Skip to main content

If Vikings don't win division, getting 1st wild card is huge

If the Vikings don't win the division, it would do them well to get the 1st wild card.
Ben Gedeon

If the playoffs started this week, the Vikings and Saints would be writing the latest chapter in what's developing into a tremendous rivalry as Minnesota would go on the road as the second NFC wild card.

Entering Week 12, the NFC playoff picture is as follows: 

  1. 49ers (9-1) - NFC West champ
  2. Saints (8-2) - NFC South champ
  3. Packers (8-2) - NFC North champ
  4. Cowboys (6-4) - NFC East champ
  5. Seahawks (8-2) - 1st wild card
  6. Vikings (8-3) - 2nd wild card

The only team that appears to be a realistic threat to stealing a wild card spot are the Rams (6-4), who sit two wins behind the Vikings. 

Most years, the playoff picture changes a lot over the final six weeks, but that might not be the case this season other than close division races between the 49ers and Seahawks, Cowboys and Eagles, and Packers and Vikings. 

Key games in Week 12

  • Carolina at New Orleans (8-2)
  • Seattle (8-2) at Philadelphia (5-5)
  • Dallas (6-4) at New England (9-1)
  • Green Bay (8-2) at San Francisco (9-1)

If the Packers win they'll enter Week 13 with a one-game lead in the NFC North, in addition to holding the head-to-head tiebreaker because of their Week 2 win over the Vikings, and a better record against divisional opponents. 

If the Packers lose, they'll still own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Vikings, but their records would be identical at 8-3 entering December. 

The bad news for the Vikings is that Green Bay's December schedule looks like a cake walk outside of their Week 16 game at U.S. Bank Stadium. 

  • Week 13: Packers at Giants
  • Week 14: Packers vs. Washington
  • Week 15: Packers vs. Bears
  • Week 16: Packers at Vikings
  • Week 17: Packers at Lions

If Green Bay loses at San Fran, they'll still be a favorites to beat the Giants, Washington, Bears and Lions, giving them solid odds to finish with 12+ wins. That puts a ton of pressure on the Vikings to win 4-5 of their remaining games: Seahawks (road), Lions (home), Chargers (road), Packers (home), Bears (home). 

According to FiveThirtyEight's playoff probabilities, the Vikings have a 91% chance to make the playoffs but only a 37% chance to win the division. Their division title chances jump to 45% if the 49ers beat the Packers, which could lead to a big-time border battle two days before Christmas. 

In reality, the Vikings are most likely to enter the playoffs as a wild card team, meaning they'll be on the road against the the No. 3 or No. 4 seed. 

If Minnesota gets the 1st wild card, they'd likely head to Dallas or Philly because the NFC East is weakest and likely destined to claim the No. 4 seed. If the Vikings get the 2nd wild card, the odds favor them hitting the road for a playoff game in Green Bay, New Orleans, Seattle or San Francisco. 

Having already beaten Dallas and Philly, the 1st wild card is definitely a preferred playoff position if the Vikings can't win the division. 

Next Up

money hundred dollar bills

Chanhassen psychologist pleads guilty to $550K billing fraud

Charles Howard Jorenby, 57, pleaded guilty to one count of healthcare fraud in U.S. District Court late last month.

police lights squad car

Charges: Coon Rapids man had 25 pounds of cocaine from Mexico

Luis Javier Avila-Lopez, 38, was arrested after law enforcement seized the cocaine earlier this year.

Screen Shot 2022-12-04 at 9.16.52 AM

Responding to Twitter release, former Minnesota GOP candidate calls for 'bullets'

It was in response to a thread on Twitter concerning the social media giant's moderation efforts regarding political issues.


NWS: 'Safe to say' more active weather is ahead

Three rounds of light snow around Minnesota before more substantial precipitation becomes a possibility.


Hero dad who stopped carjacker who fled with his kids identified

A GoFundMe has been set up to support Derek Gotchie and his family following the incident.

Screen Shot 2022-12-03 at 4.35.18 PM

Watch: New London-Spicer wins 3A championship on incredible walk-off TD

New London-Spicer defeated the unbeaten Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in remarkable circumstances.


Suspect in woman's killing in Moorhead is arrested

James Kollie Jr. was arrested Friday evening.

Jennifer Carnahan

Former chair Jennifer Carnahan sues Minnesota GOP, which is suing her back

Carnahan stepped down under a cloud of controversy in August 2021.

Minneapolis Fire Department

One injured after leaping from burning vacant building in Minneapolis

Authorities say the building is known to be used by squatters.


Head-on crash leaves two drivers dead in southeastern Minnesota

The crash happened in Houston County just before 4 p.m. Friday.


Harrison Smith

Better shot to win the NFC North: Packers or Vikings?

Will it take 12+ wins to claim the division crown?

Kirk Cousins

How the Vikings can get a top-3 seed in the NFC playoffs

The No. 1 is still within reach, but it would take a miracle.

Linval Joseph

Ideal playoff opponent for Vikings if they get the No. 6 seed

Would your rather the Vikings face the 49ers, Packers, Seahawks or Saints?

Danielle Hunter

How the Vikings can get the 2, 3 or 5 seed in the playoffs

If they Vikings win out, the worst they can get is the No. 5 seed.

Harrison Smith

Predicting where the Vikings will finish in the playoff race

There could be a bunch of teams that finish with 12 wins.

Stefon Diggs

Analyzing where the Vikings could finish in the playoff race

Suddenly, the Rams are breathing down the Vikings' neck.

Vikes' best shot at playoffs is as a wild card team

The division is still up for grabs, but Sunday's loss to the Bears hurt.

Justin Jefferson

And just like that the Vikings have a spot in the playoff race

If the playoffs started today, the Vikings would face the Packers in the first round.