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Vikings NFL Playoff Hopes: Does the Math Work?

At the time of writing, the Vikings are just hours away from their crunch tie against the Chicago Bears. The Vikings will face the Bears again in Week 17, so the two games against Chicago will be an important determiner of the Vikings’ Playoffs hopes. Those games sandwich much tougher ties against the Rams (December 26th) and Packers (January 3rd). Four games to make or break a season, with every game having the threat of elimination hanging over it.

The Vikings are 6-7 right now, but Mike Zimmer will feel his team have a real chance if they can get the win over Chicago later tonight. Going into Christmas 7-7 is obviously not going to mean anything is assured, but 6-8 will mean the Vikings have been eliminated in all but name. But what do the Vikings actually need? And how do the number stack up? After all, the Vikings will also be depending on other teams’ results.

Approximately a one in four chance of the Playoffs

As it stands currently, FiveThirtyEight, the stats wizards who know a thing or two about probability, put the Vikings’ Playoff chances at 21%. This isn’t far off the sportsbooks’ take on the matter. MansionBet’s NFL betting platform, for example, cites 3/1 for the Vikings to make the Playoffs – that’s an implied probability of 25%. So it’s slightly higher than the statisticians, but not by much. For reference, teams in a similar position, i.e., gunning for that NFC Wildcard place, like the Saints (7-7) and Eagles (also 6-7), are given slightly higher chances by FiveThirtyEight, which cites a 49% chance for the Saints and a 30% chance for the Eagles.

Nonetheless, wins for the Vikings will start to change that picture. If the Vikings were to go 7-7 after a win against the Bears, then the Playoff chances increase to 32%, while also lowering the Eagles’ chances to 26% and the Saints to 47%. 8-7 (i.e., winning against the Rams the day after Christmas), will raise the Vikings’ chances to 53%, while also lowering the Eagles’ to 20% and Saints to 41%. Beat Green Bay on January 3rd, and it’s 91%, but with a big caveat (see below). Go 4-0 down this final stretch, and it’s almost a mathematical certainty that the Vikings go to the Playoffs.

Calculations must allow for other teams’ results

However, here’s the rub. Those calculations are only valid in the sense of not factoring in the results of other teams. While 4-0 would nearly guarantee postseason football, you’d expect that Mike Zimmer and the majority of Vikings fans would be happy with 3-1; finishing the season with a 9-8 record puts everything up in the air. The New York Times, which does its probability calculations in a different way to FiveThirtyEight, puts it at 51% for the Vikings to qualify for the Playoffs with a 9-8 record. But this method of calculating factors in probable results from other teams.

TLDR, it’s going to be a coin-toss if the Vikings aren’t perfect from now until January 9th in the final game against the Bears. 4-0, and they are there; 3-1 means there’s a 50-50 chance. Anything less and Vikings fans will be resigned to thinking about getting it right for next season because this one will be over.

Kirk Cousins Is Not The Problem

Kirk Cousins doesn’t get the respect that he deserves as he is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL every season for a while now. He is not going to win the NFL MVP award anything soon but he is going to win the Minnesota Vikings a lot more games than he is going to lose.

If you think the Minnesota Vikings can continue to win and make a nice playoff push, check out the NFL lines and place some bets for them to win here.

Limiting Mistakes

Kirk Cousins has been doing incredibly well this season as heading into Week 13, he has a 57.1 QBR while completing 67.7 percent of his passes for 3,013 yards with 23 touchdown passes and three interceptions. He has been playing well and is completing his passes at an elite rate and is tied for the fewest interceptions this season.

It definitely helps to have someone like Cousins under center with the injury bug surrounding elite running back Dalvin Cook this season that has forced running back Alexander Mattison to be on the field more than they originally chalked him up for.

The pinpoint accuracy that Cousins possesses is a big reason why the Minnesota Vikings are able to move the ball down the field and play well on the offensive side of the game.

