Vikings move up to No. 8 in NFC playoff race with Saints loss

Dec. 28—A day after dropping from No. 7 to No. 9 in the NFC playoff race, the Vikings at least moved up to No. 8 on Monday night when New Orleans lost 20-3 to Miami.

Seven teams will make the playoffs in the NFC. With two games left, the Vikings (7-8) trail No. 6 San Francisco (8-7) and No. 7 Philadelphia (8-7). The Vikings would lose a head-to-head tiebreaker to the 49ers but would win one over the Eagles.

Atlanta (7-8) is No. 9 in the NFC and the Saints (7-8) are No. 10. The Vikings, who lost 30-23 at home Sunday to the Los Angeles Rams, would win a tiebreaker over the Falcons and it remains to be seen if they would hold one over New Orleans.

If the Vikings lose at Green Bay (12-3) on Sunday night and the Saints defeat Carolina (5-10) at home earlier that day, New Orleans would win on the fourth tiebreaker, which is strength of victory. Otherwise, Minnesota would win it.

But if the Vikings lose to the Packers, any tiebreakers might not matter. After facing Green Bay, Minnesota will close the season at home Jan. 9 against Chicago (5-10).

“I’m just looking at one game, the next one,” head coach Mike Zimmer said of his team’s playoff scenarios.

The 49ers finish with the games at home against Houston (4-11) on Sunday and in the road against Rams (11-4) on Jan. 9. The Eagles close with games Sunday at Washington (6-9) and at home Jan. 9 against Dallas (11-4).

The Falcons close with games at Buffalo (9-6) on Sunday and at home against the Saints on Jan. 9. And the Saints, as noted, conclude with Carolina and Atlanta.