The Vikings Have a Huge Opportunity in Front of Them to Move Up the NFC Standings

Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell celebrates with quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) after a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings’ loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 11 stung for a couple reasons.

Not only was it a very winnable game that slipped through their fingers, but it ended their five-game winning streak and took away a chance to move up the NFC standings. With the Seattle Seahawks losing to the Rams on Sunday, Minnesota could have jumped up to the No. 6 seed in the NFC. Instead, they stand pat at No. 7 for another week.

However, the Vikings still have a huge opportunity to move up the standings in the coming weeks. Let’s take a look at how that can happen.

The Vikings Have a Huge Opportunity in Front of Them

Huge Opportunity
Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) celebrates after a touchdown with guard Dalton Risner (66) against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota enters the Thanksgiving weekend half a game behind the Seahawks for that No. 6 seed and two games behind the Dallas Cowboys for the No. 5 spot. The next five weeks will prove pivotal for how these Wild Card spots ultimately finish out.

First and foremost, the Seahawks and 49ers will play twice over the next three weeks, including a matchup on Thanksgiving night. Then, sandwiched in the middle of those two games, the Seahawks will also play those Dallas Cowboys in Week 13, and San Francisco has a road game against the Eagles. Needless to say, it’s going to be a tough three weeks for both teams out west.

Meanwhile, the Vikings are set to take on the Chicago Bears at home before a Week 13 bye and then a road game against the Las Vegas Raiders. As long as the Vikings take care of business in those two games, they have a great chance at holding the No. 6 seed by the time Week 15 rolls around. Either Seattle will have dropped a game by that point, or the 49ers will have lost their lead in the NFC West.

Jan 8, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) embraces wide receiver Tyler Lockett (16) following a touchdown pass against the Los Angeles Rams during the third quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Then, right as the 49ers and Seahawks are wrapping up their tough stretches, the Cowboys get started with their own difficult slate. From Weeks 14-16, they will play the Eagles at home before going on the road for matchups against Buffalo and Miami.

During that stretch, the Vikings will play the Raiders (as mentioned), the Joe Burrow-less Bengals, and a home game against the Lions to make one final push for the NFC North. It’s a tall task, but the No. 5 seed is very much within reach.

This is especially so considering the Cowboys’ wins have come exclusively against current sub-.500 teams. Here is the list of teams they’ve beaten this season:

  • New York Giants twice (3-8)
  • New York Jets (4-6)
  • New England Patriots (2-8)
  • Los Angeles Chargers (4-6)
  • Los Angeles Rams (4-6)
  • Carolina Panthers (1-9)
Nov 19, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Minnesota Viking quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) reacts against the Denver Broncos in the fourth quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps the Cowboys will get their act together and earn a few quality wins to end the season, but we have not seen that happen yet this year.

If we also consider the fact that Minnesota will get Justin Jefferson back at some point (whether it’s Monday against the Bears or Week 14 against the Raiders), the Vikings have a chance to get back on a roll to close the season.

Of course, this is purely speculation at this point. The games still have to be played, but Minnesota has a giant opportunity to move up the NFC standings by the end of the season. They need to take care of business and give themselves an opportunity to do so.

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.