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Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers Playoff Scenarios: Mike Zimmer’s last stand?

The Green Bay Packers (12-3) host the Minnesota Vikings (7-8) Sunday for the 63rd time, and this nationally televised rivalry renewal packs a punch with the playoff scenarios in store. The Packers can both close in on the NFC’s No. 1 seed and help Aaron Rodgers all but secure his fourth MVP award. The Vikings, meanwhile, are in must-win mode, and Mike Zimmer could be gone if they don’t.

Playoff-clinching scenarios for Vikings vs. Packers

The Packers are already assured a spot in the playoffs. They clinched the NFC North last week. Yet, there’s still much on the line down the stretch. As for the Vikings? Sunday is basically their entire season.

The Vikings are not assured a spot in the postseason field if they win out. That’s why FiveThirtyEight gives Minnesota just a 13% chance of qualifying. And those numbers are almost certainly lower when you consider that Kirk Cousins will not play after testing positive for COVID-19.

How the Packers can clinch home-field advantage

The Packers are the slight betting favorites to win the NFC, but you’d have to think that the money would come in hard for them if they secure the No. 1 seed. Green Bay is undefeated at home this year.

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They can clinch the conference’s top position this weekend three ways:

  • A win and a Cowboys loss or tie or
  • A tie, a Cowboys loss, a Rams loss, and a Buccaneers loss or tie
  • A tie, a Cowboys loss, a Rams tie, and a Buccaneers loss

Other Week 17 playoff scenarios for Vikings, Packers

Winning out will not be enough for Minnesota. The Vikings would still need at least two other games to go their way. Minnesota, for instance, would get in if they win their last two games, the Eagles lose to the Washington Football Team, or the Cowboys and the Saints lose to either the Cardinals or the Falcons. They’d also get in if they win out and the Niners lose their last two.

A loss to the Packers, however, would put the Vikings’ hopes on life support. There are scenarios in which they reach the postseason with a Week 17 loss, but none are realistic. Seven other things would have to go their way, including, of course, a win over the Bears in Week 18. The odds are far more likely that the Vikings would be eliminated Sunday with a loss. There are three ways in which that could happen:

  • An Eagles win/tie
  • A Falcons win
  • A Falcons tie and a Saints win

There are also scenarios in which the Vikings could get eliminated if they tie the Packers. Yet, a Green Bay loss would open the door for the Cowboys, Buccaneers, and even the Rams to snatch home-field advantage. Dallas would control their own destiny and would be the No. 1 seed with wins over the Cardinals and Eagles.

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