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Bleacher Report – Vikings

A glance at the Vikings’ current playoff outlook

By Andrew Krammer

Three losses in the last four games has the Vikings down, but they’re still on a road to the playoffs and possibly a NFC North title game at Lambeau Field on Jan. 3.

If the playoffs started today, the Vikings (8-5) would travel to Green Bay and face the Packers (9-4) for the second postseason matchup at Lambeau Field in four years. However, despite the Packers’ one-game lead on the division, the Vikings can still win the NFC North and host a playoff game at TCF Bank Stadium should they win their remaining three games (vs. CHI, vs. NYG, at GB) by virtue of a divisional-record tiebreaker over Green Bay.

There are a few different playoff scenarios for the Vikings, one of the teams that benefited from Sunday’s results that saw NFC wild-card hopefuls lose in Atlanta (6-7) and Tampa Bay (6-7). As the standings sit on Monday, the Vikings have a two-game lead on the final wild-card spot with three games to go, and winnable home matchups upcoming against the reeling Bears (5-8) and Giants (5-7).

The Vikings could clinch a playoff spot as early as next week, with a win over Chicago and losses by the Buccaneers, Giants and Philadelphia Eagles (6-7). Since the Vikings hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Atlanta, the Falcons’ result would be inconsequential if the Vikings defeat the Bears.

Most NFC playoff scenarios lead to the Vikings and Packers playing in consecutive weeks, on Jan. 3 in the season finale and again on wild-card weekend. The eventual NFC North champion will most likely land the 3-seed playoff spot and face the 6-seed team in round one.

Current NFC playoff standings
1. Carolina Panthers 13-0 (clinched first-round bye)
2. Arizona Cardinals 11-2 (clinched playoff spot)
3. Green Bay Packers 9-4
4. Washington Redskins 6-7
5. Seattle Seahawks 8-5
6. Minnesota Vikings 8-5

Still alive
Tampa Bay 6-7
Atlanta 6-7
Philadelphia 6-7
New York Giants 5-7
St. Louis 5-8
New Orleans 5-8
Chicago 5-8
Dallas 4-9

The red-hot Seahawks (8-5) hold the top wild-card spot and aren’t expected to slow down with three remaining games — all at home — against the Cleveland Browns, St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals. Seattle’s head-to-head tiebreaker over the Vikings means it’d be unlikely Minnesota could capture the top wild-card spot, as they’d have to finish a game ahead of the Seahawks while not winning the NFC North.

However, there is one scenario that could see the Vikings hosting the Seahawks on the Jan. 9-10 weekend in the first round of the playoffs.

Should the Vikings win the division by beating the Packers in the season finale, Minnesota could host Seattle instead of Green Bay — only if the Packers finish above, or tied with, Seattle, which would lift Green Bay to the 5-seed as they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Seahawks.

The post A glance at the Vikings’ current playoff outlook appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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