Vikings Just a Cardinals Loss or Some Canceled Games Away from Playoff Spot


The Minnesota Vikings pulled out a huge victory on Sunday over the Carolina Panthers and the win kept their 2020-21 NFL playoff hopes alive. To aid them in their comeback, the Bears took a dive vs the Packers on Sunday night, moving the Vikings up to 8th place in the NFC playoff standings.

Now, the (5-6) purple sit just one game behind the (6-5) Arizona Cardinals, who hold the 7th and final playoff position.

1New Orleans Saints92.8184-07-1.459.426
2Green Bay Packers83.7002-15-2.459.420
3Seattle Seahawks73.7002-25-2.509.455
4New York Giants47.3643-23-6.462.326
5Los Angeles Rams74.6361-27-2.492.447
6Tampa Bay Buccaneers75.5832-24-4.545.410
7Arizona Cardinals65.5452-14-3.450.415
— PLAYOFF CUT LINE ——–—–—–—–—–
8Minnesota Vikings56.4553-14-4.508.444
9Chicago Bears56.4551-25-4.545.404
10San Francisco 49ers56.4552-23-5.530.418
11Detroit Lions47.3640-33-5.467.341
* SOS: Strength of Schedule| SOV: Strength of Victory

It’s hard to know whether or not the Vikings can snag a playoff spot by the end of next weekend. If they were to win and the Cardinals were to lose, both teams would be tied at 6-6. Since the two teams haven’t played each other, the first tiebreaker would go to conference record, where they’d be tied at 4-4, in this scenario.

Next week’s opponent is Jacksonville (AFC) and Arizona will play the 7-4, LA Rams (NFC). Minnesota’s game won’t have bearing on their record in the NFC but a loss for the Cardinals would drop them to 4-4. That means we’d go to the next tiebreaker (strength of victory).

A win vs the Jags would actually hurt the Vikings’ “strength of victory” because they’re that bad down in Florida right now. It’s impossible to know how far they would drop though, until next week is played and the SOV numbers are adjusted for both teams. No matter, the Vikings would be tied for that 7th and final place in the NFC playoff bracket, with 4 games left to play.

COVID Cancellations Help Vikings..

When the NFL and the Players’ Association finally came to an agreement on the details of this weird coronavirus-laced season, there was one major playoff clause folded inside.

If the NFL has to cancel games that have playoff implications, they will add an 8th team to each conference’s bracket. The Vikings currently sit at #8 in the NFC playoff standings so that would push them into the field of 16.

We are a long way from this happening, though. The NFL has built week 18 into their schedule, just in case they need to add time for makeup games. To this point, the league has played all of its scheduled games (as long as this week plays out by Tuesday) so the COVID situation would have to get really lopsided for the 16-team playoff to become a realistic future.

Here’s how reported on it:

NFL owners unanimously approved a contingency plan to expand the playoff field from 14 to 16 teams if meaningful games cannot be played due to COVID-19, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported. In the event the league is forced to take such action, it will not re-seed teams, according to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

This proposed scenario would only become a reality if the league cannot first complete the meaningful games rescheduled in a possible Week 18. Essentially, playoff expansion will only come about as a third option in the event the league cannot complete the 256-game season as scheduled within 17 weeks or within 18 weeks, with the 18th week added solely to complete the 256-game schedule prior to postseason play.

Remaining Schedule

The Vikings’ remaining schedule keeps looking easier with every week that goes by… but we all know what happens when we get too confident here in Minnesota.

After the Jaguars’ game next Sunday, the purple will finish their 2020 schedule @ Tampa Bay, vs Chicago, @ New Orleans and @ Detroit. I don’t even think the Bucs know who they are right now. That team looked lost in the first half vs the Chiefs Sunday, but then stormed back and pulled the game within a field goal by the time the dust settled.

We all know who Chicago and Detroit are (shit). New Orleans was the other tough game still on the schedule but Sean Payton isn’t the same without Drew Brees.


No matter what happens the rest of this season, I’m having way more fun in week 12 than I ever could have imagined a month ago, when we were trying to tank for Trevor and fire Mike Zimmer.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan