The Week 17 game between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field doesn’t mean too much for the Vikings playoff outlook, but it means the world to the Packers.
The teams clash for the 125th time in 62 years on New Year’s Day, and the Packers are suddenly resurgent, winning three consecutive games, with eyes on the NFC’s No. 7 seed. And for Green Bay, grabbing the seventh seed is actually attainable.
This Packers and Vikings Thing in the Playoffs Is Becoming Quite Real
Meanwhile, amid Green Bay’s about-face, the Packers are subtly creating a path to face the Vikings during the Wildcard Round. A few things must occur, but traffic lanes are merging.
For the Packers playoff quest, they must topple the Vikings in Week 17 and the Lions in Week 18. Green Bay also requires one loss from the Washington Commanders, who host the Cleveland Browns next and wrap up the 2022 regular season in Landover against the Dallas Cowboys. And that’s while evidently switching back to Carson Wentz at QB1.
That opens the postseason door for Aaron Rodgers and Co.
Here’s the recipe for Vikings-Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium in the Wildcard Round, with Minnesota as the No. 2 seed and Green Bay as No. 7:
- Packers beat Vikings in Week 17
- Vikings beat Bears in Week 18
- 49ers lose one game in Week 17 or 18 (at LV, at CAR)
- Commanders lose one game in Week 17 or 18 (vs. CLE, vs. DAL)
And voila — Packers travel to Minneapolis on January 15th (or so) for a date with the Vikings. Doesn’t seem too inconceivable, does it?
The Packers bottomed out on November 27th, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Their record was 4-8, Aaron Rodgers was ailing, and pursuing the playoffs seemed laughable. Now, though, the Packers have initiated the beginning of “run the table and get in,” a phrase that sounded like a total longshot one month ago.
So, as Green Bay must win to get in the January tournament, the Vikings can play spoilers. Aside from retaining the No. 2 seed — which is, of course, a big deal — next weekend’s game isn’t terribly meaningful for Minnesota. The goal should be to stay healthy while hoping to keep hold of the No.2 seed. Still, the Vikings could effectively end Green Bay’s season, as another Packers loss would require mind-boggling mathematical hoops and help from other teams.
The Vikings are early four-point underdogs heading to Wisconsin next Sunday. Kirk Cousins-led Vikings teams have toppled the Packers three straight times. A win at Lambeau on New Year’s would kick the streak to four.
Along the way, if the Packers end up triumphant, the meeting could be a playoff prequel. Whoodathunkit?
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).