On the strength of the greatest comeback in the history of the National Football League, the Minnesota Vikings wrapped up their first NFC North division title since 2017 and will make their first trip to the playoffs since the 2019 season. They’ve also, at least partially, locked in where they’ll be seeded when the postseason party gets underway.
The Vikings’ victory today moved their record to 11-3 on the season, meaning that they can’t finish any worse than 11-6 on the season. Over in the NFC South, every team has at least seven losses, so the best any NFC South division winner can finish is 10-7. That means that, because of their win today, it’s mathematically impossible for the Vikings to drop to the #4 seed. So, they’ll occupy either the #2 spot or the #3 spot.
The team that they’re locked in that race with is the San Francisco 49ers, who won the NFC West with their win over Seattle on Thursday night. The Vikings finish with games at home against the New York Giants and on the road against the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. The Niners will finish things up with a road trip to play the Las Vegas Raiders sandwiched between home games against the Washington Commanders and the Arizona Cardinals.
If the Vikings and the 49ers finish with the same record, the Niners would win a tiebreaker against the Vikings due to a superior conference record. Right now the Niners have an 8-2 record against the NFC, while the Vikings are 6-3 against the NFC. As the Vikings’ last three games are all against NFC opponents, if they were to lose one (or more) while the Niners won out, the Niners would have the superior conference record and get the higher seed.
Therefore, it’s incumbent upon the Vikings to keep winning and keep that one-game advantage over the 49ers if they want to hold on to that #2 spot. It could be the difference between hosting San Francisco at U.S. Bank Stadium and having to go to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara for the Divisional Round (assuming both teams won on Wild Card Weekend). The Niners’ remaining schedule isn’t exactly Murderer’s Row. . .the Vikings’ schedule isn’t either. . .but if the Vikings want to keep that second seed in the conference, they need to keep winning.