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Sports Illustrated Predicts the Vikings to Lose. . .the NFC Championship Game

Remember a month or so back when Sports Illustrated's Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmerman decided that he was going to make the Vikings his pick to win Super Bowl XLIII and everyone was shocked?

Well, if that shocked you, you'd better be sitting down and/or have a stiff drink handy. . .or both. . .when I present the news I'm about to give you.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it appears that the good doctor has been passing around his flask of purple Kool-Aid over the last month, because Sports Illustrated's 2008 NFL preview is out, and it projects the Beloved Purple to advance all the way to the NFC Championship game while amassing a 13-3 record.

Now, believe me when I tell you. . .I am what the kids today might call one purple Kool-Aid sippin' mofo. . .and I'm hoping for 11-5. Hoping. I would love to see a 13-3 record for this team, and it just might happen, but at this point I'm not sure if I could project such a thing. The Vikings' schedule isn't easy, what with having to run the gauntlet through the AFC South (which might be the best division in football), what should be an improved NFC South, the always tough divisional contests, and a season finale date with the defending world champions.

Does this team have the talent to go 13-3? They most certainly do, particularly if the improvement that Tarvaris Jackson has shown isn't an aberration. But as Brad Childress says in the SI article, the key is to be consistent, and as anyone that's followed the Vikings for any length of time knows, the Vikings are notorious for having at least one game a year where they lose to a team they should beat. That alone keeps me from the kind of lofty, pie-in-the-sky projection that SI doesn't seem to have any problems making.

What do you folks think of the SI prediction? Are they completely out of their minds, or do you think that they're on the money? Discuss it here, and we'll be back with more later on today!