MINNEAPOLIS - Until Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings controlled their own destiny when it came to the NFC Playoffs.
Beat the Bears, Saints and Lions, and you’re in the postseason for the fourth time in seven seasons under Mike Zimmer. Then Sunday happened. The Vikings gave up nearly 400 yards, David Montgomery pounded the Minnesota defense for 146 yards and two touchdowns.
The Vikings lost 33-27, and fell to 6-8 with two games to play. Their chances at the playoffs, now calculated at four percent, are all but over.
So now what? For starters, the Vikings have to win Friday at New Orleans and Jan. 3 at the Lions. But that’s not enough. Now, they need some help. In the final two weeks, they have to find a way to jump past the Bears and Cardinals.
The Bears remaining schedule? At the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday, and finishing the regular season hosting the Packers. The Cardinals’ remaining schedule? Hosting the 49ers next Saturday, and finishing at the L.A. Rams.
The Vikings need to win out, they need the Cardinals to lose out and the Bears to split their final two games. Lose at New Orleans Friday afternoon, and it’s officially over as the Vikings can’t finish any better than 7-9, and no teams ahead of them can fall to that record.
The odds are against the Vikings to make the playoffs, which will lead to plenty of offseason questions with the coaching staff for 2021 and who among the veterans will and won’t be back. Regardless of how the last two weeks end up, it’s fair to think things will look at lot different next season.