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Jared Allen: Minnesota Vikings face big game vs. Lions

Rapper Too Short once said, "It was all good just a week ago." Well, it's been about a month for the Minnesota Vikings.

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The Purple People Eaters shocked the NFL community with a 4-1 start before losing three of four games brought them back to earth. Now they're trying to stay in playoff contention with a home game against division rival Detroit Lions on Sunday. A third consecutive loss would put them at the bottom of the NFC North.

"Huge, huge," defensive end Jared Allen told 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. "I'd lie to you if I said it was just another game. It's absolutely not another game.

"We've got to play and we've got to play well. It's at home and it's in our division. We've got to come out and we've got to put up. That's the sense of urgency I feel around here."

The Vikings were actually tied for first place in the division after five weeks. As they trended downward, the Chicago Bears won six straight, the Green Packers four and the Lions two.

"It is definitely one of these games, a pivotal game in the season," Allen said, "to where you lose this one, you put yourself far behind the eight ball with six games left and you're going into a bye on a three-game skid.

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"It's an absolute -- I don't (want) to say 'must win,' but it's one we've got to have."

On the flip side, coach Leslie Frazier doesn't want his young team to panic. If the playoffs started today, the Vikings would be tied for the final NFC playoff spot, but they would lose the Wild Card tiebreaker to the Seattle Seahawks after last week's loss.

"When you're in college, every game counts. If you don't go undefeated, then you're not going to be playing for a championship at the end of the year," linebacker Erin Henderson told the Pioneer Press. "But in the league, it's different. All you've got to do is make it to the playoffs, and anything can happen from there. So it's kind of getting them to understand that and getting them to grasp that. But I feel like a lot of young guys don't really know much."

Vikings fans know this much -- they don't want to go from first to worst in the division and that will happen with a loss this weekend.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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