ESPN Offers Vikings Playoff Prediction

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The Minnesota Vikings had gobs of playoff momentum about two weeks ago, but that was before back-to-back losses at the Denver Broncos and versus the Chicago Bears.

After Week 10, the club held a 6-4 record and roughly an 80% probability of reaching the postseason. Yet, after the recent losses, the Vikings’ playoff probability retreated to around 58%, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI).

ESPN Offers Vikings Playoff Prediction

And according to an ESPN deep dive from Bill Barnwell, Minnesota is in line to grab the NFC’s No. 6 seed.

ESPN Offers Vikings
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Barnwell analyzed the six teams vying for the No. 6 and No. 7 seed, all but assuming the Dallas Cowboys, at 8-3, have wrapped up the No. 5 spot (if they don’t pass the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC East chip). Per Barnwell, the Vikings have the best odds to purloin the sixth seed, with the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers directly behind Minnesota.

“Given how the defense is playing, the best thing for the Vikings might be opting for the quarterback who is least likely to turn the ball over. By interception rate, that would likely be Dobbs, whose 2.7% career interception rate is below that of Mullens, even after the four-interception game. On the other hand, Dobbs also has fumbled a league-high 14 times this season across 12 starts with Arizona and Minnesota, while Mullens has only eight fumbles in four pro seasons,” Barnwell said about the Vikings and an impending quarterback controversy.

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The Vikings will use the next 10 days to decide a QB1 at the Las Vegas Raiders — either Joshua Dobbs, Nick Mullens, or Jaren Hall.

Barnwell continued, “Whoever starts should get to play with Justin Jefferson, who was activated from injured reserve Tuesday and should be able to suit up after the bye. He was averaging nearly 3.0 yards per route run and more than 114 receiving yards per game before his hamstring injury, so he’ll obviously make the offense better.”

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Minnesota hopes Jefferson will kickstart the offense, as the Vikings have lost two consecutive games by a total of three points. In theory, Jefferson should have enough juice to close the gap between the Vikings’ sputtering offense and suddenly good defense. Especially in games against the Raiders and Bengals.

“With the Raiders and Bengals up first after the bye, the Vikings should be in position to get in great shape for their final three games of the season. A home-and-home with the Lions sandwiching a crucial home game against the Packers, though, will likely end up deciding whether the Vikings are returning to the playoffs or nursing their wounds in January,” Barnwell concluded.

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On the whole, ESPN envisions an NFC playoff field in this way:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles
  2. San Francisco 49ers
  3. Detroit Lions
  4. Atlanta Falcons
  5. Dallas Cowboys
  6. Minnesota Vikings
  7. New Orleans Saints

Of course, that is subject to change, but that’s the pecking order per playoff forecast as of November 30th, according to ESPN.

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