By BARRY WILNER
Their seasons a mess, the Vikings, Steelers and Rams took their spoiler roles seriously.
Good for them.
Too often, when teams are out of the running for the postseason, they pack it in (Redskins, Giants, Raiders) for December, thinking more about vacations than victories. Last week showed that Minnesota, Pittsburgh and St. Louis haven't done any such thing.
"I knew our guys would play hard. I knew that they would give everything they had and the fact that we were playing at home, I felt like that would give us a boost, energize us," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said after his team, minus top running backs Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, stunned NFC East leader Philadelphia. "I don't think you can ever count out our players and we've had some difficult moments this season for sure.
"I think you have to credit the leaders on this football team. We have some strong guys who they prepare, they work hard and they kind of make sure our locker room stays the way it needs and that's unified and not let it splinter."
They didn't in Minnesota and on Sunday the Vikings (4-9-1) could put a dent in another division leader's aspirations when they visit Cincinnati.