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The Vikings are competing with 4 teams for a playoff spot

I’m pretty sure we beat the Falcons you guys

The Vikings are in a four team battle for the playoffs

After the Minnesota Vikings pulled a Minnesota Vikings and lost to the Dallas Cowboys the Sunday before last, many presumed that their 2020 playoff hopes were as realistic as a secondary Trump administration. Well, consider me to be the Vikings media version of Rudy Giuliani.

Cause these Vikings may only have a 31% chance of making the playoffs, statistically, but if you actually look at where the Vikings stand as compared to the other teams around the 8th-seed… It’s hard to not think that the Vikings will end up in the post-season (they also won Georgia!).

The other teams I’m talking about, as previously pointed out by Joe Nelson of, are the Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, and Los Angeles Rams.

The Bears haven’t won a game since before the election, and the Vikings already have the tie-breaker over them with a future match-up at home in Minneapolis looming. The 49ers have been plagued by injury all season, but are getting healthy at the right time. Arizona is talented but young and thus ahead of schedule.

As Nelson explains:

“Barring a huge run by the backup-QB-led 49ers, the two remaining matchups between the Cardinals and Rams will likely decide the NFC West champion, with the runner-up likely being the team battling for the seventh and final playoff seed. 

The best-case scenario for the Vikings is to see the Cardinals get swept by the Rams, because Arizona is going to be favored to beat the Giants, Eagles and probably the 49ers. If the Cardinals get to 10 wins, it’ll mean the Vikings likely need to win out to have a chance. “

What does this mean for the Vikings?

Nelson explains:

“Minnesota should win this week at home against Jacksonville to get to 6-6, then will likely be underdogs against the high-powered Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. If they fall to 7-7 they’re going to need a lot of help to sneak into the playoffs – and with the NFC-leading Saints awaiting at the Superdome in Week 16 it’ll be critical for the Vikings to pull an upset against Tom Brady and Tampa. “

All of this shows that, as Nelson explains, Arizona is essentially in the lead for the final playoff spot.

Nelson says:

“Arizona (or the Rams, whoever doesn’t win the South) is definitely in the driver’s seat, but if the Vikings can prove capable of finishing teams off late in games the way they should have against the Titans, Seahawks and Cowboys, they could very well take the field with a playoff spot on the line in Week 17. “

The Vikings could go 9-7 if they split their non-division games (assuming the Vikings top the one win Jags Sunday) against the aforementioned Bucs and fellow NFC South opponent, the New Orleans Saints.

If they’re able to win out, the 10-6 record therein should be enough to make the post season. But just to help with your abject Vikings panic, let’s take a look at the remaining games for the four teams the Vikings are competing with.

Cardinals: Rams (Twice), Giants, Eagles, 49ers.

Bears: Lions, Texans, Vikings, Jags, Packers.

49ers: Bills, Washington, Cowboys, Cardinals, Seahawks.

Rams: Cardinals, Patriots, Jets, Seahawks, Cardinals.

The good and obvious news is that there’s a lot of overlap between the Cards, Niners and Rams. Hopefully they’ll cannibalize and split one another, which is highly probable considering the nature of divisional games and the mediocrity surrounding each team that is still fighting for playoff relevance.

This all could be irrelevant soon, though, as the NFL could expand the 2020 playoffs to eight teams as COVID continues to ravage both the country and league. The Broncos did just start a practice squad WIDE RECEIVER at quarterback, while the Ravens and Steelers may finally actually play their Thanksgiving game sometime in 2050.

For the sake of argument, though, let’s pretend that only seven teams make it in 2020. The Vikings have the remaining games on their schedule.

Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Chicago, New Orleans, Detroit.

Win. Ehhhhhhhhh. Win. Win. Win.

The Vikings very well could end the season winning all five of these games, or they could split them. It’s nearly impossible to say as we’ve seen two different Vikings teams this season. Or rather, we’ve seen two different defenses, and a perpetually god awful special teams unit.

The Vikings replaced their punt returner and long-snapper recently, and the former almost cost the Vikings their win over the Panthers (and ended their playoff hopes).

That’s how tight things are for the purple, and it’s hard to think that those hopes won’t eventually be dashed if the special teams unit continues to be the worst unit in the league.

As Nelson points out:

“Arizona (or the Rams, whoever doesn’t win the South) is definitely in the driver’s seat, but if the Vikings can prove capable of finishing teams off late in games the way they should have against the Titans, Seahawks and Cowboys, they could very well take the field with a playoff spot on the line in Week 17. “

I’ve said all season that we very well could be looking back at the Seahawks/Titans/Cowboys games after Week 17 and say things like “if only they’d converted that fourth-down play/kicked a field goal against the Seahawks”, etc.

Because for a team that clearly has a razor thin margin of error, they simply make too many mistakes for me to have any semblance of confidence moving forward.

However, if they are able to come together and produce like they have for the majority of the post-bye games on offense while limiting special teams errors while playing okay on defense?

They could not only make the post-season, but as color commentator Jonathan Vilma has said during two different Vikings games recently, but also be a team that NO ONE in the surprisingly mediocre NFC wants to face.

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Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson started back in 2015 & in 2019, and purchased before the 2017-18 season , used to write for and is the host of the ’Morning Joes’ & ‘About the Labor’ Podcasts, as well. Follow on Twitter: @vtPTSD

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