Vikings playoff picture: Minnesota’s updated chances to make 2023 NFL playoffs as NFC wild-card

The NFC North title may be out of reach for the Vikings, but Minnesota is still in the NFL playoff picture entering Week 17.

That the Vikings are alive in the season’s final two weeks is impressive. They endured an 0-3 start to the season before storming back but then lost starting quarterback Kirk Cousins to a torn Achilles midway through the campaign.

Since then, the Vikings have started three different quarterbacks in their efforts to replace Cousins. They haven’t been as consistent without Cousins but have managed to remain in the thick of the NFC wild-card race nonetheless.

But as the Vikings prepare to play the Packers on “Sunday Night Football,” they have little room for error to remain in the wild-card race. A loss could prove to be a devastating blow for them while a win won’t necessarily push them back inside of the postseason bubble.

MORE: Live updated standings, clinching scenarios for NFL playoffs in Week 17

Here’s what to know about the Vikings’ playoff chances as they prepare for a do-or-die game against one of their arch-rivals.

Vikings playoff picture

The Vikings entered Week 17 as the NFC’s No. 8 seed with a record of 7-8. They currently are a game behind the 7-seed Seahawks and a game and a half behind the 6-seed Rams, who earned a one-point victory over the Giants in Week 17.

So, while Minnesota is within striking distance of a playoff berth, it will need some help to qualify for the postseason. The Vikings entered the week with a 31 percent chance of making the postseason, per NFL.com, but their playoff probability would increase to 49 percent with a victory.

The Vikings’ playoff chances are boosted by them having several tiebreakers over other teams in the postseason race. They have beaten the Falcons and Packers head-to-head and sport a conference record of 6-4. So, as long as they keep winning, they will remain a dangerous team behind the Seahawks and Rams.

However, with a loss against the Packers, the Vikings’ playoff probability would shrink to just 4 percent. So, in all likelihood, Minnesota will need to win out to have a legitimate chance to qualify for the postseason.

And even then, they would need one of the Rams or Seahawks to lose to make it into the postseason.

MORE: Why Lions’ 2-point conversion vs. Cowboys was wiped out in controversial fashion

Vikings remaining schedule

The Vikings have two divisional games on their schedule to close the season. They will host the Packers in Week 17 before they go on the road to play a Week 18 clash against the Lions.

Week Opponent Record
17 vs. Packers 7-8
18 at Lions 11-5

The Packers and Lions have a combined record of 18-13, good for a strength of schedule mark of .581. That’s good for the eighth-highest mark entering play on Sunday.

The Vikings vs. Packers game is expected to be a toss-up, but even if Minnesota wins, it will have a tough date with Detroit in the final week of the season.

Maybe the Lions will be positioned to rest their starters in that contest if they have no shot at the No. 1 seed. Still, it seems more likely that Dan Campbell would relish a chance to knock one of his divisional rivals out of postseason contention — if given the opportunity.

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