EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The regular-season finale might as well count as double for the Vikings.
Minnesota wraps up the 2017 slate with a noon (CT) home game against the Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium.
A Vikings win would ensure the organization the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs … and an all-important first-round bye.
"This is the first time in my career where you can officially say this game counts as more than one," said Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph. "Every week we say it's one win, it's one loss … this week counts as two wins. If we can go out and get a win, it guarantees us that we get next week off."
Added Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs: "It's definitely motivating. That's what you want, as far as a team. Get everybody healthy. You want a bye, but you've got to earn the right. We've got to focus on Chicago moving forward and do everything we can to get that W."
There are multiple scenarios in which Minnesota can get the first-round bye and earn an extra week off in the postseason.
The most simplistic one is defeating the Bears on Sunday. But Minnesota can also get the No. 2 seed with wins by New Orleans or Los Angeles, or a Carolina loss.
Those inside Winter Park said it's better for the Vikings to win their noon (CT) kickoff and not have to watch later to see what happens in the afternoon games.
"We need to win. This isn't about momentum. We need to win," said Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer. "It's important to get a home game, to get a bye I mean. If you can get a bye, it's like winning two games in one day. That's pretty huge, so we need to go out and win."
Added Rudolph: "All we have to worry about is taking care of our own business. We don't want to get any help from anyone, we want to go out and take care of our own business, play well and continue to ride this momentum in the playoffs. The last thing you want to do is limp into the playoffs coming off of a loss. We want to go out and play well and end the season the right way."
Yet even with some Vikings players dealing with bumps and bruises, players nobody is going to coast into the week thinking they can take some time off.
If the Vikings win and get the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye, there will certainly be time for rest.
"I think that sums up the importance of this week," Rudolph said. "You go out and win this week and we get to sit back and watch everyone play next week while we essentially win again, then someone has to come here in the Divisional round."
Added Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen: "This is a playoff game for us. It is going to be a little different intensity just because we're playing for that first-round bye, and that's huge, just to get some guys healthy and just get a week to watch football and get ready for the second round. It's a big week for us, and we've talked about it already, how important it is, and that this win counts as two."