MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - With a division championship and a first-round bye in hand, Vikings fans are optimistic for the first time in what seems like forever.
"We've got a strong team, strong defense and not a lot of concerns going into the playoffs," Vikings fan Nolan Oliver said. We need to stay healthy, obviously, but past that I really like our chances. I really do."
A 23-10 victory over the Bears Sunday notched Minnesota a 13-3 record in the regular season, propelled by stellar play from third-stringer-turned-starting quarterback Case Keenum.
Ticket offices expect to be swamped in the next few weeks as the team holds home field advantage through the NFC Championship game, with the impending arrival of the Super Bowl to boot.
For many, the ghosts of playoffs past still haunt the Vikings, though Mike Zimmer says he's done his part to break the curse.
"I’ve got a crystal ball and a wood spirit hanging in my office," Zimmer said after Sunday's victory. "There is no damn playoffs curse."
But with great success comes the homegrown threat of scam artists and fake tickets, and team officials stress that it's always best to purchase tickets and team materials from reputable sources certified by officials at U.S. Bank Stadium.
As Minnesota looks forward to its most promising season in years, however, nothing seems to be able to bring Vikings' fans down. This season, they say, is different.
"I feel like it's all in the past," Oliver said. "This is a whole different team than we've had in the past, new facility, we've got some new mojo going on. I've got a lot of optimism."