4 Reasons Why the Vikings Would Be Better off Losing at CHI

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A loss to the lowly Bears? I know you are all bewildered right now. Why in the world would the Minnesota Vikings want to lose this game?

Yeah, grabbing the No. 2 seed back from the San Francisco 49ers isn’t likely, but Minnesota should still try to win, right? Especially since they must wash the taste of last week’s disaster out of everyone’s mouths.

4 Reasons Why the Vikings Would Be Better off Losing at CHI

Well, hear me out. A loss in Week 18 would provide several positives for the Vikings, both in this season and for the franchise going forward.

A Chance to Rest and Recover

Vikings Would Be Better off
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The first benefit of a loss could technically be achieved through victory. However, it can more reliably be accessed by just giving up on this clash against Chicago and sitting anyone who matters to this team. 

Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Za’Darius Smith, Harrison Smith, Danielle Hunter, Patrick Peterson, Christian Darrisaw, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Harrison Phillips should not see the field against the Bears.

Even if most of these players are not on the injury report, they’ve still gone through the wear and tear of an NFL season. A chance to rest and heal up would be massive, and it also means none of these crucial players will get hurt. After already losing Brian O’Neill, this team can’t sustain more injuries.

A Game-Planning Advantage

Coaching Struggles and Takeaways from Loss at GB
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Minnesota has an opportunity here. If they lose in Chicago, they know with absolute certainty that they will face the New York Giants on wild card weekend. Conversely, the Giants don’t know whether they will travel to Minnesota or San Francisco.

That allows Minnesota to start game planning for a tough Giants team immediately. However, the Giants will likely split their attention between the San Francisco 49ers and Vikings or not game-plan until their opponent is locked in.

Minnesota should approach the Bears with an offense and defense complicated enough to get their younger players valuable practice reps. Aside from that, though, the game plan should be simple. All attention should be turned towards the Giants, and this will allow Minnesota a substantial preparation advantage, similar to a team coming out of their bye week.

The No. 3 Seed Might Be Better?

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Another factor to consider is Minnesota’s opponents, even without the potential for a game-planning advantage.

The Green Bay Packers are the most likely opponent for the No. 2 seed, a team that just embarrassed Minnesota. Another possibility is the Detroit Lions, who beat the Vikings by multiple scores in Week 14, and Minnesota does not match up well with them, given their defensive woes.

The Seattle Seahawks are the only 2-seed matchup that seems favorable for Minnesota. Even then, they have an elite WR duo and a quarterback who has shown he can get the ball to them.

In contrast, the No. 3 seed will face the New York Giants, a team Minnesota beat just a couple of weeks ago. They also beat them while playing much less than their best in multiple phases.

The Giants have weaknesses all over the field. However, they are accentuated in their secondary and on their offensive line, two areas Minnesota is uniquely equipped to exploit. The Vikings can spend two weeks drilling communication and blitz pickups and combine that practice with a game plan tailored to take advantage of New York’s aggressive defense.

All this information leads to the conclusion that the Giants are likely the best matchup for Minnesota in Round 1 of the playoffs.

A Loss Will Hurt Chicago’s Draft Position

Bears Choose Starting QB vs. Vikings
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If Minnesota wins this game, Chicago will have a realistic opportunity to grab the first pick in the draft. The only requirement is a Houston Texans victory over the lifeless Indianapolis Colts. Even if that outcome doesn’t happen, the Bears would still secure the second pick.

But a Bears victory combined with an Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos loss would drop Chicago to pick No. 4, a fairly significant difference in value.

The Bears may not seem to be a threat. Perhaps they won’t be soon. But the ability to easily secure a considerable reduction in draft capital for a divisional opponent is an opportunity that cannot be ignored.

Nobody Wants to Lose

Regardless of who Minnesota plays, losing this game may not happen. They may field a more talented lineup than Chicago, especially since Chicago has ruled out young quarterback Justin Fields. Whoever plays for the Vikings in this game will be playing their hardest. They have families to feed and contracts to earn. But as it would be optimal for many reasons to drop this game, I don’t think any effort in terms of personnel or preparation should be made to enhance Minnesota’s competitiveness and winning chances against Chicago.

At the end of the day, many factors will go into what decision Kevin O’Connell and his coaching staff make, and we will all wait in anticipation to see what the team does in the final game of their season.