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If the playoffs started today, the Vikings would be in

Tampa Bay has lost three games in 11 days and that's good news for Minnesota.
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If the playoffs started today, the Minnesota Vikings would be in. That's how crazy the last two weeks in the NFC have been, with the Vikings beating the Bears and 49ers while the Buccaneers have lost to the Lions, Falcons and Bills in a span of 11 days. 

Yesterday we used our crystal ball to predict best- and worst-case records for NFC North teams when the calendar flipped to November. Now we can see how the Vikings' upcoming schedule compares to the teams they may be fighting with for a wild-card spot. 

There are currently five teams with a record of 3-4 in the NFC: Minnesota, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, Washington and New Orleans. The Vikings own the tiebreaker over the Bucs, Rams and Commanders thanks to a better conference record. Tampa's win over Minnesota doesn't matter because there are more than two teams tied, according to NFL tiebreaker rules

New Orleans doesn't factor in because Tampa owns the tiebreaker over them. 

Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins leads the NFL in completions, attempts and touchdown passes entering Week 8. 

According to Tankathon, only three teams in the NFL have an easier remaining schedule than the Bucs and Saints. Washington has the third-hardest remaining schedule while the Rams sit in the middle at 17th hardest. The Vikings have the ninth-easiest remaining schedule. 

Focusing on the five teams tied at 3-4 now is just a sliver of what matters since things will change significantly over the final 11 weeks of the regular season, but Minnesota is in a good position to stay relevant in the wild-card race even if the Lions run away with the NFC North. 

And don't get it twisted, the Lions have a great chance to run away with the North because they own the second-easiest remaining schedule in the league. 

Alas, everything that is relevant today could become irrelevant if the Vikings don't win at Lambeau Field on Sunday. But if they do leave Green Bay victorious, the notion that Minnesota is a legitimate playoff contender gets very, very real.