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Only one path to the playoffs is open for the Vikings

And it’s not a particularly wide one

Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

UPDATE: With the Cardinals officially beating the Eagles, there’s one path to the playoffs for the Vikings. It involves:

  • Two Vikings wins
  • Two Cardinals losses
  • At least one Bears loss

Original story below:

On Sunday, your Minnesota Vikings saw their record fall to 6-8 with a loss to the Chicago Bears that saw their defense force zero punts in the final 57 minutes of action at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings could have enhanced their chances of reaching the 2020 NFL playoffs with a victory, but simply couldn’t get the job done.

We haven’t done a lot of “playoff picture” types of posts this year, because the Vikings making the postseason hasn’t really seemed like a realistic possibility, even after the hot streak the team got on following their 1-5 start. Now, there’s only one realistic path to the playoffs that the Vikings can travel to reach the postseason.

Here’s everything that needs to happen.

  1. First, the Vikings need to win out and get to 8-8. If they don’t beat New Orleans on Christmas Day and Detroit after New Year’s, nothing else means anything.
  2. They also need the Arizona Cardinals to lose two of their final three games against Philadelphia, San Francisco, and the Los Angeles Rams. The Cardinals are already up on the Eagles 19-7 midway through the second quarter, so that would narrow things even more. In that scenario, however, the Cardinals would also finish 8-8.
  3. The Vikings would then need Chicago to lose one of their final two games (at Jacksonville or against Green Bay) to finish 8-8 as well.

In that scenario. . .according to the playoff machine from ESPN. . .the Vikings would sneak into the playoffs as the #7 seed with an 8-8 record. A three-way tie at 8-8 between Arizona, Chicago, and Minnesota would see Chicago eliminated by virtue of having a worse divisional record than Minnesota (4-2 to 3-3). The tiebreaker between Arizona and Minnesota would then, I believe, come down to records against common opponents.

It’s not likely, and it’s probably not even realistic. . .but, in the spirit of (Lloyd) Christmas. . .