Just like Constanza isn't Penske material, neither are the Vikings. In 2023, at the very least. Surprisingly, though, a realistic route to that destination is still within their reach. Despite the fact that the Cowboys would probably wind up winning handily in the end.
Before last Sunday's match against the Packers, the statistics were very obvious. The Packers' prospects of advancing to the playoffs would have been eliminated had they lost, as Steve Kornacki stated on Football Night in America. A loss reduced the Vikings' postseason qualification chances to 3%.
When we disregard the percentages, the following conditions must be met for the Vikings to be in: (1) a victory over the Lions; (2) the Packers' defeat to the Bears; (2) the Seahawks' loss to the Cardinals; and (4) either the Buccaneers' loss to the Panthers or the Saints' loss to the Falcons.
Would it be absurd to expect the Bears, who only started to heat up in the fourth quarter, to upset the Packers at Lambeau Field? Last year, the Packers were vying for a playoff spot while the Lions were playing for nothing. Do you think it's crazy to think of the Cardinals, who defeated the Eagles in Philadelphia on Sunday, as a game to beat Seattle? Similarly, the Falcons have a shot of defeating the Saints.
The Vikings would, in fact, need a victory over the Lions. Assuming the Lions give it their best in a pointless game, that gets much more challenging. Their intentions are not yet evident. The Vikings still had a shot at beating the Lions on Christmas Eve, despite quarterback Nick Mullens throwing four interceptions.
Even though they had a chance to earn a bye if they won two games, the Vikings played poorly on Sunday night.
A trip to Dallas to play the Cowboys would still be the prize, even if the Vikings only had a three percent chance. With Minnesota's roster severely depleted due to injuries and the Cowboys' history of thrashing visiting teams (including last year's 40-3 drubbing in Minneapolis), it's hard to see the Vikings having any chance of advancing.
In a result, the Vikings' season is far from done, but it will be very soon. If the 2023 Vikings don't win out this weekend, they'll probably lose the wild-card game in a flash.