The Vikings Aren’t Doomed — At All

Happened to Vikings
Nov 19, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Minnesota Viking quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Denver Broncos in the third quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports.

Examine any sect of social media from Sunday night, and one might have thought the Minnesota Vikings lost a playoff game.

Kevin O’Connell’s team fell in Denver by a point after controlling the game most of the way. The loss snapped Minnesota’s fortuitous five-game winning streak and situated the franchise at 6-5 entering Week 12.

The Vikings Aren’t Doomed — At All

One prominent Vikings-themed site,, even called the loss devastating.

Oct 4, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Minnesota Vikings fan among Denver Broncos fans in the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Vikings 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports.

“Observation #1 in Viking loss in Denver — Devastating loss as Minnesota got conservative and blew so many chances to put this game away. The inability for Minnesota to pull away from teams is very concerning. No chance to win the division now,” the site’s X account posted Sunday night.

And while the loss hurt in the moment for the Vikings’ players, coaches, and fans, it hardly affected the club’s playoff chances. Indeed, winning the NFC North is significantly trickier now, but the postseason probability barely moved.

Nov 19, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports.

According to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), the Vikings own a 79.0% probability of reaching the postseason tournament in January. The percentage checked in around 86% before the loss to Denver. The New York Timesplayoff simulator assigned Minnesota 78.0% odds after Week 11.

Losing in Denver assuredly wasn’t ideal or preferred, but because the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota’s loss Sunday night was largely a nothingburger. Tampa Bay is the squad that could give the Vikings fits via tiebreakers due to its Week 1 win in Minneapolis, but Baker Mayfield and Co. are now 4-6.

Sep 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) catches a pass against the Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. (26) in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Moreover, the Vikings were probably not going to win every game during the season’s remainder without Justin Jefferson, who should return in Week 12 or Week 14 after the bye. Kirk Cousins, Marcus Davenport, Akayleb Evans, Jordan Hicks, and Cam Akers also didn’t play at Denver, so a loss felt inevitable at some point, and it arrived versus the Broncos.

Minnesota takes on the Chicago Bears in one week on Monday Night Football, and the postseason odds can climb to around 87% with a home victory.

Josh Dobbs Has One
Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) calls a play against the Atlanta Falcons in the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

As for defending the NFC North, the Vikings must find a way to get two games behind the Detroit Lions by Christmas Eve. Minnesota and Detroit play twice in the final three weeks, and if the Vikings can topple the Lions in both matchups, they would win the division if the clubs are separated by two games entering Week 16.

The verdict? Minnesota entered the Broncos showdown with roughly 86% odds of joining the playoff tournament and departed around 78%. The loss really wasn’t doomsday.

Justin Jefferson’s impending return might even help the team. Imagine that.

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