Even a Vikings Loss at Green Bay Wouldn’t Be Fatal

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The Minnesota Vikings victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football changed everything — playoff-seeding placement, momentum, and fans’ outlook.

Even a Vikings Loss at Green Bay Wouldn’t Be Fatal

Under the radar, the win also created an odd situation for this weekend: Sunday’s game at Lambeau Field versus the Green Bay Packers is not an absolutely must-win ordeal, if that can be believed.

Even a Vikings Loss
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Because Minnesota chipped off San Francisco three days ago, fans expect a win over the Packers, which is not unreasonable considering the Vikings two-game win streak. Green Bay also won’t have Aaron Rodgers or Brett Favre under center, a phenomenon totally unfamiliar to Vikings fans.

But if there is a hiccup to recent momentum and the Vikings falter, it would not be a death sentence.

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For now, if the Vikings topple Jordan Love’s Packers, their playoff probability skyrockets to 69%, according to The New York Timesplayoff simulator. A loss to Green Bay dwindles those odds back to 41%. Not long ago — like entering Week 6 — Minnesota felt dead in the water with a 1-4 record and reigning Offensive Player of the Year Justin Jefferson heading to injured reserve.

Yet, because Minnesota shocked San Francisco, the numbers exhaled. Defeating Green Bay would assuredly enhance the Vikings playoff chances — and even enable hopes of catching the Detroit Lions for the NFC North crown — but a loss would not become doomsdayist.

The Vikings bought themselves leeway by beating the 49ers.

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If the playoffs began Thursday afternoon, Minnesota would live on the outside looking in, with No. 7 seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers traveling to Detroit for a wildcard postseason tryst. But if the Buccaneers lose on Thursday Night Football at the Buffalo Bills — which will likely happen — the Vikings will grab the No. 7 seed, at least for a few days. Knocking off Green Bay would obtain the seventh seed for a week.

What matters the most is Minnesota’s performance after Green Bay in Week 8. Around the bend, the Vikings encounter winnable games against the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, and Las Vegas Raiders. That’s why a loss at Lambeau Field wouldn’t be fatal. The schedule truly lightens up as early as now — after a murderer’s row against quarterbacks like Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert, and Patrick Mahomes.

Hunter Is
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The Packers will be desperate, though. Green Bay has a 2-4 record through Week 7, a club certainly not accustomed to slow starts. Per the same NYT playoff simulator, Green Bay’s playoff probability could climb to 27% by beating the Vikings and tumble to 7% with a loss.

In fact, the Packers need a win more than the Vikings.

The Vikings have fired up two straight horrid showings at Lambeau Field in 2021 and 2022 and are overdue for a competent performance.

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 OverTheCap.com.