6 clinching scenarios the Vikings could face if they win or lose at Detroit

It's pure madness. Prepare your brain for pain.
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Kirk Cousins

Two weeks remain in the NFL's regular season and the Vikings have full control of their playoff future, but that control could be erased with a loss at Detroit on Sunday. 

The Vikings smoked the Lions 24-9 at U.S. Bank Stadium earlier this season, sacking quarterback Matthew Stafford a franchise record 10 times. Detroit (5-9) is out of playoff contention, but they're tough at Ford Field where they've already beaten the Patriots, Packers and Panthers while losing competitive games to the Rams and Bears. 

A loss on Sunday could be devastating for the Vikings, who currently hold the slightest of leads for the second wild card in the NFC playoff race. Philadelphia and Washington are just percentage points behind, and a win for either of them coupled with a Vikings loss would vault them ahead of Minnesota entering Week 17. 

The Vikings can clinch a playoff spot with a win coupled with losses or ties by both Philadelphia and Washington. 

NOTE: Everything gets really complicated if Dallas loses out, so let's assume they beat the Bucs or Giants and clinch the NFC East. Carolina is also still alive, but with six straight losses and a 6-8 record with games against Atlanta and New Orleans remaining, we're going to count them out just to simplify the craziness. We'll adjust this next week if things change. 

That leaves the Vikings, Eagles, Redskins and Seahawks fighting for the two wild cards.

Scenario 1: Vikings win, Eagles win, Redskins win, Seahawks win

  1. Seahawks (9-6)
  2. Vikings (8-6-1)
  3. Eagles (8-7)
  4. Redskins (8-7)

If this happens, the Seahawks (who host the Chiefs Sunday) would control the top wild-card spot and the Vikings would be 8-6-1, still in control of the second wild card. The Eagles and Redskins would be 8-7, setting up a crazy Week 17 in which the Vikings would need to beat the Bears to finish 9-6-1 and clinch. 

A Vikings loss to the Bears would drop them to 8-7-1, and the winner of the Eagles-Redskins game would be 9-7 to claim a wild card along with Seattle. Minnesota would get in if they finish 8-7-1 and Philly and Washington tie in Week 17. 

Scenario 2: Vikings lose, Eagles win, Redskins win, Seahawks win

  1. Seahawks (9-6)
  2. Eagles (8-7)
  3. Redskins (8-7)
  4. Vikings (7-7-1)

The only way the Vikings could get in under this scenario would by beating the Bears and having the Eagles and Redskins tie in Week 17. 

Scenario 3: Vikings lose, Eagles lose, Redskins win, Seahawks win

  1. Seahawks (9-6)
  2. Redskins (8-7)
  3. Vikings (7-7-1)
  4. Eagles (7-8)

The only ways the Vikings could get in would be by beating the Bears in Week 17 coupled with an Eagles win over the Redskins, or a Vikings win plus a tie between the Eagles and Redskins. 

Scenario 4: Vikings lose, Eagles win, Redskins lose, Seahawks win

  1. Seahawks (9-6)
  2. Eagles (8-7)
  3. Vikings (7-7-1)
  4. Redskins (7-8)

The only ways in in this scenario would be for the Vikings to beat the Bears and have the Redskins lose or tie against the Eagles. 

Scenario 5: Vikings lose, Eagles lose, Redskins lose, Seahawks lose

  1. Seahawks (8-7)
  2. Vikings (7-7-1)
  3. Eagles (7-8)
  4. Redskins (7-8)

In this scenario, Minnesota could clinch with a win over Chicago. They would also get in with a loss to Chicago and a tie between the Eagles and Redskins. 

The ideal scenario: Vikings win, everyone else loses

  1. Vikings (8-6-1)
  2. Seahawks (8-7)
  3. Eagles (7-8)
  4. Redskins (7-8)

Ideally, the Vikings will beat the Lions to get to 8-6-1 while the Eagles (v. Texans), Redskins (@Titans) and Seahawks (v. Chiefs) all lose, which is very possible given their opponents.

If that happens, Minnesota would enter Week 17 having clinched a playoff spot and in control of the top wild-card position. 

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