The Vikings dramatically improved their playoff possibilities with their win over Arizona. While the postseason isn't yet guaranteed, they still have a chance to go as high as the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
Oh, the possibilities.
Thanks to a series of events Sunday, the Vikings find themselves with numerous possibilities in their drive for the playoffs.
With their win, the Vikings are currently the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoff scenario, having defeated the Cardinals head-to-head on Sunday. So with one win, the Vikings can not only lock down the NFC North Division title, but also wrap up the No. 3 seed in the playoffs, which would, at a minimum, give them a home game in the wild card round of the playoffs against the lowest seeded wild card team.
But it doesn't stop there. The Giants and Panthers are the top two seeds and play each other next Sunday night. If the Panthers win and the Vikings beat Atlanta at home Sunday, the Vikings-Giants game the following week would be for the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye.
The same would essentially be true if the Giants win. If the Vikings defeat the Falcons in Week 17, the Vikings would play a Giants team that has wrapped up home-field advantage and would likely be resting many of its injured players, while Carolina would have to travel to New Orleans to face a Saints team that would like nothing more than to cripple its division rival. In that scenario, if the Vikings were to win their final two games and the Panthers would lose their final two – not as big a stretch of the imagination as it may appear to be – the Vikings would have the No. 2 seed and a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, the first goal remains just getting into the playoffs. That can be achieved with a win in either of the final two games or a loss by Chicago against Green Bay Monday night or at Houston in Week 17.
While there is still a lot to be determined and seedings to be finalized, Sunday's win has put the Vikings in the driver's seat to the postseason like few other teams have. They can make it in even if they don't win a game and can still pull down the No. 3 seed if the Cardinals lose at New England on Sunday.
What a difference a day can make. Things are looking rosy for the Vikings and possibilities could get even better with a little help from a couple of other teams.
With their loss at Jacksonville, the Packers were eliminated from playoff consideration Sunday. For those who thought Green Bay wouldn't miss Brett Favre, all one needs to do is look at the records. Green Bay was 13-3 a year ago and hosted the NFC Championship Game. At the same time, the Jets were 4-12. A year later, New York is 9-5 and currently in the AFC playoffs and the Packers are 5-9 and playing out the string. Could one player have made that much of a difference? The records would make you think so.
For the first time all year, the Vikings have a brewing quarterback controversy. After leading the Vikings back from behind against Detroit and having an extremely efficient game in Arizona, Tarvaris Jackson is making a case to be the Vikings' starting QB. If Gus Frerotte is healthy enough to play, he could be ready to go against Atlanta. Following the game, nobody was committing one way or the other as to which of the quarterbacks would be given the nod, but Jackson may have earned his spot for at least another week.
We will likely find out more today on the severity of the shoulder injury suffered by Pat Williams Sunday. He was taken off the field on a cart after making a tackle and the initial word is that he is scheduled to have a MRI done to determine the extent of the damage. That likely either happened late last night or early this morning. Brad Childress may shed some light on the situation at his Monday press conference this afternoon.
Arizona scored just one offensive touchdown Sunday – their worst performance of the season.
Bernard Berrian's touchdown dance was an homage to actor Will Smith, who was in the Twin Cities Friday to promote his new movie as well as to provide a celebrity endorsement to Berrian's holiday charity effort to help stock foodshelves.
The Vikings special teams have now allowed seven touchdowns, which is a NFL record for futility.
For the seventh straight season, Matt Birk was named Vikings Community Man of the Year. He will be presented the award Tuesday when he hosts an eighth-grade class from Metcalf Junior High in Burnsville for a pizza party at Winter Park.
The Vikings have nine touchdowns of 40 yards or more this season after adding three more Sunday. Five of them have been by Berrian, who has three scores of 80 yards or more.
Cedric Griffin's interception Sunday was his first in two years. With a little luck, he could have had as many as three picks Sunday – he had two more that he had a good chance at catching, but knocked down instead.