With just one week left in the 2012 NFL regular season, the Minnesota Vikings are in the driver’s seat for the final playoff spot in the NFC.
At 9-6 the Vikings are in the lead for the No.6 seed in the postseason. Depending on what happens in Week 17, three other teams could end up surpassing Minnesota in the wild card race.
If the Vikings win their last game, Minnesota won’t have to worry about the other contending teams. Since the Vikings control their own destiny, a win over the Green Bay Packers would put them in the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
It won’t be an easy task for Minnesota to close out the season with a win. The Packers have lost just once in the past two and a half months. Green Bay already clinched the NFC North, but would lock up a first-round bye with a win on Sunday.
The Vikings are also playing well, winning their last three games. Adrian Peterson has been the biggest reason for their success, falling just 207 yards short of tying Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record, with one game left on the schedule. Peterson, however, has an abdominal injury, which could hamper his performance.
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If the Vikings can’t come up with the victory, a loss could land them into the postseason. The Chicago Bears, New York Giants or Washington Redskins can also claim the No.6 seed in various scenarios.
The Bears would win the last wild card spot with a win and a Vikings loss. Chicago is a three-point favorite at the Detroit Lions.
Washington is still hoping to win the NFC East, but could sneak into the postseason as the sixth seed. If the Bears and Vikings lose, the Redskins would be relegated to the wild card with a loss in their game to the Dallas Cowboys.
New York is the biggest long shot to get the last postseason berth. They need losses by the Bears, Vikings, and Cowboys to even have a chance of making the playoffs. A win over the Philadelphia Eagles would give them the tiebreaker over the Bears and Vikings.