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The playoff picture: Vikings don't control their own destiny

The Vikings have a fairly easy remaining schedule but they're still 60 percent locks to miss the playoffs.
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It's that line former NFL Coach Jim Mora made famous, when he said, "playoffs, what playoffs?!" Now, the real possibility exists that playoff football will not happen this season for the Vikings.

If the NFL playoffs started now, the reigning North division champion Vikings would be on the outside looking in.

As it stands, NFC locks right now are division leaders Dallas, Detroit, Seattle and Atlanta. The next two for wild card positioning are the NY Giants and Washington with the Vikings and Tampa Bay out of the picture and needing help.

Minnesota's easiest path to the playoffs is to win the North, but after being swept by the Lions the Vikings need to finish ahead of Detroit to win the division. If they get to the playoffs as a wild card team they'll have to hope the Giants (8-3), Redskins (6-4-1), Buccaneers (6-5), Saints (5-6), Packers (5-6) and Eagles (5-6) all keep losing.

The good news is that of all of those teams the Vikings have the second-easiest remaining schedule. Only the Redskins play a softer final five games.

  • Vikings remaining schedule: vs. Cowboys, at Jaguars, vs. Colts, at Packers, vs. Bears
  • Vikings opponents combined record: 24-31

Minnesota vs. Giants

If it comes down to the Vikings and Giants for a wild card, Minnesota owns the tiebreaker due to their head-to-head win in Week 3. But the Vikings are already two games behind New York.

  • Giants remaining schedule: at Steelers, vs. Cowboys, vs. Lions, at Eagles, at Redskins
  • Giants opponents combined record: 34-19-1

Minnesota vs. Redskins

If it comes down to the Vikings and Redskins for a wild card, Washington owns the tiebreaker due to their win over the Vikings.

  • Redskins remaining schedule: at Cardinals, at Eagles, vs. Panthers, at Bears, vs. Giants
  • Redskins opponents combined record: 23-31-1

Minnesota vs. Buccaneers

If it comes down to the Vikings and Buccaneers, Tampa Bay currently owns the tiebreaker due to a better conference record.

  • Buccaneers remaining schedule: at Chargers, vs. Saints, at Cowboys, at Saints, vs. Panthers
  • Buccaneers opponents combined record: 29-26

Minnesota vs. Saints

They don't meet in the regular season so the first tiebreaker, if it comes to it, is conference record. The Saints are currently 4-3 against NFC teams and the Vikings are 4-5.

  • Saints remaining schedule: vs. Lions, at Buccaneers, at Cardinals, vs. Buccaneers, at Falcons
  • Saints opponents combined record: 30-23-1

Minnesota vs. Packers

The Vikings own the tiebreaker thanks to their 17-14 win over Green Bay in Week 2, but the two play again in Week 16.

  • Packers remaining schedule: vs. Texans, vs. Seahawks, at Bears, vs. Vikings, at Lions
  • Packers opponents combined record: 28-26-1

Minnesota vs. Eagles

The Eagles own the tiebreaker due to their head-to-head win over the Vikings.

  • Eagles remaining schedule: at Bengals, vs. Redskins, at Ravens, vs. Giants, vs. Cowboys
  • Eagles opponents combined record: 33-20-2

According to PlayoffStatus.com, the Vikings currently have a 60 percent chance to miss the playoffs.

The scary fact is that if the Vikings don't win the division and the Giants eat up one of the wild card spots, the Vikings will need to finish ahead of the Redskins to make the playoffs. And the Redskins are the only team with a softer remaining schedule and they own the tiebreaker over Minnesota.

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