The Vikings are back in the playoffs as they clinched the NFC’s final playoff spot by dominating the New York Giants 49-17 Sunday night at frigid TCF Stadium. Adrian Peterson ran for 104 yards and scored his 10th touchdown of the season.
The Vikings are 10-5 for the second year under Head Coach Mike Zimmer and are tied with 10-5 Green Bay in the NFC North. Next Sunday, January 3, at 7:25 pm at Lambeau Field, the NBC Sunday Night cameras will follow the Vikings and Packers battling for the NFC North title. A lot is on the line, including hosting a home playoff game, and the number-three NFC playoff seed in the Super Bowl 50 tournament is up for grabs.
The Packers started the season 6-0, but since have gone just 4-5 while the Vikings have caught fire in December with a 38-17 win over Chicago and Sunday’s 49-17 domination of the Giants. The Giants were without suspended Pro Bowl receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Quarterback Eli Manning was intercepted three times, once for a touchdown by safety Harrison Smith, his fourth interception return for a touchdown of his four-year career, a new Vikings record. The Packers are 3-2 in the NFC North vs. Chicago, Detroit and the Vikings.
Minnesota is 4-1 in the NFC North. If the Packers were to win next Sunday at home, the head-to-head sweep of the Vikings would take the Division.
Green Bay slipped into a tie with the Vikings after getting whipped Sunday 38-8 by red-hot Arizona, winners of nine straight games. The NFL uses flexible scheduling on Sundays in weeks 11-17; this ensures quality match-ups in all NFL Sunday time slots. It allowed the Vikings the opportunity to play their way into a prime-time position.
Sunday Night’s win was the Vikings first win in prime time in 2015 after setbacks to San Francisco 20-3 on Monday Night Football and 23-20 on Thursday night vs. Arizona. Yes, the Vikings have proven they are ready for the prime time spotlight.
Vikings Head Coach Zimmer has the reputation of being a “fixer.” He’s 17-14 as Vikings head coach, but 0-3 vs. Green Bay. However, if he can fix his team’s recent woes against the hated Packers with a win Sunday, the Vikings would be rolling into the playoffs.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to email@example.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.