Why the Vikings Absolutely Have to Beat the Colts

Why the Vikings Absolutely Have to Beat the Colts

Why the Vikings Absolutely Have to Beat the Colts
Oct 30, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Why the Vikings Absolutely Have to Beat the Colts

The Minnesota Vikings (10-3) are four-point favorites to defeat the Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1) on Saturday, a smallish point spread considering Minnesota is about six games better than Indianapolis. Still, oddsmakers don’t have much faith in the Vikings, chiefly because of the team’s -1 point differential through 13 games. Vikings opponents have collectively outscored them by one point — if that can be believed.

And aside from taking care of business versus an inferior opponent, the Vikings absolutely must win over the Colts for two reasons.

Why the Vikings Absolutely Have to Beat the Colts

49ers in Close Pursuit of No. 2 Seed

Why the Vikings Absolutely Have to Beat the Colts
Sep 12, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports.

The San Francisco 49ers take on the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on Thursday night. There’s a reasonable chance the 49ers are triumphant, although that’s assuredly not a lock.

Well, here’s the deal. Should the 49ers down the Seahawks while the Vikings mind-bogglingly lose to the Colts, that’s a wrap on Minnesota’s quest for the No. 2 seed, at least for a week. San Francisco currently holds the NFC-conference tiebreaker over the Vikings and would seize the No. 2 spot, for now, if the teams finish with the same record. A 49ers win and Vikings loss would knot the squads at 10-4, and the advantage favors San Francisco for seeding.

In that scenario, the Vikings probably won’t regain the No. 2 seed, especially if they’re revealed to be bad enough via losing to the Colts.

Dec 11, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports.

Why does the two-seed matter? Simple. It will determine where the Vikings play their second postseason game — if they win on Wildcard Weekend. The difference between staying ahead of the 49ers right now — is the difference between a playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium or Levi Stadium.

Where would you rather see the Vikings play, just one win away from the NFC Championship? At home or on the road? Exactly.

This Is as Easy as It Gets the Rest of the Way

Vikings Fans Become Colts Fans at Noon
Nov 13, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports.

Win, lose, or draw — this Colts matchup is as “easy as it gets” for the rest of the regular season and certainly the postseason. The Vikings cannot dink around and perform as they did versus the Dallas Cowboys before Thanksgiving. In other words, because they are at home, this is the last “gimme” on the Vikings schedule in 2022. Write that down.

The Giants strut into town on Christmas Eve, and they may be in desperation mode to keep wildcard playoff aspirations alive. Indianapolis is nearly mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, so the Week 15 game in Minneapolis has no desperation on its end. The Colts are playing spoiler at this juncture.

Nov 27, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

Similarly, the week after that is New Year’s Day, when Minnesota travels to Green Bay. By that time, the Packers could be winners of three straight with ogling eyes at “running the table” and reaching the playoffs. And even if the Packers are eliminated by losing to Los Angeles Rams this week or the Miami Dolphins next weekend, they’ll still be a pain in the buttocks for Minnesota, refusing to lie down for their hated foe.

Then, the Vikings finish the season at Chicago. Vikings fans who’ve been around for longer than five years know that win-loss records do not matter when Minnesota sets foot on Soldier Field. Weird stuff will happen, the game will resemble slop, and the Vikings will feel lucky to survive.

This is it — the Vikings last untroublesome game on paper.

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Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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