The Vikings missed a chance in Week 14 to solidify their playoff position and now face an uphill climb to the postseason.
Minnesota hosts Chicago on Sunday in a battle of 6-7 teams that still have playoff aspirations.
Here's a look at where the Vikings rank before Week 15:
No. 17 (down 1 spot): Dan Hanzus – NFL.com
The Curse Of The Viking Kicker is more powerful than any man who tries to break it. The latest victim was Dan Bailey, who missed all four of his attempts (one PAT, three field goals) in a damaging 26-14 loss to the Buccaneers. Bailey's meltdown was just one element of a deeply frustrating game for Minnesota, which dominated on the ground in the first quarter but was undone by ill-timed penalties and the aforementioned special teams collapse. The Vikes outgained the Bucs in total yardage and held the ball for nearly 40 minutes of game time, yet now find themselves on the outside looking in with three weeks to go in the NFC Wild Card race.
No. 15 (same spot): Frank Schwab – Yahoo! Sports
Between Dan Bailey missing all four kicks he tried and a baffling pass interference call on a Hail Mary sunk the Vikings. They had a shot to win if Bailey could make a kick and the officials hadn't handed the Bucs a free field goal. Instead, they probably need to win out to be in the playoff mix, and even that might not be enough.
No. 19 (down 1 spot): Pete Prisco – CBS Sports
So much for the idea they will make the playoffs. They are done. The defense needs a lot of help.
No. 20 (down 1 spot): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report
The Minnesota Vikings came into Week 14 as a playoff team. They did not leave it that way.
After starting the season 1-5, the Vikings peeled off five wins in six games to turn their season around. But most of those wins came against teams that entered Week 14 with sub-.500 records. In fact, the Vikings have only one win all season long against a team with more wins than losses.
Minnesota is still sitting on one win against a "good" team following its 26-14 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
The Vikings outgained the Buccaneers 335-303. But whether it was miscues, penalties or an abysmal day for kicker Dan Bailey, they couldn't take full advantage of the opportunities they were afforded.
View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of January 4, 2021.
No. 16 (up 3 spots): Conor Orr (The MMQB) – Sports Illustrated
The Vikings had surged back into the playoff picture by winning five of their previous six games, but the loss in Tampa Bay set them back in their quest to salvage their season. Dan Bailey's three missed field goals and one errant extra point cost them 10 points.
No. 15 (up 2 spots): Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News
The Vikings were let down by their kicking game, but they also can't make up enough for their defensive deficiencies with an injury-riddled and rebuilding group. The playoffs can still be reached, but they're a shell of the division-round advancers from 2019.
No. 16 (up 1 spot): Courtney Cronin – ESPN.com
Note: ESPN looked at team rankings in all three phases. ESPN has the Vikings ranked 13th in offense, 18th on defense and 31st in special teams.
Given how the Vikings defense started the season, with multiple injuries and a number of rookies called on early, its current FPI ranking is remarkable. The offense has been moving the ball efficiently behind Dalvin Cook and a plethora of receiving options, but special-teams issues have snowballed into a full-blown crisis. The Vikings lost to the Bucs on Sunday in large part because of Dan Bailey's four missed kicks that left 10 points on the table. Minnesota can't afford for its kicking issues to continue after its playoff chances took a massive hit against Tampa Bay. Another mistake-laden loss would likely derail the Vikings playoff hopes.
No. 15 (down 1 spot): Mike Florio – Pro Football Talk
And now they'll beat the Bears and then the Saints and then have a chance to get into the playoffs by beating the Lions in Week 17 . . . and lose.
Under Center with Kirk Cousins
Vikings QB Kirk Cousins is back again to team up with legendary sports anchor Mark Rosen to deliver unique content via "Under Center with Kirk Cousins." The series features conversations with current Vikings players, prominent Minnesotans and guests with personal connections to Kirk. Other segments will focus on game reaction with sound from press conferences and the locker room. Cousins and Rosen will also look ahead to the next week's matchup.