For Better or Worse, the Vikings Hold a Playoff Spot Heading into the Bye

Kirk Cousins
Oct 17, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes the ball in the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

After week 2, things looked rather bleak for the Minnesota Vikings. After heart-wrenching losses to both the Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals, a team that many believed to be much improved from 2020 had begun the season exactly the same as the year prior: 0-2.

However, things have certainly gotten better since then in terms of actually winning games. Some have been unnecessarily close (i.e. yesterday in Carolina), but at the end of the day, the Vikings have been finding ways to get the job done. Minnesota is 3-1 over their past four games, and the only loss came against the Cleveland Browns who are widely considered as Super Bowl contenders.

So, after this most recent win against the Panthers, the Vikings find themselves at an even 3-3 heading into their bye week. Following the bye things are scheduled to get very difficult for the purple and gold, but the NFL is weird. Weird things happen on a weekly basis, and maybe the Vikings can find themselves going on a run over the next few weeks. I think Dalvin Cook said it best after the game:

It’s true. The Vikings schedule moving forward is daunting in a lot of ways, but the Vikings are also a very talented squad up and down the roster. Even with a tumultuous start, Minnesota finds themselves holding a playoff spot after this week. Due to the head-to-head win against Carolina as well as Chicago’s loss to Green Bay, the 3-3 Vikings hold the third and final wild card position. Of course, this doesn’t truly matter for months yet, but it just goes to show that this team can play an annoyingly stressful brand of football and still be one of the league’s better teams.

That said, the bye is a going to be a great opportunity for the Vikings. This team has undoubtedly been banged up at multiple positions, and that got just a little bit worse this past week. Cook said after the game that he was not 100% despite being given 29 carries. Then late in the game, Patrick Peterson went down with what appeared to be a leg injury. The Vikings secondary has been especially beaten up recently, and Peterson’s injury is just the latest of a long list of ailments. Not to mention, he’s been playing some fantastic football. Michael Pierce also missed his second consecutive game, and the Vikings need to get him back to help stop the run.

The first portion of the Vikings schedule could’ve gone better, or at least smoother, but it also could have gone much worse. It’s very strange, but there’s a legitimate case for this team being both 5-1 while also being 1-5, so 3-3 is a very happy median for them to be in right now. Big games are on the horizon, and if this team can get right over the next week, they will be a dangerous group for anybody.

Also Read: Cousins: Clutch X2