Helping the Wide Receivers Grow

The Minnesota Vikings have had a handful of solid wide receiving options in Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and Justin Jefferson. One thing that helped them get to their solid level of play has been having a quarterback that can get them the football because with a dependent position like wide receiver, it is important to have a guy like Kirk Cousins under center with experience making big-time throws.

Cousins looks like he is in a great position in his fourth full season with the Minnesota Vikings so the offense is trickling as they click together. He isn’t going to put the ball in harm’s way and that will be a great sign as they aren’t forcing the defense to be on the field for too long.

What About the Contract?

If you have any issues with Cousins, it’s likely the contract. Cousins is making $21 million this season and $35 million for next season as base salary in the final two seasons of his contract before becoming a free agent once again. When adding in the bonuses, his cap hit is $31 million in 2021-22 and $45 million in 2022-23.

It is a tough position but as the quarterback market continues to increase, mediocre quarterbacks are going to make around this number and Cousins is an above-average player under center throughout his career.

Looking at some of the other quarterbacks in the NFL and how much money they are making, they would kill to have Cousins. Look at a team like the San Francisco 49ers with Jimmy Garoppolo and his contract. If you don’t think they’d want to switch quarterbacks in a heartbeat, you’d be wrong.

Conclusion

With a quarterback with as much savvy and poise inside of the pocket, Cousins is going to keep the Minnesota Vikings playing well with a high floor, low ceiling attribute under center. Cousins has experience as he evolved from a backup quarterback in Washington to Robert Griffin III to being one of the better quarterbacks in the entire NFL.

Having extremely talented weapons with Jefferson, Theilen, and Cook all on the field to continue showcasing the offense and keeping the team in the game. He isn’t going to make many mistakes and if you are looking to place some blame for the Minnesota Vikings mediocre season this season, you cannot put the play of Cousins in that discussion.

Minnesota Vikings Will Play RB Dalvin Cook Despite Ankle Sprain

Not only did the Vikings lose to the Cardinals in last Sunday’s game, but their defensive end J.J. Watt took out Dalvin Cook in a late game tackle that resulted in a “light sprain” that had him sitting out of practice this week. Yet despite his injury, the team still plans on using him this Sunday when they face off against the Seattle Seahawks.

It’s a risky move for Minnesota, but considering that Cook ranks fourth in rushing (192 yards), carries (42) and touches (25) among all running backs through two weeks, and that the team desperately needs to turn around their losing streak after facing back-to-back losses on the road at Cincinnati and Arizona, they’re willing to roll the dice on him.

“You know, at this stage, it’s time to get some wins,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “Dalvin’s a tough guy. If he can’t play, there’s a reason why he’s not playing. But he makes us go, so we’re going to continue to play him.”

Cook has been working with the conditioning coach to get ready for the upcoming game, and if he feels good enough to play, then that’s what he’s going to do. And he’s optimistic about their next three weeks, stating “We’re home for three straight games. We could go on a tear for three straight weeks.”

Personally, I think the Vikings are ready to turn things around, and if you feel the same way, you can make the main bet for today and put your money where your mouth is. Sunday can’t get here soon enough, this game should be a real nail biter!

The 3 Most Exciting Matchups From the 2021 Vikings Schedule

On Wednesday night, the NFL released the 2021 Minnesota Vikings schedule, and we couldn’t be more excited for the upcoming season!

After looking through the schedule and giving it some careful consideration, these are the 3 matchups that I’m most looking forward to:

9/26 vs Seattle – The Vikings face off against the Seahawks at home this year, and we’ll see if that changes the Vikings luck, as they haven’t beaten Seattle in the Kirk Cousins era. This should be a real test for the Vikings early in the season that will give us an indication of how the rest of the season will play out.

10/3 vs Cleveland – This one stands out for the obvious reason, with Minnesota welcoming back Kevin Stefanski, this time coaching against a team that he was with for over a decade, and bringing with him a Super Bowl-caliber roster that boasts playmakers on both sides of the ball. It’ll be a tough game that will put the Vikings defense to the test.

