The Minnesota Vikings are in a good spot to make the playoffs, at least, and they control their destiny to win the NFC North.
While the Green Bay Packers have a one-game lead over the Vikings, if Minnesota wins its final three games, which includes the regular-season finale at Green Bay, they would win the tie-breaker over the Packers because the Vikings would have a better NFC North record.
The Vikings are 3-1 in division, with their only loss to the Packers, but if Minnesota wins out they would be tied with Green Bay in the head-to-head matchup and finish with a 5-1 record in the division. The Packers already have two divisional losses.
But if the Packers win out, they would win the division, leaving the Vikings to fight for a wild card spot. Minnesota is currently the sixth seed, but it has a two-game lead on the other wild card hopefuls that are currently out of the top six in the NFC, meaning if the Vikings can win two of out of the next three it should guarantee them a wild card spot.
The NFL came out with all the official scenarios today. The Vikings can clinch a playoff spot withto earn a playoff spot with:
- MIN win + TB loss or tie + WAS loss or tie + ATL loss or tie OR
- MIN win + TB loss or tie + WAS loss or tie + SEA loss or tie OR
- MIN win + TB loss or tie + NYG loss or tie + ATL loss or tie OR
- MIN win + TB loss or tie + NYG loss or tie + SEA loss or tie OR
- MIN tie + TB loss + ATL loss or tie + PHI loss or tie + WAS loss OR
- MIN tie + TB loss + ATL loss or tie + PHI loss or tie + NYG loss OR
- MIN tie + TB loss + ATL loss or tie + WAS loss or tie + NYG loss or tie (as long as WAS and NYG both don’t tie)
The Vikings should be favored in home contests against the Chicago Bears on Sunday and the New York Giants (at 7:30 p.m. Central Dec. 27 after that game time was flexed).
Last year under head coach Mike Zimmer and without star running back Adrian Peterson, the Vikings went 2-2 in December with wins over the New York Jets and Chicago Bears at home and losses against the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins on the road. None of those December games was decided by more than six points.
With Peterson in the December outdoors of TCF Bank Stadium, fans might believe the Vikings have an advantage. However, Peterson averages only 19 carries and 90 yards per games he has played in December, both the lowest marks of any of the four main months of the regular season.
However, Teddy Bridgewater has been his best in December, completing 70 percent of his passes for a 94 passer rating in the month.
The most likely scenarios for the Vikings are finishing as either the No. 3 seed by winning the NFC North or the No. 6 seed as a wild card. Either way, it could produce back-to-back games with the Packers – in the season finale and in the first round of the playoffs.