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NFC Playoff Picture: Vikings Status After Week 17

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings need a combination of four outcomes in Week 18 to make the playoffs.

First and foremost, Minnesota (7-9) needs to defeat NFC North Champion Detroit (11-5), which is currently the No. 3 seed in the conference.

Then, the Vikings need the following:

Arizona win against Seattle


Chicago win at Green Bay


Atlanta win at New Orleans OR Carolina win against Tampa Bay

Since the NFL expanded the playoffs in 2020 to include seven teams in each conference, No. 2 seeds will now play on Wild Card Weekend and host No. 7 seeds.

Here's a look at the current NFC playoff picture — with conference standings and a status update — as we head into Week 18.

  1. San Francisco 49ers (12-4)

Remaining Schedule

1/7/24 Rams (9-7)

Status: The 49ers bounced back from their loss to the Ravens in Week 16 with a 27-10 win at the Commanders to clinch the top seed in the NFC and the all-important first-round bye.

  1. Dallas Cowboys (11-5)

Remaining Schedule

1/7/24 @ Commanders (4-12)

Status: Dallas emerged from controversy late in Saturday's game against Detroit as the only team to win all its 2023 home games. A victory will clinch the NFC East and the No. 2 seed.

  1. Detroit Lions (11-5)

Remaining Schedule

1/7/24 Vikings (7-9)

Status: Detroit is guaranteed to host a home playoff game on Wild Card Weekend but needs a win and losses by Dallas and Philadelphia to claim the No. 2 seed. Dan Campbell's already feisty squad is likely to be extra riled up after Week 17's narrow loss to the Cowboys.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8)

Remaining Schedule

1/7/24 @ Panthers (2-14)

Status: Tampa Bay's 23-13 home loss to New Orleans last week pushed the opportunity to claim the NFC South to the final week of the regular season.

The Buccaneers will win the NFC South with one of the following:

Bucs win OR

Bucs tie AND Saints loss or tie

The Buccaneers will secure the Wild Card with the following combination:

Bucs tie AND Seahawks loss AND Packers loss or tie

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)

Remaining Schedule

1/7/24 @ Giants (5-11)

Status: The Eagles, who began December with a 10-1 record, have clinched a playoff spot already but can also win the NFC East with a win and a Cowboys loss or tie. If Philadelphia ties on Sunday and Dallas loses, then the Eagles also will claim the NFC East.

  1. Los Angeles Rams (9-7)

Remaining Schedule

1/7/24 @ 49ers (12-4)

Status: The Rams have won six of seven games and clinched a playoff berth last week when the Seahawks lost. Los Angeles is locked in as the No. 6 seed, regardless of what happens in Week 18.

  1. Green Bay Packers (8-8)

Remaining Schedule

1/7/24 Bears (7-9)

Status: Green Bay improved to 4-5 on the road this season and vaulted up to the No. 7 spot by defeating Minnesota to close out the 2023 calendar year. It's simple (win and in) or complicated (the following five other scenarios will put the Pack in the playoffs):

Packers tie AND Seahawks loss or tie AND Saints loss or tie OR

Packers tie AND Seahawks loss AND Bucs loss OR

Packers tie AND Seahawks tie AND Bucs loss or tie OR

Vikings loss or tie AND Seahawks loss AND TB loss OR

Vikings loss or tie AND Seahawks loss AND Saints loss

  1. Seattle Seahawks (8-8)

Remaining Schedule

1/7/24 @ Cardinals (4-12)

Status: Seattle was unable to rally for a third consecutive week in a home loss to Pittsburgh. To make the postseason, the Seahawks now need one of the following scenarios to play out:

Seahawks win AND Packers loss or tie OR

Seahawks tie AND Packers loss AND Bucs loss or tie OR

Seahawks tie AND Packers loss AND Saints loss or tie

  1. New Orleans Saints (8-8)

Remaining Schedule

1/7/24 Falcons (7-9)

Status: The Saints snapped a four-game win streak by the Bucs, creating scenarios to win the NFC South or snatch the final playoff berth.

The Saints can win the NFC South with one of the following combinations:

Saints win AND Bucs loss or tie OR

Saints tie AND Bucs loss

  1. Minnesota Vikings (7-9)

Remaining Schedule

1/7/24 @ Lions (11-5)

Status: A season of what-ifs is concluding with the Vikings possibly finishing in second, third or fourth place in the NFC North.

A Vikings win AND a Bears win positions Minnesota in second.

A Vikings tie or loss AND a Packers win positions Minnesota in third; a Vikings tie AND a tie between the Packers and Bears positions Minnesota in third.

A Vikings loss AND a Bears win positions Minnesota in fourth.

  1. Chicago Bears (7-9)

Remaining Schedule

1/7/24 @ Packers (8-8)

Status: Chicago has won four of six games and snapped a divisional losing streak at Minnesota in Week 12. Now the Bears, who are already eliminated from the postseason, will try to keep Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur from improving to 10-0 in the series.

  1. Atlanta Falcons (7-9)

Remaining Schedule

1/7/24 @ Saints (8-8)

Status: The Falcons defeated the Saints 24-15 in Week 12 and will try to secure the sweep.

Atlanta can clinch the NFC South with a win AND a Bucs loss, but the Falcons have no other path to the playoffs.

  1. New York Giants (5-11)

Remaining Schedule

1/7/24 Eagles (11-5)

Status: The Giants have lost at least three games on three occasions this season and will try to prevent a second four-game losing streak while facing the Eagles for the second time in three weeks.

  1. Washington Commanders (4-12)

Remaining Schedule

1/7/24 Cowboys (11-5)

Status: The Commanders are 1-6 in home games this season and have lost seven consecutive games.

  1. Arizona Cardinals (4-12)

Remaining Schedule

1/7/24 Seahawks (8-8)

Status: The Cardinals defeated the Eagles and Cowboys this season but have gone 0-5 in their own division.

  1. Carolina Panthers (2-14)

Remaining Schedule

1/7/24 Buccaneers (8-8)

Status: Carolina went 0-9 on the road this season and has already secured the No. 1 pick, which belongs to Chicago because of last year's trade.