1/2 at Green Bay – Has Mike Zimmer’s defense improved enough to slow Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense, or will the Vikes enjoy a repeat of last year’s matchup? That’s the million dollar question. This division matchup late in the season could have huge playoff implications. It also culminates a string of three primetime games for the Vikings in four weeks. Should be an exciting game.

Whether you’re interested in attending one of these Vikings games or any other game this season, we’ve got you covered with the best Minnesota Vikings tickets around!

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SKOL!

The Minnesota Vikings 2021 Schedule Has Been Released

2020 was a tough season for the Vikings, as coach Mike Zimmer and the team slumped to going 7-9, good for 3rd place in the NFC North.

The team gave up way too many big plays, and on offense even with a big name young back in Dalvin Cook and a quarterback in Kirk Cousins who was paid a lot of money to come North, the team needed more big plays of their own.

This season is a true ‘make or break’ for Zimmer and company, as the club is going to be expected to get on track and get to the postseason.

Wednesday the NFL and Vikings released their 2021 schedule for fans, and you can start to look ahead at this upcoming season below.

You can check out the full Vikings schedule below:

Minnesota Vikings 2021 Schedule

Week 1: Sep. 12 at Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 PM FOX
Week 2: Sep. 19 at Arizona Cardinals 4:05 PM FOX
Week 3: Sep. 26 Seattle Seahawks 4:25 PM FOX
Week 4: Oct. 3 Cleveland Browns 1:00 PM CBS
Week 5: Oct. 10 Detroit Lions 1:00 PM FOX
Week 6: Oct. 17 at Carolina Panthers 1:00 PM FOX
Week 7: BYE
Week 8: Oct. 31 Dallas Cowboys 8:20 PM NBC
Week 9: Nov. 7 at Baltimore Ravens 1:00 PM FOX
Week 10: Nov. 14 at Los Angeles Chargers 4:05 PM FOX
Week 11: Nov. 21 Green Bay Packers 1:00 PM FOX
Week 12: Nov. 28 at San Francisco 49ers 4:25 PM FOX
Week 13: Dec. 5 at Detroit Lions 1:00 PM CBS
Week 14: Dec. 9 Pittsburgh Steelers (Thu) 8:20 PM FOX/NFLN/Amazon
Week 15: Dec. 20 at Chicago Bears (Mon) 8:15 PM ESPN
Week 16: Dec. 26 Los Angeles Rams 1:00 PM FOX
Week 17: Jan. 2 at Green Bay Packers 8:20 PM NBC
Week 18: Jan. 9 Chicago Bears 1:00 PM FOX

As you might imagine, people are going to be chomping at the bit to get their hands on Minnesota Vikings tickets after being stuck at home for the past year.

More so with some of the great matchups they’ve got this season. Tickets are sure to go quick, but not to worry, as we’ve got you covered!

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Here’s hoping that the Vikings go all the way this season!

Vikings Rip Up and Redo the Contract of Veteran Linebacker Anthony Barr

The Vikings have ripped up their current contract with veteran linebacker Anthony Barr, and instead gave him a deal for 2021 that will pay him a fully guaranteed $9.4M salary, plus $500K in per-game roster bonuses and a $100K workout bonus.

is getting his deal revised, as he will take various cuts to help the Vikings with their salary cap number as they get set for free agency.

Barr had three years left on his current deal, and it seemed there was never any idea that he would go play somewhere else

The linebacker was slated to make $12.9M this season, but now with that old deal wrapped up Barr can become a free agent in 2022 next March.

Barr has been solid at the linebacker spot in seven seasons for the Vikings, putting up 423 tackles, 15 sacks, two interceptions, eight forced fumbles and 26 pass breakups.

The UCLA standout was the ninth overall pick by the Vikings back in 2014, the first draft choice by current head coach Mike Zimmer. Barr has also served as a defensive captain the past three seasons.

It was a tough 2020 for Barr, as the linebacker tore his pec muscle in week two in a matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, and missed the final 14 games of the season.

Video: Vikings Look to Get to .500 in Sunday Battle with the Cowboys

The Vikings are coming in on a short week, as they beat the Bears on Monday night in Chicago and are currently 4-5 on the year.

