Is There a Vikings’ Choice for the NFC Championship?

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With just two teams left in action for the NFC Championship game, Minnesota Vikings fans have the option to observe from the sidelines or pick a competitor to emerge victorious. The Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers present valid arguments, but where should you fall?

Is There a Vikings’ Choice for the NFC Championship?

It has been years since the Lions looked even close to a competitive team. With a hapless defensive unit in 2022, there was simply no way for their high-flying offense to make a significant impact. As Dan Campbell helped to turn those tides this season, Detroit finished with twelve wins in a three-way tie for the most among NFC teams. Only the Baltimore Ravens pulled off more victories this season, and that was quite a turnaround.

Choice for the NFC
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Within the division, Detroit handled business as well. They posted a 4-2 record, beating Chicago and Green Bay once apiece while sweeping the Vikings. Minnesota caught the Lions at an inopportune time, and twice in three weeks, ultimately ending their season. It was essentially a wire-to-wire act for the Motor City Kitties, and that’s something for the city to feel good about.

It was unfortunate to see the fanbase against Matthew Stafford as they opened the wild card round of the playoffs. A player who had given the organization and city everything, while often saddled with lacking options around him, was booed and shown the bird. It likely did get old hearing the narratives of his return for days leading up to the game, but Jared Goff being acquired in a direct swap was never going to be overlooked.

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On the flip side, it has been the San Francisco 49ers from the start. Entering the year among favorites to win the Super Bowl, Kyle Shanahan’s team has certainly met expectations. Although they were without significant skill players at teams, it was as though the offense never missed a beat, and the defense continued to put them in a positive position.

After a slow start, the Rams came charging back and pushed the 49ers a bit at the top of the division. Both teams finished 5-1 within the NFC West, and the Seattle Seahawks ending with a 9-8 record didn’t make those games uncompetitive. San Francisco found themselves on the losing side of a primetime game against the Vikings before Kirk Cousins’ season ended, and that was among the few highlights in the win column for Minnesota during 2023.

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Brock Purdy presents an option for some in Vikings Territory to get behind as a product of Iowa State, but his team has been talked about constantly in the conversation. This is a 49ers team that expects to move on, and they probably should with a seven-point line for Sunday’s tilt. Still, though, is the favorite who you want to get behind, even if it means the elimination of a divisional foe?

We should see a good game on Sunday afternoon, and picking a side from Minnesota may be too hard.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.