For the First Time in 1805 Days, the Next Vikings Home Game Will Be a Playoff Game

Vikings fans, rejoice. Christmas came early for Minnesota as Greg Joseph delivered a 61-yard, game-winning field goal to seal a 27-24 victory over the New York Giants. It improves Minnesota’s record to 12-3, and it helps their case towards being the NFC’s No. 2 seed in the playoffs. It also means that for the first time in five years, the next Vikings home game will be part of the playoffs.

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That most recent home playoff game was of course the Minneapolis Miracle game against the New Orleans Saints as Case Keenum hit Stefon Diggs for a 61-yard touchdown pass to defeat the Saints as the clock expired.

It’s going to be hard to top the magic of that game, but if there’s any team that could potentially find a way to do so, it’s these 2022 Vikings. Between game-winning kicks, drive-halting interceptions, and even a 33-point comeback, these Vikings have had a knack for pulling off heroics.

Minnesota’s latest victory put a bow on the 2022 calendar year, and they finished the year with a 9-1 record at U.S. Bank Stadium (they had a Week 18 home victory over the Chicago Bears on January 9th). The sole loss came in embarrassing fashion as they fell 40-3 to the Dallas Cowboys earlier this season, but overall, Minnesota has proven to be a dominant team at home this year.

Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates the win against the Indianapolis Colts after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. With the win, the Minnesota Vikings clinched the NFC North. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

We still don’t know who the Vikings will ultimately face in that opening Wild Card round when they return back to U.S. Bank Stadium, but they should be favorites to win that game whenever the matchup is set. There are currently five possibilities for that game:

  • Detroit Lions
  • Green Bay Packers
  • New York Giants
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Washington Commanders

Minnesota has already beaten four of these five teams in 2022, and their only loss came against the Detroit Lions on the road. Even if it’s those Lions, the Vikings should feel very good about their chances in that game.

The Next Vikings Home Game Will Be a Playoff Game
Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings offense is clicking right now, and this week, it was the T.J. Hockenson and Justin Jefferson show. The duo combined for 25 catches, 242 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns on Saturday against the Giants. Minnesota has now scored 27+ points in four of their last five games. Meanwhile, three of their five potential opponents have averaged 20.5 points per game or less this season.

Hopefully, Minnesota won’t need to use heroics to get wins in their home playoff game, but if there’s another game that comes down to the wire, this team has a track record of getting the job done in the clutch. They now have an NFL record 11 wins in one-possession games.

Greg Joseph ensured that the Vikings close the book on 2022 in a pleasant fashion, and now hopefully, they open 2023 in the same way. Is this the team of destiny? Do they have more heroics in store for us this season at U.S. Bank Stadium? I guess we’ll have to wait until January to find out.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.