They will get a look at a Cowboys team that at 2-7 might get back QB Andy Dalton after he was out with the Covid-19 virus.

Here’s a preview from NFL.com.

Vikings Make Surprise Roster Move in Waiving OG Pat Elflein

The Vikings on Saturday made a surprise move, as the team waived guard Pat Elflein just a day after bringing him off the injured reserve.

The 2017 third-round pick of the team was dealing with a thumb injury that was suffered in practice back in September.

Elflein played in the opener against the Packers, and was moved to IR on September 17th. He returned to practice October 28th.

Now he will go on waivers after being released, free to any team that may want him.

“We just felt like we had some better options,” coach Mike Zimmer said Saturday via ESPN.

Now that Elflein is off the roster, the team will turn to Dru Samia as well as second-rounder Ezra Cleveland to fill the guard spot.

Ex-Vikings and Six-Time Pro Bowl LB Matt Blair Dies at Age 70

A Viking great has passed away, as linebacker Matt Blair has passed away at the age of 70.

Blair was one of the greatest linebackers in the history of the Vikings franchise, a six-time Pro Bowler who played in two Super Bowls.

His death was announced by the team. Blair, who had been suffering from dementia, died Thursday after an extended period in hospice care, according to the Star Tribune.

“He’d been suffering for a while, so I guess maybe it’s a blessing in disguise,” former teammate Scott Studwell told the newspaper. “But it’s still too young. It’s a sad day.”

“Matt Blair was a great presence at Vikings events and a tremendous teammate long after playing. He embodied the best of what it means to be a Viking,” Vikings owner Mark Wilf said in a statement.

“Matt is a Ring of Honor player whose legacy will live on forever with the franchise and in the community he loved.”

Blair, an All-American at Iowa State, starred immediately for the Cyclones after transferring from Northeast Oklahoma Junior College.

He led them to their first bowl, the 1971 Sun Bowl, to cap an 8-4 season. He was so good in that bowl game that he was named the game’s outstanding defensive player, despite Iowa State’s loss against LSU.

The Vikings took Blair in the second round of the 1974 NFL Draft, for whom he would star for 12 seasons between 1974-85.

He was inducted into the Iowa State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Vikings Ring of Honor in 2012.

Vikings QB Cousins Claims He’ll Be Benched if He Keeps Throwing Picks

The last time the Vikings started 1-5, Leslie Frazier was fired as head coach in the offseason, and Mike Zimmer took over.

In order to keep history from repeating, quarterback ?Kirk Cousins?, who threw three INTs for the second time this season in a 40-23 loss to the previously winless Atlanta Falcons, knows he must quit turning the ball over, Kevin Patra of NFL.com reports.

“The reality is if the pace I’m on in terms of the interceptions, if that were to continue, I won’t finish the season,” Cousins said, via Courtney Cronin of ESPN. “I won’t — you know what I mean? There’s a little bit of, you got to improve. Whether it’s them telling me, ‘Hey, we gotta improve,’ or them pulling me; we got to get better. That’s what the rest of the season will be about for me, is trying to protect the football as best I can. Because when you turn the ball over, it really hurts your chances to win. I know that. I just need to improve as we look ahead to the rest of the season.”

?Sean Mannion? is the only other QB currently on the Vikings roster.

Cousin’s three-INT day was the fifth time he’s thrown three or more interceptions in a game during his career. Two of those instances have come in 2020 (Week 2 at Indianapolis).

Through six games, Cousins already has 10 INTs. Last year he had six total in 15 starts. His career-high is 13 in 2017 with Washington in 16 games. Cousins’ current pace would put him at 26.6 interceptions for a full slate.

“I need to correct it,” Cousins said. “I need to finish the season with a different story, regarding the interceptions, so that’s something I need to improve with the remaining games we have. I don’t know that I’d limit it to the interceptions. I think it’s just the entire offensive performance. It’s just, I need to be better, we need to be better.”