No. 2 seed looking strong for Vikings

With the Cardinals' loss to the 49ers on Monday night, the Vikings are looking even more secure in their No. 2 seed for the NFC playoffs.

What in the name of the Arizona Cardinals is going on?

Just when a mild sense of panic set in for Vikings fans that the tremendous start to the 2009 season could go up in smoke after last week's loss at Arizona, the Cardinals laid a monstrous egg Monday night at San Francisco – all but cementing the Vikings as the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs and the first-round bye that comes with it.

The 49ers beat Arizona 24-9 thanks to seven Cardinals turnovers. As bad as the Vikings looked a week before, the Cardinals looked even worse. The loss drops Arizona to 8-5 – three games behind the Vikings with three to play. The loss all but negates the win they posted over the Vikings and forces the Cardinals to keep playing for the NFC West title due to a sweep by the 49ers in their two games this season.

The NFC playoffs are falling into place as expected and, with the Cardinals' most recent loss, it has put the Vikings back in the catbird seat for the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs.

Here are the Vikings' playoff scenarios for this week. The Vikings clinch a first-round bye with one of two things happening: 1) a win and an Eagles loss or tie; 2) a Vikings tie and a Packers loss or tie and an Eagles loss.

The Vikings can clinch the NFC North with one of three things happening: 1) a Vikings win; 2) a Vikings tie and a Packers loss or tie; 3) a Packers loss. So essentially any Vikings win or Packers loss the rest of the season will give Minnesota its second straight NFC North crown.


  • Over the weekend, defensive end Jared Allen had his contract re-worked to open additional salary cap space for 2010. Allen was due to get an $8 million bonus March 1, 2010, but $4 million of that was converted into 2009 salary – which counts against the 2009 salary cap and frees up $4 million for next year's cap. However, it may be a moot point if there is no salary cap in 2010. If the owners and players association can't reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, 2010 will be an uncapped year.

  • A federal court of appeals on Monday rejected a request from the NFL to reconsider its decision in the StarCaps case involving Pat Williams and Kevin Williams. In a split decision, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the league's request for a re-hearing before either the full court or a three-judge panel. The league may end up appealing the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • The NFL announced that its prime time schedule for Week 16 will remain as is with Dallas and Washington playing on Sunday night. The Vikings play the Bears on Monday night in Week 16.

  • The Jacksonville Jaguars had their blackout for Thursday's game with the Colts lifted. It will be the first time that a home game will be seen locally all season. The Jaguars are in the playoff hunt, but have had crowds of just 30,000 people this season – by far the worst in the league. The lifting of the blackout will end a run of seven straight home games that have been blacked out in the Jacksonville area.

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