The Vikings no longer need help from other teams to reach the playoffs. But they have to do a lot to help themselves.
After Washington (6: 8) lost 27:17 (7: 7) in Philadelphia on Tuesday evening, the Vikings (7: 7) remain in 7th place in the NFC playoff race and are now one Earn place if they win their game last three games. A loss in Washington had been required as it would represent a potential tie with Minnesota.
But the Vikings come out on Monday night in Chicago with an ugly 17-9 win, which included a 370-yard win on 193. The Bears (4-10) were kind of competitive despite having 14 players on the COVID-19 reserve list. Had Chicago not lost three fumbles, blocked a field goal and committed nine penalties, five of which were personal fouls, for 91 yards, Chicago might have caused a big surprise.
Next, the Vikings will try to get into the U.S. on Sunday. Bank Stadium against the Los Angeles Rams (10-4), who defeated Seattle at 8:10 pm on Tuesday evening.
« I think we still have a lot to do, » said Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins. « I think there is a lot that can be improved. »
Cousins intercepted 12 of 24 passes for 87 yards on Monday, but threw two touchdown passes. His total mileage was the lowest in 118 career starts, the previous low of 98 for the Vikings on September 8, 2019 against Atlanta.
Head coach Mike Zimmer said the Vikings « threw the ball too much » too early in the game due to the Chicago passing frenzy. Cousins, who was sacked three of his four times in the first half, didn’t necessarily agree, but his shaky play made it understandable that Zimmer wanted more walking.
Running back Dalvin Cook carried 28 times for 89 yards. His 3.2 yards-per-carry average was barely great, but it was still better than the 2.7 he had in his first three career games on Soldier Field.
The Vikings will take on the Bears in the finals in the U.S. on January 9th. See you again at Bank Stadium. But before that they have two much tougher games, against the Rams and on January 2nd in Green Bay (11-3).
« We’re playing with three really good opponents up front, » said Cousins. “We’ll probably need everyone. There’s not much room for error and we have to tighten the screws here and play our best football on the track. »
Zimmer was no longer afraid to say that the Vikings would have to play better than they did on Monday to get a playoff spot. On the other hand, what he said was about semantics.
« It’s not just getting better, it’s getting better, » said Zimmer. “It’s getting better in running defense. It gets better in passport coverage. It gets better with protection. It gets better to run the ball. All of these things. We try to get better where we get to the point we are striving for. »
In the NFC race, San Francisco (8-6) is in good shape for 6th place, including the tiebreaker over Minnesota. The race for the seventh and final playoff place is wide open.
The Vikings have the same record as Philadelphia, which is # 8, and New Orleans, which is # 9, and they are both tied. But the Eagles and Saints, who reached 7-7 on Sunday night in Tampa Bay on a 9-0 upset, both have easier closing times.
The Eagles finish with games at home against the New York Giants, in Washington and at home against Dallas. And the Saints close at home with Miami and Carolina before playing in Atlanta.
“It’s a crazy season. … There’s a lot going on this year, « said Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. « But we just have to take care of ourselves and keep playing our ball and end this season with three more wins. »
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