Vikings Must Now Channel Bon Jovi for Playoff Hopes

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Tommy’s got his six-string in hock. Now he’s holding in when he used to make it talk so tough. Oh, it’s tough.

Those are Bon Jovi lyrics from 1986, specifically the Slippery When Wet album, and yes, the Minnesota Vikings are livin’ on a prayer.

Vikings Must Now Channel Bon Jovi for Playoff Hopes

And that’s for postseason chances. The Vikings lost on Sunday at home to the Detroit Lions, a club that wrapped up the NFC North for the first time in 30 years. Minnesota must now win its final two games and “get some help.”

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Here’s the deal.

Vikings Must Win Out

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The Vikings have remaining games on New Year’s Eve at home against the Green Bay Packers and the following weekend at the Lions. If Minnesota loses one, the Wildcard playoff dream is dead in the water. Minnesota put itself in this spot by brutal losses to the Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, and Lions. Winning just one of those damn games would’ve slapped the Vikings in a wonderful spot this week to secure a playoff berth.

Minnesota’s one big hope is to topple the Packers and Lions while getting some help from one of the following teams.

One Single Loss from LAR or SEA

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The Vikings need one of these four games to result in a single Rams or Seahawks loss, with Minnesota, of course, defeating the Packers and Lions:

Week 17:
Los Angeles Rams at New York Giants
Pittsburgh Steelers at Seattle Seahawks

Week 18:
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals

Think of it as a four-team parlay, in bettor’s speak, for the other teams. Should the Vikings decide to beat Green Bay and Detroit, the Rams must beat the Giants and 49ers, and the Seahawks must defeat the Steelers and Cardinals for the Vikings not to reach the postseason.

And if Minnesota pulls this off, it would likely face the Lions or Eagles — on the road — during Wildcard weekend.

The Math

Channel Bon Jovi
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Minnesota has a 27% chance of reaching the postseason after losing to the Lions. Sadly, that probability would’ve spiked to around 75% if it had defeated Detroit. No cigar.

Here’s the lay of the land per the New York Times‘ playoff simulator, per to the Vikings’ next two games:

Vikings Playoff Probability,
for Weeks 17 & 18:

Lose to GB | Lose to DET = 0%
Lose to GB = 4%
Lose to GB | Beat DET = 13%
Beat GB | Lose to DET = 25%
Right Now = 27%
Beat GB = 46%
Beat GB | Beat DET = 96%

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by