Will the Vikings Make the Playoffs Despite Loss to Seahawks on MNF?

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings throws the ball in the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on December 10 in Seattle, Washington. Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings are still in charge of their destiny, despite a bruising defeat in Seattle on Monday Night Football.

The Vikings lost 21-7 against the Seahawks and fell to 6-6-1, while Seattle improved to 8-5 and tightened its grip on the first wild card spot in the NFC.

Read more: NFL Playoff Picture 2019: Which teams secured a postseason spot in Week 14?

Monday's night defeat was the second in a row for Minnesota but the Vikings are still hanging onto the second wild card spot in the division, as the three teams behind them lost. The Philadelphia Eagles slipped to 6-7 after losing 29-23 in overtime against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, while the Redskins have the same record after being trounced 40-16 by the Giants in another NFC East matchup.

The Carolina Panthers are also 6-7 after losing 26-20 in Cleveland in Week 14, a result which extended their losing streak to five games.

ESPN's Football Power Index still gives the Vikings a 71 percent chance to make the postseason but while they have their fate in their hands with three games left, they must get their act together as quickly as possible.

Two of Minnesota's remaining three games are at home, beginning with Sunday's matchup against Miami. The Dolphins kept their season alive with a dramatic late win over the Patriots in Week 14 to improve to 7-6 and are very much in the hunt for a wildcard spot in the AFC.

The penultimate game of the regular season sees the Vikings travel to Detroit and while the Lions are likely to be mathematically out of the playoffs picture by then, Minnesota shouldn't underestimate the perils of a divisional matchup particularly given their dismal record on the road.

The Vikings are 2-4-1 away from Minneapolis this season. In the five occasions Minnesota has made the playoffs over the last decade, it has never lost more than four games on the road.

Minnesota ends the regular season with another all-NFC North matchup when they take on the Bears on home turf in Week 17.

Bar a major upset along the way, Chicago will have clinched the divisional title by then but the fact the Bears might adopt a more relaxed approach should be of little comfort for the Vikings, who are now 0-5-1 against teams that enter the game .500 or better and 6-1 versus teams that have a .500 or worse record.

Even if they make the playoffs, it is hard to imagine the Vikings embarking on a long postseason run. Having entered the season with high expectations coming off an NFC Championship Game appearance, Minnesota signed Cousins, regarded as the top free agent quarterback this offseason, to a three-year, $84-million contract.

Cousins was expected to be the missing piece in the jigsaw but although he has performed well, the team as a whole is worse than last year's and it's difficult to figure out why.

The defense isn't as dominant as last season, but still ranks among the best in the league. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen have been excellent, with Thielen recording his 100th reception on Monday night.

Head coach Mike Zimmer has three games to fix it but admitted singling out the root cause wasn't easy.

"That's a good question," he was quoted as saying by ESPN when asked what his team's issue was. "Keep at it. Keep trying to find things that we're good at. We didn't score very many points tonight, didn't score very many points last week."