The Vikings improved to 10-4 with their convincing win over the Chargers in Week 15. They are closer to securing the final playoff spot in the NFC.
With Sunday’s results, the Packers, 49ers, Seahawks officially joined the South Division Saints champion as four of the conference’s six teams. The fifth point (and seed # 4) belongs to the NFC East winner, either the Cowboys or the Eagles.
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That leaves the Vikings struggling for the sixth and final point. They can do it in one of two ways: a wild card trolley or an NFC North title.
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With the two weeks remaining in the regular season, here’s a look at each route:
How the Vikings can enter as a wild card
The Vikings have a two-game lead over the Rams (8-6) going into Week 16. That means the Vikings will be in the playoffs whether they fight the Packers at home week 16 or the Bears at home week 17 He can also get into the playoffs if the Rams lose to the 49ers on the road on Week 16 or the Cardinals at home on Week 17.
Should the Vikings finish 0-2 and the Rams finish 2-0, the Rams will have the tiebreaker with a better record (8-4) than the Vikings (7-5).
How Vikings Can Go From Seed No. 6 in Seed No. 5
Getting the top wild card spot in the NFC would be nice for the Vikings. That means either the Cowboys or the Eagles would play on the road, but these are two teams that beat during the regular season.
The number 5 now belongs to the 49ers (11-3). Should the Vikings win and the 49ers lose to 11-5, the Vikings then 12-4 could jump up to No. 5. Should the Vikings and 49ers end up with identical records as wild card teams The Vikings can reach No. 5 if they can go 2-0 while the 49ers beat the Rams but lose to the Seahawks.
If the 49ers win the NFC West by outscoring the Rams and Seahawks with the Seahawks and Vikings finishing 12-4, the Vikings will be lucky there, having lost to Seattle on Week 13.
How the Vikings can win the NFC North
The Vikings play their first Packers (11-3) home game Monday night in Week 16. If the Vikings defeat the Packers, both teams will be 11-4.
The problem for the Vikings is that they would improve their division record to only 3-2, while the Packers would fall to 4-1. This means that in this scenario, the Packers would hold the first tiebreaker in Week 17 as they travel to the Low Lions (3-10-1), while the Vikings host the Bears (7-7), who lost to Chicago Week 4.
The Packers only have to beat the Vikings or the Lions to get the division. The Vikings need to beat the Packers and the Bears and need help from the Lions. So the Bears may have already played a spoiler with the Vikings before meeting the season finale.