The Vikings playoff journey begins this Sunday against Brees and the Saints
For the first time since 1998, the Vikings reached 13 victories in a season, closing out a successful 2017 year with a 23-10 win over the Chicago Bears during Week 17.
This team is the second unit in franchise history to hit the 13-win mark for the season. Not only did they rebound as a unit this year, after suffering from a disappointing 8-8 season last year, but also an injury riddled start to the 2017 campaign.
“The last five years, in the NFC, one of the two teams who had the first-round bye in the playoffs represented the conference in the Super Bowl, so it’s big,” said head coach Mike Zimmer on getting the second seed, shortly after the Vikings win over the Bears. “Being the number one defense is a big achievement and they’re impressive marks. But you cannot do that if your offense isn’t running the football and you can’t do that if your defense is out there all the time. It’s a nice stat for the defense and these guys take a lot of pride in it but this is about the team, so whatever records the defense sets or the offense sets, it’s about the team.
After the Vikings defeated the Bears last Sunday at home, the 13-3 Vikings have now secured home field advantage, and a first round bye in the playoffs, which seems now even more meaningful after the unfortunate injury to Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Carson Wentz, who was an MVP favorite this season for the number one-seeded Eagles in the NFC before tearing his ACL. With the star in the city of brotherly love going down, the road to the Super Bowl could very well end up going through Minneapolis, MN.
The Vikings, who already boast the number one total defense in football, allowing a slim 15.8 points per game, now have the comfort of playing at home. Despite the injuries to their own key players, such as starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, and rookie starting running back, Dalvin Cook, the team weathered through the adversity, shaking off setbacks that could have derailed a lesser team, with players like quarterback Case Keenum and running backs Jerick McKinnon & Latavius Murray stepping up to play.
“We have a lot of guys that can make a lot of plays, throughout every phase, from wide receiver to tight end to running back,” said wide receiver Stefon Diggs after the season conclusion. Adam Thielen and him have been a solid core for an offense with plenty of turnover this year. “It’s a grind for us every day, if people want to sleep on us, let them sleep.”
It has all culminated into what could be a historic run in the postseason, as the Vikings have a shot at being the only team to play a home game in the Super Bowl in NFL history. Now the regular season stamina has to push this team through the playoffs.
The road to the Super Bowl starts this weekend for the Minnesota Vikings, as they face off against the number four-seeded New Orleans Saints, who are coming into this game red-hot, coming off a huge win against the Carolina Panthers. These two powerhouse teams will play this Sunday at 3:40 CT, in what’s shaping up to be one of the biggest games of the year.