Vikings Only One Game off Playoff Pace

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The Minnesota Vikings faced a murderer’s row schedule out of the gate in 2023, including games versus teams led by quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, and Justin Herbert.

And that was before the NFL’s best team, the San Francisco 49ers, arrives in Minneapolis next Monday.

Vikings Only One Game off Playoff Pace

Correspondingly, Minnesota has produced an unfavorable record, 2-4 through six weeks, and is navigating life without its best player, Justin Jefferson. The phenom playmaker will miss at least the next three games with a hamstring injury.

Game off Playoff
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And while it may not feel like it, the Vikings 2023 season is very much afloat, if one considers reaching the playoffs a reasonable goal.

The Vikings are one game out of the NFC’s playoff picture as of October 14th.

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For now, the surprising Los Angeles Rams live in the NFC’s No. 7 seed with a 3-3 record, and the Seattle Seahawks are at No. 6 with three wins and two losses. Between the Rams and Vikings, the Washington Commanders (3-3), Atlanta Falcons (3-3), New Orleans Saints (3-3), and Green Bay Packers (2-3) reside.

Because the Vikings are so close to the postseason’s bottom ladder rung, the next handful of conference games are utterly important, assuming reaching the postseason is the objective. Minnesota faces the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football in six days — a daunting task — and after that, the other wildcard contenders lurk.

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These are the Vikings next four games:

  • San Francisco 49ers (No. 1 seed)
  • Green Bay Packers (No. 11 seed)
  • Atlanta Falcons (No. 9 seed)
  • New Orleans Saints (No. 10 seed)

The 49ers showdown may not be winnable — we shall see — but the three games following MNF will determine if the Vikings have the juice to effectuate a playoff push. The Packers, Falcons, and Saints live ahead of the Vikings in the standings and are presumably vying for fifth, sixth, and seventh seeds in the tournament.

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Meanwhile, the Vikings could almost mind-bogglingly be in the postseason bracket, at least temporarily, by next Tuesday morning. In the event Minnesota shocks San Francisco — the Vikings are a seven-point home underdog — a handful of matchups would decide the Vikings interim playoff seeding.

In other words, if Minnesota defeats San Francisco, it would occupy the No. 7 seed for a week if these items occur this weekend:

  • Jaguars over Saints
  • Buccaneers over Falcons
  • Giants over Commanders
  • Broncos over Packers
  • Steelers over Rams

Pretty wild for a team that can’t solve a turnover problem and owns a 2-4 record, eh?

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).

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