
These two combatants were originally slated to lock horns on Sunday, but a blizzard that dropped 17 inches of snow upon the Minneapolis area damaged the Metrodome roof in several places while causing the 28-year-old facility's ceiling to collapse.
Since it would have taken a few days to repair the structure and make the Metrodome safe for playing, the NFL chose to move the contest to Detroit and keep it in an indoor venue. The game had already been pushed back to Monday because the Giants were unable to fly in to Minnesota due to the storm's shutting down of all local airports.
As for the participants, both teams will be entering this rescheduled affair carrying two-game win streaks.
Though still a longshot for a return postseason trip, Minnesota is 2-0 since replacing the unpopular Brad Childress with Leslie Frazier as head coach following a forgettable 34-3 home loss to rival Green Bay on Nov. 21. It's the first time the disappointing Vikings have put together back-to-back victories this season, and the defending NFC North champions seem to have displayed both a renewed energy and camaraderie with the necessary switch.
The most one-sided of the Vikings' five 2010 wins came in Week 13, a 38-14 shellacking of downtrodden Buffalo that marked the club's highest scoring output of the year. That eruption of points was even more noteworthy due to the fact that Favre spent the majority of the game on the sidelines after the legendary quarterback was forced to exit with a shoulder injury on the opening series after taking a hard blind-side hit from Bills' linebacker Arthur Moats.
An MRI taken the following day revealed a sprained SC joint in Favre's throwing shoulder, and he sat out this week's early practice sessions while experiencing considerable discomfort and a limited range of motion. All those factors have raised the possibility that the three-time league MVP may not be under centre on Monday for the first time since Sept. 27, 1992, Favre's second professional season and first as a member of the Green Bay Packers.
If the 41-year-old, whose status likely won't be determined until game time, is unable to go, the Vikings will turn the offence over to one-time starter Tarvaris Jackson. The athletic former Childress protege produced mixed results after taking over in the Buffalo game, throwing three interceptions but connecting on a pair of touchdown passes to wide receiver Sidney Rice while completing 15 of his 23 attempts.
Favre isn't the only valued member of the Minnesota offence who's questionable to play, as dynamic wideout Percy Harvin dealt with a recurrence of migraine headaches that also kept him out of the Buffalo triumph during the week and is considered a game-time decision as well.
The Giants enter this weekend's clash with some injury issues of their own, though they've received mostly positive news regarding their ailing players in recent days. Wide receivers Steve Smith (pectoral tear) and Hakeem Nicks (leg), who have missed the team's last four and two outings, respectively, returned to practice this week and appear on track to suit up on Sunday, while offensive tackle David Diehl is also expected to return from a four-game absence caused by a partially torn hamstring.
New York was able to withstand its depleted receiving corps by utilizing a run-based approach in its Week 13 matchup with Washington, and wound up steam- rolling the disinterested Redskins by a 31-7 score behind a combined 200 rushing yards and four touchdowns from the backfield tandem of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.
The win was the second in a row for the Giants and kept Big Blue tied with Philadelphia atop the NFC East standings prior to the Eagles' 30-27 win at Dallas on Sunday. New York will host Philadelphia in a critical divisional showdown next week.