Vikings have to settle for spoiler role

The Vikings aren't likely to make the playoffs, but they will play a big role in them. All but one of their final eight games will be against teams currently in playoff contention.

As the Vikings prepare to start the second half of their 2011 season, they do so in the role of spoiler. At 2-6, they're out of the playoff hunt, which is unfortunate, because, as it stands, things are pretty wide open in the NFL, making practically every game the Vikings play from here on through have legitimate playoff implications … just not likely for them.

The first half of the season has provided some separations between the haves and the have-nots of the NFL. The Packers are the lone undefeated team in the league at 8-0, followed closely by San Francisco at 7-1. The Niners may be the only team that locks down its playoff position as NFC West champion by Thanksgiving – they have a five-game lead in their division and play five of their final eight games against division opponents that have a combined record of 5-19. Other than them, however, it's going to wild stretch run in both conferences.

As it currently stands, the NFC North would produce not only the team with the best record, but both wild cards. With their win Monday night at Philadelphia, Chicago is tied with Atlanta at 5-3, but the Bears beat the Falcons in Week 1 to give them the tie-breaker advantage.

The turnover in the NFL has been pronounced. Just one of the eight defending division champions is on pace to repeat and that team – the New England Patriots – is currently in a three-way tie atop its division at 5-3. Several teams that had 10 or more losses last year are in the thick of the playoff hunt for the postseason – Buffalo, Cincinnati, Houston, Detroit and San Francisco.

Of the Vikings' remaining eight games, the only team not in the middle of a playoff chase is Washington. Of the other seven, the Packers are in first place in the NFC North, Oakland is tied for the lead in the AFC West, the Falcons are a half-game out of first in the NFC South, the Broncos are just one game out of first in the parity-laden AFC West, the Saints are currently in first place in the NFC South and the Vikings still have games with current wild card frontrunners Detroit and Chicago.

The Vikings almost assuredly won't find themselves in the playoffs when the 2011 regular season comes to an end, but they will be playing plenty of playoff-type football between now and then, since almost every game will have direct implications on who makes the playoffs and who doesn't.

TUESDAY NOTES

  • In a salute to Veterans Day at Monday's game at Lambeau Field, fans are going to find placards taped to their chairs in hopes of pulling off a card stunt in which thousands of fans take part in the opening ceremony. One side of the placards will turn the stands into a ring of stars and stripes with the message "Thank you military, thank you veterans" on the other side. It will be interesting to see how well the plan is executed.

  • Michael Jenkins and Brian Robison will be in attendance today at a luncheon held by the Burnsville and Lakeville Chambers of Commerce as part of the Vikings' "You Made the Team" Community Tour. The luncheon will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lakeville Holiday Inn, 20800 Kennrick Ave.

  • Vikings players Chad Greenway, John Sullivan, Greg Camarillo, Everson Griffen and Tyrone McKenzie will visit the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis today as part of the Vikings' partnership with UnitedHealthCare's "Do Good, Live Well" campaign.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.


  • Viking Update Top Stories

    \r\n\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" As the Vikings prepare to start the second half of their 2011 season, they do so in the role of spoiler. At 2-6, they're out of the playoff hunt, which is unfortunate, because, as it stands, things are pretty wide open in the NFL, making practically every game the Vikings play from here on through have legitimate playoff implications … just not likely for them. The first half of the season has provided some separations between the haves and the have-nots of the NFL. The Packers are the lone undefeated team in the league at 8-0, followed closely by San Francisco at 7-1. The Niners may be the only team that locks down its playoff position as NFC West champion by Thanksgiving – they have a five-game lead in their division and play five of their final eight games against division opponents that have a combined record of 5-19. Other than them, however, it's going to wild stretch run in both conferences. As it currently stands, the NFC North would produce not only the team with the best record, but both wild cards. With their win Monday night at Philadelphia, Chicago is tied with Atlanta at 5-3, but the Bears beat the Falcons in Week 1 to give them the tie-breaker advantage. The turnover in the NFL has been pronounced. Just one of the eight defending division champions is on pace to repeat and that team – the New England Patriots – is currently in a three-way tie atop its division at 5-3. Several teams that had 10 or more losses last year are in the thick of the playoff hunt for the postseason – Buffalo, Cincinnati, Houston, Detroit and San Francisco. Of the Vikings' remaining eight games, the only team not in the middle of a playoff chase is Washington. Of the other seven, the Packers are in first place in the NFC North, Oakland is tied for the lead in the AFC West, the Falcons are a half-game out of first in the NFC South, the Broncos are just one game out of first in the parity-laden AFC West, the Saints are currently in first place in the NFC South and the Vikings still have games with current wild card frontrunners Detroit and Chicago. The Vikings almost assuredly won't find themselves in the playoffs when the 2011 regular season comes to an end, but they will be playing plenty of playoff-type football between now and then, since almost every game will have direct implications on who makes the playoffs and who doesn't.
  • In a salute to Veterans Day at Monday's game at Lambeau Field, fans are going to find placards taped to their chairs in hopes of pulling off a card stunt in which thousands of fans take part in the opening ceremony. One side of the placards will turn the stands into a ring of stars and stripes with the message \"Thank you military, thank you veterans\" on the other side. It will be interesting to see how well the plan is executed.
  • Michael Jenkins and Brian Robison will be in attendance today at a luncheon held by the Burnsville and Lakeville Chambers of Commerce as part of the Vikings' \"You Made the Team\" Community Tour. The luncheon will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lakeville Holiday Inn, 20800 Kennrick Ave.
  • Vikings players Chad Greenway, John Sullivan, Greg Camarillo, Everson Griffen and Tyrone McKenzie will visit the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis today as part of the Vikings' partnership with UnitedHealthCare's \"Do Good, Live Well\" campaign.
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