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Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) hands the ball off to running back Adrian Peterson (28) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Minneapolis. The Vikings won 21-14. (AP Photo/Genevieve Ross)

Surprising Vikings, Rams still in playoff picture


When the NFL released the 2012 schedule, Minnesota at St. Louis in Week 15 was about as far as could be from the anticipated list of December games that would help decide the playoff pool.

The Rams, after all, just finished the worst five-year stretch in league history with 65 losses from 2007-11. The Vikings followed their 2010 meltdown and 6-10 finish with a franchise-worst-tying 3-13 record.

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