The High Stakes for Vikings on Monday Night Football

Dodged Bullet
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The Minnesota Vikings host the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football in Week 12, only the third time in franchise history that the club has played MNF at home twice in the same season.

The last time was 2010.

The High Stakes for Vikings on Monday Night Football

Kevin O’Connell’s team is a three-point favorite and could nudge its 2023 record to 7-5 with a victory.

for Vikings on Monday
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And with the showdown mere hours away, here’s what’s at stake for the Vikings versus Justin Fields and Co.

1. Wildcard Playoff Positioning

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A Vikings’ loss at home on Monday night wouldn’t be deadly for their playoff hopes, but it would hurt tremendously. Minnesota was dead in the water six weeks ago after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs and fell to a 1-4 record. Few NFL teams recover from such standing, but this brand of Vikings has, even after Justin Jefferson hit injured reserve.

Winning on MNF over the Bears would supremely strengthen Minnesota’s grip on the No. 6 playoff seed in the NFC’s evolving race, while a loss would toss the Vikings into a coinflip status.

Here’s the math, according to the New York Times‘ playoff simulator:

Vikings Odds to Reach Playoffs:

A Win over CHI = 75%
A Loss vs. CHI = 51%

The Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams’ Week 12 wins did Minnesota no favors, but that’s the way the cookie crumbled.

Minnesota’s playoff fortune swings by 24% based on Monday night’s outcome.

2. Chasing the NFC North Crown & Home Playoff Game

kevin o'connell hints more
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The Lions lost on Thanksgiving to the aforementioned Packers, a falling-out-the-sky event in front of a national audience. In fact, Detroit could’ve or should’ve lost the week before against the Bears but used extreme heroism and a Chicago collapse to prevail.

If the Vikings defeat the Bears on Monday, they’ll be one and a half games back of the Lions, a team with games against the New Orleans Saints, Bears, Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys, and Vikings twice on the schedule. That agenda isn’t murderous for Detroit, but it isn’t easy, either.

The Vikings basically need to beat the Bears and then finish the rest of the season with one or two more wins than the Lions. Conveniently, Minnesota plays Detroit twice in the next six games (Weeks 16 and 18) and will “control its own destiny” if it’s within two games of the Lions by Christmas Eve.

Vikings Odds to Win Division:

A Win over CHI = 15%
A Loss vs. CHI = 4%

3. The Win Streak over CHI

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The Vikings have toppled the Bears five times consecutively. Chicago has not triumphed over Minnesota since December of 2020. It was the game before the Vikings got stomped on Christmas by the New Orleans Saints and the midsection of a three-game losing streak that turned out to be a death blow to Minnesota’s 2020 playoff hopes.

Chicago drafted Justin Fields four months later.

Since that 2020 loss, Minnesota has downed Chicago every time and can run the streak to six on MNF. The last time the Bears lost five games in a row to the Vikings was 1992-1994.

Minnesota can continue the recent domination under the lights of primetime.


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.

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