Playoff Hopes: What the Vikings Need Around the NFL This Weekend

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The Minnesota Vikings have the proverbial “control their own fate” at their disposal right now, sitting at 6-6 entering Week 14.

Playoff Hopes: What the Vikings Need Around the NFL This Weekend

Kevin O’Connell’s team will likely reach the postseason if Minnesota wins at least three of its next five games. Four or five wins would essentially guarantee it. Three-wins is a probably. Minnesota travels to Las Vegas for a matchup with the Raiders on Sunday.

And to make life easier on the Vikings’ playoff chances, here’s what can happen favorably in Week 14.

The games are ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most important to Vikings).

4. Bears over Lions

the Vikings Need Around
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If one believes Minnesota can still take the NFC North, the Detroit Lions must lose a game or two by Christmas Eve.

The Vikings and Lions play twice between Week 16 and 18, and in theory, if the clubs are two wins apart, Minnesota could beat Detroit twice and take the division. It’s a longshot, but it could happen.

Too, the Bears almost toppled the Lions a few weeks ago, so anything is possible. An odd situation for Vikings fans, cheering for Chicago makes the most sense on Sunday.

3. 49ers over Seahawks

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There’s a slim chance that the Vikings finish the remaining five games with a 3-2 record, but Seattle clocks in at 4-1 down stretch, causing Minnesota to miss the postseason. Like Bears over Lions above, it’s unlikely — but possible.

The good news? The 49ers are rolling and very much look like the organization that will win the Super Bowl. San Francisco is at home and should find a dub.

Seahawks QB1 Geno Smith may or may not play in this matchup, meaning Drew Lock would be the next man up. Seattle also signed former Vikings passer Sean Mannion on Friday.

2. Ravens over Rams

Ravens Make Huge
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The Rams have a 43% playoff probability per ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI). Rams fans will want Minnesota to lose at Las Vegas this week, as a Rams win, plus a Vikings loss, would nudge Los Angeles closer to a wildcard playoff berth.

Matthew Stafford has played tremendously in the last couple of weeks, but going against the Ravens’ mighty defense is no easy task.

Minnesota’s wildcard pursuit will be rosier if Baltimore handles business at home.

1. Giants over Packers

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The most important of them all for the Vikings’ sake, Minnesotans should hope the Giants score the upset. Oddsmakers favor the Packers to prevail by a touchdown on Monday Night Football, so this one is a longshot like the Bears mentioned above.

Green Bay has defeated Detroit and Kansas City in back-to-back weeks. If they bungle this game at New York, it will make it so one of those impressive victories is nullified.

If you’re new to 2023 playoff scenarios, the Packers have an incredibly likely chance of reaching the postseason because their schedule is extremely easy (at NYG, vs. TB, at CAR, at MIN, vs. CHI) — and it starts with the Giants on MNF.


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.