Recap of What Vikings Need for Playoff Jostling in Week 17

Recap of What Vikings Need for Playoff Jostling on Sunday Afternoon
Jalen Hurts

For starters, the Minnesota Vikings are longshots to reach the 2021 postseason. Don’t be hoodwinked into believing the team has a reasonable chance at meaningful January football.

Recap of What Vikings Need for Playoff Jostling in Week 17

A litany of moments can be “blamed” for the current state of playoff-what-if affairs, but the Vikings loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 13 was the most damning. The Greg Joseph missed game-winning field goal folly in Arizona during Week 2 did the franchise no favors; neither did the collapse versus the Cooper Rush-led Dallas Cowboys in Week 8.

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But here we are. A team criticized for showcasing mediocrity in previous seasons — is embedded in another mediocre campaign.

To make the season worthwhile, here’s what the Vikings need to occur. Starting with the “bad,” or least likely — if the Vikings lose to Green Bay on Sunday night — the pathway to the postseason is thinner than hair strands.

That’s seven different favorable outcomes outside of Minnesota’s control — assuming Kirk Cousins and friends rally to topple the Chicago Bears in Week 18. As standalone events — this is sports, after all — the games could theoretically break in the Vikings favor. But not sevenfold.

Now, for the “realistic” stuff — if you believe Sean Mannion drags Minnesota to triumph on Sunday Night Football.

If the Vikings defeat the Packers for the third time in a row, they have a sensible opportunity to get in the dance. Of course, Mike Zimmer’s squad would still need a win over the aforementioned Bears. Check. Then, the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints only have to lose one game apiece in the final two weeks. The Eagles host the Washington Football Team this weekend and finish out 2021 at the Dallas Cowboys. Philadelphia must lose one if Minnesota beats Green Bay.

Next, in addition to an Eagles loss, the Saints must either lose at home to the Carolina Panthers or on the road at the Atlanta Falcons in Week 18. Go Panthers, or go Falcons — that’s your mindset if the Vikings win Sunday night.

And that’s it. Minnesota assuredly doesn’t control its fate, but the tunnel to January is believable if it shocks the most hated Wisconsin foe, again.

There are some crazy scenarios involving the San Francisco 49ers losing both games, too. However, those are so far-fetched that they’re not even worth explanation.

The easiest way to think of it? Before any Week 17 football happens, Minnesota has about a 1 in 10 chance to reach the playoffs. Those odds are roughly the same as encountering a rainy day in Los Angeles.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).