As it turns out, we didn't even make it to Sunday before the whole thing fell apart.
As a result of the St. Louis Rams falling to the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 12-6 on Thursday Night Football, the Minnesota Vikings have been officially eliminated from the 2014 post-season derby.
The scenario that would have needed to occur would have involved the Vikings, Rams, Seattle Seahawks, and either the Dallas Cowboys or Philadelphia Eagles finishing the season with a record of 9-7. Per the tiebreaker scenarios on NFL.com, a divisional tiebreaker would have been applied to the two NFC West teams first, which would have eliminated Seattle. Seattle would have been eliminated because, in that scenario, the Rams would have a head-to-head sweep of the Seahawks.
So, continuing along, the Rams, Vikings, and either Philadelphia or Dallas would have 9-7 records and have moved on to the next phase of the tiebreaker, which would be conference record. A 9-7 Rams team would have had a conference record of 7-5, as would a 9-7 Vikings team in this scenario. A 9-7 Eagles team, on the other hand, would have a conference record of 5-7, while a 9-7 Dallas team would have a conference record of 6-6. Either way, the NFC East representative would be eliminated, leaving the Vikings and the Rams.
And, at that point, Minnesota's 34-6 victory over St. Louis in Week 1 would have put the Vikings into the NFC playoffs.
However, the Rams can no longer find themselves tied with Seattle, as the Rams can no longer finish better than 8-8 and the Seahawks can't finish worse than 9-7, with Seattle's strength of victory (the next applicable tiebreaker) being significantly higher than Minnesota's. So, as a result, the whole scenario is moot and Minnesota's 2014 post-season hopes have been extinguished.
About the best the Vikings can hope for now is to possibly mess things up for a couple of playoff contenders in Detroit and Miami, as well as build some momentum to carry them into their off-season and into 2015. Hopefully that's what we'll see from this team over the next three weeks.