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Minnesota Vikings clinch spot in NFL playoffs, Los Angeles Rams eliminated

Zimmer Vikings
Head coach Mike Zimmer has to lead his team past the Packers on Monday Night Football. Pic credit: Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings have clinched a spot in the NFL playoffs — thanks in part to the San Francisco 49ers.

On Saturday night, the 49ers hosted the Los Angeles Rams in a game both teams really needed to win. The 49ers pulled out a 34-31 victory on a last-second field goal — taking over the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

The loss by the Rams eliminated them from the race to the postseason, dropping the team to 8-7 and ending any hopes of catching the Vikings for one of the NFC Wild Card slots.

Vikings fans can celebrate NFL playoff scenarios

At worst, the Vikings will now finish with at least the No. 6 seed in the NFC. At best, the Vikings can still catch the Green Bay Packers for first place in the NFC North.

The Vikings and Packers each have two games left on the schedule, including the head-to-head battle taking place on December 23. If the Vikings win both games and the Packers lose their two games, then it is the Vikings that end up as the NFC North champions this season.

There are also Vikings’ playoff scenarios where the team could move up to the No. 2 seed. If the Vikings finish at 12-4 and the New Orleans Saints finish 11-5, along with the Packers finishing 11-5, then the Vikings jump up to that No. 2 spot. That would be quite the way to wrap up the regular season.

Of primary concern is the Week 16 game against the Packers. The Vikings can move into a first-place tie with the Packers by winning the game. The Packers own the head-to-head tiebreaker, though, so they wouldn’t get control of things just this week.

The way the NFL playoff standings are starting to shake out, there is also a big chance of a Vikings vs Packers playoff game in the first round of the postseason. It would be a road game at Lambeau Field, which is not a place that any team wants to travel to in January.

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