(AP) — Maybe it will be this Sunday at Detroit. Or maybe next Sunday at Tampa Bay.
Maybe it won’t happen until the Packers come to town Nov. 22, or on the road at Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. Jacksonville on Dec. 20? Perhaps.
If it doesn’t happen by then, God help them if it happens before Jan. 31.
But maybe it won’t happen at all.
Maybe, just maybe, Red McCombs was right about his new toy. Maybe he’s not just a used car salesman, but a clairvoyant used car salesman to boot.
There is a chance the Minnesota Vikings won’t lose this season.
That might sound impossible, but the Vikings have beaten all 10 teams they have played since His Royal Redness first suggested Purple Perfection. There’s 13 games left, and Redness is sticking to his six-shooters.
“I’ll stay with what I said — I don’t see a team we can’t beat,” he said.
You can’t argue with that point. There is no team in the NFL this season the Vikings cannot beat. Not Denver. Not San Francisco. Not the Cheeseheads, which we’ve already seen.
Sure, a perfect season probably is impossible. It’s only been done once, when the 1972 Miami Dolphins went 17-0 back when the regular season was 14 games. Only the 1985 Chicago Bears have come close since, starting 12-0 before settling for an 18-1 record and their only Super Bowl title.
But if you’re looking for cosmic signs in the Vikings’ favor, here’s one. In the fifth game of the ’72 season, the Dolphins lost quarterback Bob Griese with a broken leg. Backup Earl Morrall led the team until Griese returned in the second half of the AFC championship game.
Morrall’s job? Get the ball to Larry Csonka, Mercury Morris, Jim Kiick and Paul Warfield.
Sound familiar? With Brad Johnson recuperating from a broken leg, Randall Cunningham’s job is to get the ball to Robert Smith, Cris Carter, Randy Moss and Jake Reed.
Coincidence or serendipitous. You decide.
At 6-0, it’s a little early to seriously believe perfection is possible. But the Vikings are on a roll bigger than any you’ll find around Gilbert Brown’s midsection, and it’s not too soon to peruse the schedule in search of a possible blemish.
The next two games could be telling. The Vikings traditionally haven’t done well at Detroit — not many teams have — and the Lions are a lot more dangerous than they were when the Vikings won 29-6 at the Metrodome last month.
But so are the Vikings. That was Cunningham’s first start, and it’s no coincidence that it also was their lowest-scoring game of the season.
So ring up the Lions as victim No. 7.
The trip to Tampa Bay next weekend also will be tough. That game will mean life-or-death to the Buccaneers’ chances of getting back in the NFC Central race. But a team will have to score at least three touchdowns to beat the Vikings, and the Bucs can’t do it.
There’s win No. 8.
Cincinnati and New Orleans the next two weeks each present reasons to be wary, but neither of those games will be particularly close.
Notch Nos. 9 and 10 and get ready for the most critical week of the regular season.
The Packers come to town Nov. 22 for a rematch that figures to be even more bitter than usual. Green Bay still is seething over Corey Fuller’s helmet-to-jawbone hit on Doug Pederson. But even when the Packers have been a better team — they aren’t anymore — the Vikings’ speed has given them an advantage at the Metrodome.
Eleven and counting.
Four days later comes the turkey tilt at Dallas. The Cowboys lost to the Bears last weekend. Enough said.
That’s an even dozen.
The Bears come to town Dec. 6 followed by a road trip to Baltimore. No chance.
Thirteen, 14 …
Jacksonville at the dome will be one of the most closely watched AFC-NFC matchups of the regular season. Mark Brunell could give the Vikings fits, and the Vikings might not have much incentive if they’ve already wrapped up home-field advantage.
But the possibility of a perfect season will be motivation enough.
Count the Jags as victim No. 15, and Tennessee is not the kind of team that can spoil the Vikings’ holiday season — or their perfect season.
That makes 16-0. If you buy the logic.
The playoffs? Hey, we’re on a roll now, and the Vikings will be by then, too. Let’s make the upstart Atlanta Falcons victim No. 17, and the 49ers No. 18.
Then only Denver and the Super Bowl will stand between the Vikings and history. With all due respect to the defending champs, the Big Game itself might be the biggest obstacle. After all, the Vikings are the original four-time Super Bowl losers.
But this team is different, and this Super Bowl will be, too.
There it is. Red’s vision of Purple Perfection becomes reality.
There’s only one way to find out. Hop on the 19-0 bandwagon and come along for the ride.