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2012 NFL schedule: Vikings face big test in Houston

Minnesota can maintain its playoff position, but they'll have to take down the Houston Texans.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings slipped into the NFC's final playoff seed after two-straight wins over the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams, but their grasp on that spot is still tenuous. They can tighten their grip on Sunday with a win, but it will have to come over the Houston Texans, the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

A victory would be a massive achievement for Leslie Frazier's team, but it certainly won't come easy. The Vikings are just 2-5 on the road this season, while the Texans are 6-1 at home, with the one loss coming at the hands of the Green Bay Packers. The other major storyline involves Adrian Peterson, who continues his pursuit of Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record. The game kicks at noon CT on FOX.

Elsewhere around the NFC North, the Chicago Bears, one of Minnesota's main competitors for playoff position, will visit an Arizona Cardinals team that looked dead in the water before being rejuvenated last week in a thrashing of the Detroit Lions. Though the Vikings will also have to fend off teams from the NFC East, a Chicago loss would be a boon for Minnesota. That game is a 3:25 p.m. kick on FOX.

The Packers, meanwhile, will joust for seeding position when they host the Tennessee Titans at Lambeau. A first-round bye is still within reach for Green Bay, provided they take care of business on Sunday. That is a noon kick on FOX.

Lastly, the Lions will be looking to preserve some dignity on Saturday night when they visit the Atlanta Falcons at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.