After a long, painful season full of close losses and nail-biter wins, the Minnesota Vikings are still in the playoff mix. The results of each of the four remaining games will have massive impacts on their odds of getting into the postseason.

The way things stand going into their Monday Night matchup against Chicago, the Vikings are on the outside, looking in. The Packers clenched the NFC North and the first playoff spot in the NFC with their close win over Baltimore on Sunday. They are the favorite to claim the sole bye and homefield advantage through the playoffs.

Ahead of the Vikings, here are the rest of the teams in the playoff mix:

  • Dallas Cowboys: 2nd seed right now, leading the NFC East
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3rd seed right now, leading the NFC South
  • Arizona Cardinals: 4th seed right now, leading the NFC West
  • LA Rams: 5th seed right now, with the first Wild Card slot
  • San Francisco 49ers: 6th seed right now, with the second Wild Card slot
  • New Orleans Saints: 7th seed right now, with the third Wild Card slot
  • Washington Football Team: Ahead of the Vikings in the "in the hunt" rankings, but currently outside of the playoff field

There are still 4 games to be played in Week 15, with two on Monday and two on Tuesday (due to COVID postponements). If the Vikings can win at Solder Field in Chicago on Monday night, they will jump into the 7th seed position, replacing the Saints. If the Eagles can beat Washington on Tuesday, the Vikings will hold onto the 7th seed position coming out of week 15.

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The Vikings have a, uh, "history" when it comes to both primetime games and games in Chicago. Yes, there are exceptions to that rule, but generally that's the overall feel a lot of fans are going into tonight's game with/ While that history is what it is, Minnesota's need to overcome that historical tendency is pretty crucial.

The folks at FiveThirtyEight, with their NFL Playoffs predictor, paint a pretty clear picture with the result of tonight's game.

If they Vikings win in Chicago, their playoff chances go from 21% going into the game to 32%. If they lose, those chances sink from 22% to 5%. Yikes. A tie wouldn't do the team too many favors either, sinking their playoff odds to 12%. In none of these instances are they eliminated, but the road gets an awful lot more difficult.

Facing a home date with the Rams and then a road game at Lambeau to take on the Packers in the next two weeks and a regular season finale at US Bank Stadium against the Bears, each of those remaining games take on a high level of importance too. But dropping one in Chicago would obviously not help the Vikings' case to make the playoffs.

Realistically, Minnesota needs to win-out to avoid a lot of scoreboard watching as the season concludes; and that is going to be tough (albeit, not impossible) with their remaining opponents. But that all starts tonight with a date in Chicago. So, let's see what Kirk, Zim, and the rest of the Purple can make happen on Monday Night Football.

You can hear the game on the radio, by the way, on the Northland FAN 106.5 FM/560 AM and on B105.

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