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Vikings could benefit greatly if NFL expands playoffs to 14 teams

Minnesota has a knack for finishing seventh in the NFC.
Author:
Riley Reiff

How would an expansion of the NFL playoffs from 12 to 14 teams affect the Vikings? Every now and again the Vikings are among the top teams in the NFC, but more frequently they're in the wild-card race as a fringe-playoff team. 

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the NFL and NFL Players' Union are working to settle a new collective bargaining agreement that would expand the playoffs to 14 teams beginning next season. 

It would mean seven teams from each conference make it, with only the top team from the NFC and AFC receiving a first-round bye. That would mean six games on wild-card weekend. 

Since 2002, the Vikings have finished seventh in the NFC four times. That's four playoff appearances that would've happened had the 7-team rule been in place. 

  • 2019: Rams (9-7), Steelers (8-8)
  • 2018: Vikings (8-7-1), Steelers (9-6-1)
  • 2017: Lions (9-7), Ravens (9-7)
  • 2016: Bucs (9-7), Titans (9-7)
  • 2015: Falcons (8-8), Falcons (10-6)
  • 2014: Eagles (10-6), Texans (9-7)
  • 2013: Cardinals (10-6), Steelers (8-8)
  • 2012: Bears (10-6), Steelers (8-8)
  • 2011: Bears (8-8), Titans (9-7)
  • 2010: Giants (10-6), Chargers (9-7)
  • 2009: Falcons (9-7), Texans (9-7)
  • 2008: Bucs (9-7), Patriots (11-5)
  • 2007: Vikings (8-8), Browns (10-6)
  • 2006: Packers (8-8), Broncos (9-7)
  • 2005: Vikings (9-7), Chiefs (10-6)
  • 2004: Saints (8-8), Jaguars (9-7)
  • 2003: Vikings (9-7), Dolphins (10-6)
  • 2002: Saints (9-7), Broncos (9-7)

Not only would the Vikings have reached the playoffs four times as the first team out of the playoff picture, their playoff opponents and status would've changed in both 2017 and 2009 when they earned the No. 2 seed. 

  • In 2018, the Vikings would've snuck into the playoffs and faced the second-seeded Rams. 
  • In 2017, the Vikings had the No. 2 seed and instead of having a first-round bye they would've hosted the 9-7 Detroit Lions, who would've made it as the 7 seed. 
  • In 2009, the Vikings had the No. 2 seed and instead of a having a first-round bye they would've hosted the 9-7 Atlanta Falcons. 
  • In 2007, the Vikings would've snuck into the playoffs at 8-8 and faced the second-seeded Packers in the first round. 
  • In 2005, the Vikings would've snuck into the playoffs at 9-7 and faced the second-seeded Bears. 
  • In 2003, the Vikings would've snuck into the playoffs at 8-8 and faced the second-seeded Rams. 

Schefter also reported that the new collective bargaining agreement could feature a 17-game regular season and a reduced preseason of only three games. Those changes wouldn't be implemented until 2021 at the earliest. 

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