The Vikings’ Playoff Odds Are Through the Roof

Draft Grade from Last
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VikingsTerritory tracks the Minnesota Vikings odds of reaching the postseason, starting with pre-Week 1 all the way to Week 18.

The Vikings’ Playoff Odds Are Through the Roof

Various probability sources are tracked and centralized in one spot for reference.

This is the Vikings’ probability meter after the Week 10 win versus the New Orleans Saints.


Odds Are Through
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Minnesota has the eighth-best odds of all 32 NFL teams to reach the postseason. This percentage climbed mightily and steadily over the last month and a half.

ESPN defines FPI like this: “The Football Power Index (FPI) is a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team’s performance going forward for the rest of the season. FPI represents how many points above or below average a team is. Projected results are based on 10,000 simulations of the rest of the season using FPI, results to date, and the remaining schedule. Ratings and projections update daily.”

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This site takes a more rudimentary approach to the calculation, not necessarily factoring in predictive performance. But in the interest of fairness and sheer math, was included for a broader view.

NYT Simulator

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The New York Times playoff predictor is live, and interestingly, if the Vikings down the Broncos on Sunday, the probability will climb to 89%.

You can play with the NYT machine here.

The New York Times explains the simulator in this fashion: “We estimate odds by randomly simulating the remainder of the season thousands of times and counting how often the Vikings make the playoffs. If you don’t specify an outcome for a particular game, we use an Elo rating system combined with information from betting markets to estimate each team’s chances of winning. (For simplicity, we assume each game has an equally small chance — one in 200 — of ending in a tie).”


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In mid-October, assigned the Vikings a 14% playoff probability. Six weeks later, everything has changed, and Minnesota is in the driver’s seat to get into the dance.

Here’s how the NFC North looks as of November 17th:

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Did We See a Change
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Most credible sportsbooks settled around a +115 moneyline for Minnesota to visit the postseason when the regular season kicked off, which translated to 46.5%. That percentage and moneyline stayed stagnant for most of the offseason, as oddsmakers decided Minnesota was an 8.5-win team after it lost Eric Kendricks, Adam Thielen, Za’Darius Smith, Dalvin Cook, Dalvin Tomlinson, Patrick Peterson, and others — and that was that.

But after the Vikings’ 6-4 start, the moneyline changed to -230 or 77.9%. That’s what happens after a five-game winning streak.

The Vikings play the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football this weekend and are 2.5-point underdogs. Minnesota hasn’t notched a victory in Denver since 1999.

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