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The Minnesota Vikings Don’t Deserve The Playoffs

[lead align=”default”]On Sunday afternoon, the thin playoff hopes of the Minnesota Vikings became nearly non-existent following their loss to the Indianapolis Colts.[/lead]

It wasn’t just that they lost to the Colts; a Vikings fan may have had an easier time accepting it if it were a hard-fought defeat. Would that it were so.

The Vikings got their asses handed to them by Indianapolis in their own building, falling to 7-7. This is made even worse by the fact that they started the season 5-0. Losing seven out of nine games is hard to tolerate no matter who you are, but to go from very good to very bad over the course of a season is demoralizing.

Minnesota Vikings fans have every right to experience dejection. Nevertheless, they don’t deserve, nor will they get, a playoff berth.

Minnesota Vikings: How It Started

The Vikings opened the 2016 season looking like one of the most impressive teams in the NFL. Minnesota’s defense played at a high level, holding their opponents to under 20 points in all five games of their early win streak. These weren’t bad teams, either: all except Carolina were playoff contenders.

Keep in mind, this is a team that lost their quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, before the start of the season. Sam Bradford was brought in to replace Bridgewater, and at first, it was working. From his season debut in Week 2, Bradford threw six touchdowns and no interceptions, putting up high completion percentages and passer ratings.

Bradford was more than adequate, and good enough to let the defense do its thing.

Minnesota Vikings: What Went Wrong

It all went to hell during their game in Philadelphia on October 23. It’s probably not a coincidence that this came following the bye week; apparently, the bye broke their momentum.

The Vikings and Eagles both turned it over four times, though Minnesota killed their own drives. What hurt more is that special teams gave up a kickoff return for six immediately after a Vikings score. Defensively, they weren’t bad, but the mistakes mounted. So did the fumbles, of which the Vikings had three.

Minnesota’s defense did have its lapses against Chicago, but in each of the following three, the offense didn’t do enough.

At least until yesterday, the Vikings could comfort themselves with knowing that they were losing relatively close games all the way. Against Indy, however, it was their first blowout loss of the season. Neither the offense nor the defense showed up, and the Minnesota Vikings look as bad now as at any point this season.

Minnesota Vikings: Current Circumstances

Minnesota sits at 7-7 and are close to eliminating themselves from the NFC North race. Detroit owns the tiebreaker over them, and with the Lions at 9-5, the Vikings can’t catch them anymore. Green Bay is ahead of them as well, but looking much stronger. Their best hope is the wild card, but with an optimistic scenario of 9-7, it’s quite unlikely. Despite owning a tiebreaker, they can’t catch the 10-4 Giants. Tampa Bay isn’t out of range, but they look like a much better team at the moment. A few other teams also lie in front of them, including Washington and the aforementioned Packers.

Too much would have to break their way, but what are the odds they’re winning out, anyway?

No, they’re not going to make it, and they don’t belong there. At 5-0, the world was their proverbial oyster. Now, the Vikings are finding ways to lose, and it all fell apart Sunday in a critical home game. That they could collapse despite having one of the best defenses in the league makes it very clear that this team has issues.

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