Vikings Fans Are Cowboys Fans on Thursday Night

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It doesn’t happen often, aside from matchups with the Green Bay Packers or Chicago Bears, but Minnesota Vikings fans will morph into Dallas Cowboys enthusiasts on Thursday Night.

The Cowboys host the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Night Football, and for Minnesota’s up-and-down playoff aspirations, it’s better if Seattle loses.

Vikings Fans Are Cowboys Fans on Thursday Night

At the moment, the Cowboys possess the NFC’s No. 5 playoff seed and an 8-3 record. The Vikings are even-steven at 6-6 and probably don’t have the juice to pass Dallas in wildcard standings.

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The Seahawks, though, are in a different boat. Seattle is 6-5 through 12 weeks, holding the No. 6 seed in the NFC and a 5-3 conference record. The Vikings’ conference mark is 6-3, and if the NFC wildcard seeding boils down to an NFC tiebreaker — it probably will — Minnesota is best served to have Seattle lose the conference matchup to Dallas.

The Vikings don’t play the Seahawks this season, so if the two clubs finish the year with the same record, the team with a better NFC record would get the nod to the postseason tournament.

Fans Are Cowboys
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Minnesota has sullied its playoff chances in the last two weeks, losing on the road to the Denver Broncos and at home versus the Chicago Bears — by a total of three points. After several weeks, the Vikings’ winning ways without Justin Jefferson finally fizzled. Perhaps with a healthy Jefferson against the Broncos and Bears, Minnesota could’ve scored four points and beaten Denver and Chicago, but that what-if is wholly moot now.

Currently, the Vikings own a 51% probability of reaching the postseason, according to the New York Times‘ fabulous playoff machine. If the Seahawks topple the Cowboys — they probably won’t as a nine-point underdog — the Vikings’ postseason odds would dip to 45%. That’s a 6% downswing, while Minnesota did absolutely nothing this week on a bye. It’s substantial.

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Conversely, if Dallas prevails — the likely outcome per Vegas — Minnesota’s probability will climb toward 54% or a slight increase. The variance is about 10% altogether, give or take.

Of course, the Vikings largely “control their own destiny” via playoff positioning, regardless of the Seahawks’ schedule the rest of the way. If the Vikings somehow embark on another five-game winning spurt akin to October-November, they’d likely win the NFC North, if that can be believed. Realistically, however, Minnesota must finish 3-2 in the season’s final five games to secure a playoff berth. Anything less than 3-2 will have the team and its fans watching scoreboards in Week 18.

Vikings Fans to Become Loud
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The Cowboys have been unbeatable at home in 2023 (5-0) and are the NFL’s fourth-best team per DVOA. The Seahawks are 2-3 on the road and rank 17th per the same DVOA metric.

All predictive signs point to a Dallas win, and if so, the Vikings will benefit.

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