While the past two games have been a disappointment, the Vikings (6-6-1) know that a playoff spot is still right there for the taking.
With three games to play, Minnesota enters Week 15 in control of its destiny.
“Everybody understands the stakes of this particular game and the next couple of games,” Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said. “Our guys are pretty smart guys, they understand that. But I have a lot of confidence in this group, we have really good guys on this team and they understand where they’re at.”
Minnesota will take on the Miami Dolphins (7-6) on at noon Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Vikings lost on the road at New England in Week 13 and at Seattle on Monday.
The Dolphins stunned the Patriots last week with a touchdown on the game’s final play and boast a two-game winning streak.
Miami is pushing to get into the playoff picture. The Baltimore Ravens (7-6) sit ahead of them due to a tiebreaker in the AFC Wild Card race.
The Vikings would be the No. 6 seed in the NFC Playoffs if the postseason started this week.
Experts across the internet submitted their predictions to all NFL games ahead of the much anticipated Week 15 slate.
Let’s see what is expected in the Vikings game against quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins.
Vikings 30, Dolphins 23, Elliot Harrison, NFL.com
Another game that will cause repercussions to be felt throughout the potential playoff field. The Dolphins sit at 7-6, hoping that the Bucs upset the Ravens in Baltimore and that the Colts struggle against a top-level Cowboys defense. Miami must play well offensively in order to handle its own postseason trek effectively, which will be a stiff challenge against a defense that matches up with the Dolphins everywhere. On the other hand, if the Vikings, who are in a verifiable mosh pit on the playoff bubble, forget Dalvin Cook is on their team and throw every down, then Miami has a real chance. The Vikes have scored a grand total of 17 points the last two weeks, with their lone touchdown in Seattle coming in garbage time. Though they fared better last week against New England, the Phins feature the 29th-best run defense in the league.
Vikings 27, Miami 17, Bleacher Report Staff
The Dolphins beat the New England Patriots with one of the most buzzed-about plays of the year Sunday, while the Vikings offense spent most of Monday night's nationally televised loss to the Seattle Seahawks in a coma. But with their playoff position hanging by a thread, the more talented Vikes need this badly, while the Dolphins feel like a team destined to fall back to earth.
Minnesota has won three of its last four home games by at least seven points, while Miami has lost five consecutive road games by an average margin of 16.4 points.
"Upheaval in Minnesota with John DeFilippo's firing makes this a rather interesting matchup," Brent Sobleski said. "Zimmer wasn't happy with the offense's lopsided run-pass ratio. He wants to be more physical and balanced overall. That approach often leads to much tighter contests. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have scored 21 or more points in each of their last three contests. The Vikings have only done so once since their Week 10 bye."
Vikings 27, Dolphins 20, Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News
The Dolphins and Vikings both know a lot about alliterative miracles. But there will be no last-second improbability in this one as Minnesota uses Miami for a get-well game to improve its playoff push. The Vikings will get results running and passing on the Dolphins’ defense, while Ryan Tannehill will see everything cool down around him. No prime-time game and a weaker opponent are good things for Kirk Cousins.
Dolphins 24, Vikings 17, David Steele, Sporting News
The Dolphins are blessed by the football gods after that multi-lateral miracle last week against the Patriots. The Vikings are cursed by … who knows, anymore? Expectations? Money pressure ($84 million worth)? Bad fit, bad luck, bad officiating; all of it has conspired to fling the Vikings into the running for biggest disappointment of the year. The Dolphins’ defense should consider this a golden opportunity to keep a beaten offense down.
Vikings 24, Dolphins 23, Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
This is a big game for both teams. It will be interesting to see how the Vikings play on offense after firing coordinator John DeFilippo. They should be more run-heavy now, which could be the way to play the Dolphins this week. Miami is playing good football, though, and Ryan Tannehill is playing well. I think that shows up here and they hang around in this one, but the Vikings win it late.
Vikings 21, Dolphins 18, Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports
Can the Dolphins maintain momentum in the wake of the Miami Miracle? This game is enormous for both teams; the Dolphins are tied with the No. 6 Ravens but trail only on tiebreakers (along with the Colts and Titans). Their schedule isn't terrible — after the Vikings, they face the Jaguars and Bills -— but a loss would all but end their hopes of January football. The Vikings are coming off an embarrassing loss on "Monday Night Football." So embarrassing, in fact, that Mike Zimmer fired first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. Minnesota's offense is a mess, Kirk Cousins has stumbled through the last month or so, and the running game is nonexistent. And yet, Minnesota appears to be the only team interested in the NFC's sixth seed.
Vikings 23, Dolphins 14, Mike Florio, Smith Pro Football Talk
Lose this one, and it’s likely over for Minnesota.
Vikings 30, Dolphins 20, Michael David, Smith Pro Football Talk
The Vikings should have a few new wrinkles in their offense this week, and I expect them to make some big plays in the passing game to beat the Dolphins.
Vikings Pregame Win Percentage: 66.9 %, Average Score: Vikings 27.5, Dolphins 20.7, FOX Sports.com
WhatIfSports.com's NFL simulation engine generates predictions and box scores for every NFL game for FOX Sports for the coming week. The highly sophisticated algorithms simulate every play of every game to produce each team's likelihood to win. Each matchup is simulated 501 times.
Vikings Pregame Win Percentage: 72 %, FiveThirtyEight
FiveThirtyEight’s 2018 NFL forecast uses an Elo-based model to calculate each team’s chances of winning each game of the season.