The Vikings and Saints will meet in New Orleans on Christmas Day.
Minnesota is 6-8 following back-to-back losses, while New Orleans is 10-4 … and also coming off two straight defeats.
Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. (CT) on Friday.
Here's a look at where the Vikings rank before Week 16:
No. 20 (down 3 spots): Dan Hanzus – NFL.com
The midseason resurgence is ancient history now. In truth, the Vikings were running out of juice earlier this month, even as they were still finding ways to win. But this team has been exposed as the middling outfit it is in back-to-back losses to the Bucs and Bears, setbacks that remove any realistic path to the postseason. Sunday's defeat was a microcosm game: The run defense was gashed by David Montgomery, the pass rush failed to make Mitch Trubisky uncomfortable, and Kirk Cousins too often had defenders invading his space. Throw in some curious in-game decision-making by the coaching staff, and it was the perfect stew for more disappointment in Minneapolis.
No. 16 (down 1 spot): Frank Schwab – Yahoo! Sports
The Vikings' playoff hopes aren't dead, but they'd need a miracle to get in after two straight losses. Minnesota will still want to finish strong because digging out of a 1-5 hole had it on the right trajectory, and it doesn't want to waste that momentum going into the offseason.
No. 19 (same spot): Pete Prisco – CBS Sports
So much for the playoffs. All the changes and the moves to more of a younger team have caught up with them.
No. 21 (down 1 spot): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report
The Minnesota Vikings are done. Or to be completely accurate, they're 97 percent done.
According to FiveThirtyEight, the Vikings have a 2-percent chance of advancing to the postseason after their disappointing loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday. All they have to do is win out. Plus the Arizona Cardinals have to lose their last two. Plus the Chicago Bears have to lose at least once.
No problem, right?
In reality, the Vikings are done, and they have been for some time. The offense is talented but inconsistent. The defense is consistently bad.
Look back on images from past games between the Vikings and the Saints.
No. 17 (down 1 spot): Conor Orr (The MMQB) – Sports Illustrated
The Vikings have been playing with fire all year, playing from behind. They got burned this time around.
No. 17 (down 2 spots): Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News
The Vikings had been asking for a bad close home loss after how they escaped the Panthers and Jaguars. The sad defensive and passing performance added to the disappointment of the Week 14 stumble in Tampa Bay. Looks like they will be joining the 49ers and Eagles in missing out on a playoff return.
No. 18 (down 2 spots): Courtney Cronin – ESPN.com
Note: ESPN looked at the most underrated star on each team. ESPN Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin went with right tackle Brian O'Neill as the pick for Minnesota.
The interior of the Vikings offensive line is where most of the team's pass-protection issues lie, not with the tackles. O'Neill has put together a strong season at right tackle and gives the Vikings long-term security at the position, with an extension likely coming up in the offseason. He has improved every year since he was drafted in 2018, ranking 26th of 83 tackles, according to Pro Football Focus, and he has been a bright spot for a group that has gone through an array of ups and downs this season.
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