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Monday Morning Mailbag: Playoff Picture + Packers Rematch

Posted Dec 18, 2017

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What needs to happen (besides us winning out) for the Vikings to get home-field advantage through the playoffs?
-- Rahul

Philadelphia would have to lose their two remaining games and the Vikings would have to win both games. That would give the Vikings 13 wins and it would leave Philadelphia with 12. According to my calculations, the Eagles would have the tie breaker over the Vikings by virtue of either conference record or common games. The other way for the Vikings to have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs is to secure the 2 seed, win in the divisional round and root for Philadelphia to lose their divisional round game. That would setup the Vikings to host the NFC title game as the 2 seed.

Great team win! We totally dominated this game. If I had to nitpick, I'd say the offense failed to capitalize on turnovers and short fields (only a hand full of times) and had some careless penalties. Other than that, it feels good to see we're truly dominant at home and can easily beat teams we’re better than.
-- Evan Beckford

I can hear those critiques. The Vikings settled for a field goal after taking over on downs on the Cincinnati 38 in the 2nd quarter and they actually had to punt after Terence Newman’s interception gave them possession on the Cincinnati 25; The Vikings were also penalized 11 times for 93 yards in the game and they left one red zone possession in four attempts on the table. It may be nitpicky, as Evan said, but it’s crunch time and the Vikings are trying to secure a first-round bye, so there’s every reason in the world to expect more.

No one remembers or cares if a team wins the division. If the Vikings don’t win the Super Bowl, the season is a failure.
-- Pete Tressel
@PeteTressel

The Super Bowl is the ultimate prize, no doubt. But winning a division is a step that makes winning the Super Bowl a touch more attainable because it ensures at least one home playoff game. Every team every training camp lists “Win the division” as a goal, and so when the team accomplishes that goal it is only appropriate that the team acknowledges the accomplishment before moving on to the bigger picture. And I do remember teams who win the division. The Vikings have won division titles in 2008, 2009, 2015 and now 2017 in my time with the club, and I distinctly remember each of those teams and the path they took to winning the division. There is no shame in taking pride in winning your division. It’s a hard thing to do and it’s an accomplishment that can pave the way for future accomplishments.

Can’t wait for the Vikings defense to take on Green Bay and show the football world that the Vikings are for real. I feel like we still have doubters. The great thing is that we have yet to play a complete football game. Our best football still ahead of us.
-- John McGuire
Lone Pine, CA

The Vikings don’t need to do anything on Saturday night to validate the notion they are for real. Winning 11 of your first 13 games is enough to let the rest of the League know you are for real. Remember, there are always doubters out there. Don't focus on that. Enjoy your football team and the season it’s having.

I love this team. A dominating defense and a balanced offense. What a difference a healthier offensive line means.
-- Gerald Goblirsch

The Vikings weren’t 100% healthy on Sunday because they were missing left tackle Riley Reiff. But they did get Pat Elflein back at center and Mike Remmers back at right tackle, which allowed Rashod Hill to swing over to left tackle in Reiff’s stead. The offensive line was solid on Sunday and Gerald is correct that a mostly healthy offensive line makes all the difference in the world for the Vikings.