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NFC Playoff Picture: What the early game results mean for the Vikings

Could be something, could be nothing

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

UPDATE: The Steelers have beaten the Seahawks, which means that the Vikings are currently back in the #7 spot in the NFC heading into Sunday Night Football.

Also, the Seattle loss means that the Rams have officially clinched a Wild Card spot, so that Rams/Niners game next week doesn’t mean anything to Minnesota anymore.


The Minnesota Vikings are still in the playoff picture in the NFC. Obviously, whether they remain a part of that picture or not depends on whether or not they beat the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football tonight, but while we’re waiting for that let’s take a look at what some of today’s results in the early window could, potentially, mean for the Vikings.

San Francisco 49ers 27, Washington Commanders 10

The Niners win, coupled with the Eagles’ loss, means that San Francisco has already wrapped up the #1 seed in the NFC and has nothing to play for in Week 18. That’s potentially bad news for the Vikings because the team that the Niners play next Sunday, the Los Angeles Rams, does have something to play for. A win for them officially wraps up a playoff spot, and if the Niners have nothing to play for that makes it significantly easier for the Rams as you would think San Francisco will be resting starters.

Dallas Cowboys 20, Detroit Lions 19

Because of the Eagles’ loss, the Cowboys now control their own destiny for the NFC East title and the #2 overall seed. If Dallas beats Washington in Week 18, they wrap up both of those things.

Should the Cowboys lay an egg against Washington for some reason, the Lions could still claim the #2 seed if they beat the Vikings in Week 18. This is also bad news for the Vikings in their quest for a playoff spot, since the Lions are going to have something to play for and likely won’t be resting anyone.

It would also seem to indicate that both Cowboys/Commanders and Vikings/Lions will be part of the 3:00 PM Central time window in Week 18 because there are playoff implications. Unless the league decides to put both of those games on Saturday for some reason. I guess stranger things have happened.

Also, after what the officials did to the Vikings against the Lions last week, miss me with anything about the last play of the Lions/Cowboys game.

Arizona Cardinals 35, Philadelphia Eagles 31

Doesn’t really affect the Vikings in any way, but it does guarantee that the Chicago Bears, via the Carolina Panthers, will have the #1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft as nobody will be able to catch Carolina for the league’s worst record after Arizona’s win.

Plus it’s a funny result. So there’s that.

The other game that Vikings fans need to keep an eye on is currently taking place, with the Pittsburgh Steelers having just taken a 7-0 lead over the Seattle Seahawks. If the Steelers come out of that one with a win, then if the Vikings beat the Packers this evening they’ll get into the playoffs with a win over the Lions in Week 18 and not need any additional help.

That’s how what we’ve seen so far in Week 17 affects the Vikings. Of course, if the Vikings don’t beat the Packers tonight, none of these things will ultimately mean anything. So, here’s hoping that happens for us. We hope you’ll join us for tonight’s game, as we’ll have discussion threads starting at around 6:15 PM Central time, an hour before kickoff on your local NBC station.