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Week 18 Wish List for Vikings Positioning in NFC Playoff Scenarios

Minnesota received help from Pittsburgh at Seattle in Week 17 but was unable to take advantage by defeating Green Bay last Sunday.

The final week of the 2023 regular season is upon us, and the Vikings (7-9) have a narrow and specific path toward making the NFC Playoffs as the seventh and final team.

Here's a rundown of what Minnesota needs to return to the postseason.

  1. Win at Detroit

The outcome of the noon (CT) kickoff at Detroit (11-5) is non-negotiable. A Vikings victory is obligatory.

If the Vikings lose, they will finish in third or fourth in the NFC North, based on what happens between the Packers (8-8) and Bears (7-9). A Vikings loss and a Packers win will slot Minnesota in third. A Vikings loss and a Bears win or tie will position Minnesota in fourth.

If the Vikings win, they need the following help around the league.

  1. Eyes on NFC South …

Two other games with noon (CT) kickoffs have an impact on Minnesota's chances.

The Vikings need Atlanta (7-9) to win at New Orleans (8-8) OR Carolina (2-14) to win at home against Tampa Bay (8-8).

The Falcons can still win the NFC South with a win AND a victory by the Panthers. If Tampa Bay wins, the Buccaneers are in, but the Saints could still make the postseason as the final Wild Card team with some help. 

  1. AND the NFC North …

The Packers and Bears are scheduled for a 3:25 p.m. (CT) start at Lambeau Field.

Minnesota requires a win by Chicago to finish second in the NFC North and still have a shot at the postseason.

  1. AND the NFC West …

If the noon (CT) games go well for the Vikings, they'll also track what happens between the Seahawks (8-8) and Cardinals (4-12).

Arizona is trying to avoid going 0-6 in its division and last week defeated playoff-bound Philadelphia to go along with a win against Dallas earlier this season.

The Vikings need one more upset by Arizona.

In Summary …

The short version of the playoff wish list is the following:

Vikings win AND Bears win AND Cardinals win, plus a Falcons OR Panthers win