With the NFL regular season now over, the postseason is finally here for 14 teams in the league as they begin the fight to try and reach the Super Bowl. After missing the playoffs the last two seasons, the Minnesota Vikings enter the postseason as the third seed in the NFC while hosting at least one game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Although the Vikings are the third seed in the NFC, there are other teams viewed as more serious contenders to come out of the conference to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. The top seed Philadelphia Eagles, second seed San Francisco 49ers, fourth seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers and even fifth seed Dallas Cowboys have received more praise from national media over the Vikings as candidates to reach the Big Game.
Even though Minnesota hasn’t necessarily “wowed” to this point in the year, it still was able to win 13 games during the regular season while grabbing a top-three seed in the conference. And though they aren’t currently viewed as one of the top contenders, the Vikings could be a dark horse in the playoffs to not only win during Wild Card week but to eventually come out of the NFC.
The Overlooked Minnesota Vikings Can Surprise In the Playoffs
First Round Matchup
The Minnesota Vikings begin the playoffs by welcoming the sixth-seeded New York Giants to Minneapolis in the Wild Card Round for a rematch of a battle that took place just three weeks ago in the regular season.
Minnesota and New York faced off on Christmas Eve at U.S. Bank Stadium, a game in which the Vikings came out on top 27-24. That game featured a back-and-forth battle with the Giants coming back to even the game late before Minnesota was able to win on a long last-second field goal to come away victorious at home.
This time around, many around the country believe New York will come out on top and pull off a first-round upset over Minnesota. In fact, it’s likely that more NFL experts are picking the Giants to win this game than there are experts picking the Vikings on their home field.
Although this is a popular game to predict an upset taking place, Minnesota is still a better team and has been over the regular season and notably, the second half of the season compared to New York. The Vikings come into the playoffs averaging the eight-most points per game in the NFL (24.9), although they have given up 25.1 points a game (28th). The Giants, on the other hand, ranked 15th in the NFL in points per contest (21.5), giving up 21.8 points to opponents, which ranked 17th.
This game could be and likely will be a close one like we saw on Christmas Eve in Week 16. But the purple and gold should be able to come out on top.
Rest of the NFC Playoff Field
Although some question the legitimacy of the Vikings so far this season, the same could be said about the NFC as a whole with no real favorite in the conference as the playoffs begin.
The Eagles have been the best team this season, but they are dealing with their own collection of injuries notably to quarterback Jalen Hurts. The 49ers could make a run at a Super Bowl appearance but are down to their third-string quarterback in Brock Purdy who has no playoff experience. The Cowboys are the Cowboys and something always happens in Big D when the postseason begins. The Buccaneers aren’t the team they used to be, riding a rollercoaster in performance all season long.
Each team in the conference, Minnesota included, has had strong points during the regular season but are all kind of parallel as the postseason kicks off. There is no real clear favorite in the NFC, which opens the door wide open for the Vikings.
If the seeds play out in the first round, Minnesota would end up hitting the road to face San Francisco in the Divisional Round, which is a game the Vikings could steal on the road. If Philadelphia advances to the NFC Championship Game, that means it would host that game with a Super Bowl appearance on the line. If the Eagles get upset and a team like the Vikings advance to the NFC Championship Game, U.S. Bank Stadium could host one more game to see if Minnesota is able to reach the Big Game.
It’s been an odd, yet intriguing year for the Vikings, and things could get even more interesting for the purple and gold in the playoffs. And with the NFC wide open, Minnesota could be a dark horse to try and play for the trophy in Arizona in February.