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Week 17 Wish List for Vikings Positioning in NFC Playoff Scenarios

Not much on the Vikings Week 16 wish list came to fruition last week, but Minnesota (7-8) remains in contention for a berth in the NFC Playoffs if a little bit of help comes along the way.

Here's a rundown of what best helps the Vikings chances.

  1. Win the Border Battle

Even though Minnesota's game will be the final contest of Week 17, winning the 127th Border Battle against the Packers (7-8) is the top priority this weekend.

Doing so will even the Vikings record with one game to play and guarantee the Packers will finish below .500.

The Vikings are currently eighth in the NFC standings, one spot away from making the postseason, and the Packers are 10th because of tiebreakers.

Minnesota has fallen from sixth to seventh in the standings with consecutive losses.

Next Gen Stats gives the Vikings a 30-percent chance of making the playoffs, a little higher than the Packers (26 percent). A win moves Minnesota's chances to 50 percent, but a loss drops the mark to 4 percent.

If Green Bay wins, NGS has the playoff probability jumping to 55 percent but falling to 1 percent with a loss.

  1. "Help!" (from the Giants and Steelers, not The Beatles)

It's no longer just a "win, win and in" scenario for the Vikings.

The Rams (8-7) and Seahawks (8-7) have surged ahead in the standings and currently hold the No. 6 and 7 spots.

Los Angeles is visiting the New York Giants (5-10) at noon (CT) Sunday. The Giants and Chargers (5-10) became the first two playoff teams from last season to be eliminated in 2023, but New York recently did Minnesota a solid with a late win against Green Bay.

Seattle is hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7), which is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. (CT) Sunday.

The Rams can clinch a playoff berth with a win and a Seahawks loss OR a win and a Border Battle tie.

The Seahawks can clinch a playoff berth with a win and a Border Battle tie.

  1. "Sail on, Sailor"

Continuing the music theme (admittedly the Jimmy Buffett version was in my mind instead of The Beach Boys' original riff), the Vikings benefit if the Buccaneers (8-7) win the NFC South, and a home victory by Tampa Bay over New Orleans (7-8) will complete that conquest.

  1. Impact down the line

Not to look too far ahead, but one could make the argument that Minnesota stands to benefit if Detroit (11-4) is locked in as the No. 3 seed.

Currently the Lions could finish in the No. 1, 2 or 3 spots, depending on what happens elsewhere.

Detroit is visiting Dallas (10-5) at 7:15 p.m. (CT) Saturday with the Cowboys trying to catch the Eagles.

Philadelphia (11-4) is currently the No. 2 seed and hosts Arizona (3-12) at noon (CT) Sunday.

San Francisco (11-4) is currently in the No. 1 spot and is visiting Washington (4-11) at noon (CT) Sunday. The 49ers can clinch the NFC's top seed with a win AND losses by the Lions and Eagles. 

Thus, the Vikings might want the Lions to lose to the Cowboys and have the 49ers and Eagles win.

Even if all those happen, however, there's no guarantee that Dan Campbell would rest Lions starters in Week 18 when the Vikings conclude the regular season at Detroit.