The Thanksgiving Games Opened the Door for the Vikings in Week 12

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Week 12 kicked off with three games on Thanksgiving Day.

With all three games taking place between NFC teams, they were always going to impact the outlook for the Vikings. Ultimately, things played out almost perfectly for Minnesota as both the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks lost, opening the door for Minnesota to move closer to the competition in the NFC.

The Thanksgiving Games Opened the Door for the Vikings

Thanksgiving Games
Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) reacts after running for a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The first game of the afternoon took place between the Lions and Green Bay Packers. Despite being heavy underdogs on the road, the Packers stormed out to an early 20-6 lead in the first quarter. Things slowed down in the second half, but they managed to hold on to a 29-22 victory.

With the win, Green Bay improved to 5-6 on the year while Detroit fell to 8-3. Heading into Monday night, this means the Vikings are once again just two games behind the Lions for the lead in the NFC North. If Minnesota is able to pull off a win against the Chicago Bears, it once again adds importance to Weeks 16 and 18 against Detroit.

The No. 6 seed is back in play for the Vikings this weekend as well. Seattle fell to the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night by a score of 31-13 behind a masterful performance from Christian McCaffrey for the Niners, who rushed for 114 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell on the sideline against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

With the loss, Seattle is now even with Minnesota at 6-5, and the Vikings can snatch up that No. 6 seed with a win on Monday. Considering the Seahawks have games against the Cowboys, 49ers again, and Eagles in the next three weeks, the Vikings actually have an opportunity to put considerable distance between themselves and the Seahawks if they go on another run.

However, if the Vikings lose to Chicago, it suddenly would mean Green Bay sits just half a game out of that No. 7 seed. Minnesota needs to get a win in Week 12 to ensure there isn’t any added mystery for that final Wild Card spot.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos
Nov 19, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) dives for a first down against Denver Broncos linebacker Alex Singleton (49) in the fourth quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

In the end, the job is simple for the Vikings. They need to get back on track and continue winning games. The Thanksgiving games opened a door for them, and they need to sneak through it before it closes again.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.