Minnesota Vikings Fans Should Celebrate the New NFL Playoff Expansion
The NFL has announced a format switch for the playoffs in which 14 teams will qualify. For Minnesota Vikings fans, this could end some heartbreak.
Imagine not having to feel the disappointment in 2003 when the Vikings were kicked out of the playoffs by the Arizona Cardinals. I remember it like it was yesterday. 15-year-old Jerry P was devastated that everything was taken away (again) in the final moments of the season.
Since the NFL updated its playoff format in 1990 to 12 qualifying teams, the Minnesota Vikings have been left on the outside of the playoff picture four times. Each of those times has come after the turn of the Millenium.
Joining the heartbreak of 2003 was 2005. Minnesota had an opportunity to put themselves in a great spot to make the postseason with a home game against Pittsburgh in Week 15. Minnesota would drop the game 18-3. Following a Week 16 loss to Baltimore, the Vikings were eliminated from the playoffs and went on to finish the season 9-7, one position behind Washington for the final Wild Card spot.
Speaking of the Washington Redskins, the 2007 Vikings needed a home, primetime win over Washington in Week 16 to clinch a playoff spot. Spoiler, that didn't happen. Minnesota finished the year 8-8 and one spot outside of the playoffs (held a three-way tiebreaker with Philadelphia and Arizona).
Remember going into Week 17 of the 2018 season? Kirk Cousins and the Vikings had a chance to book a ticket to the playoffs with a win at home over Chicago. The Bears had nothing to play for! The Bears knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs with a 24-10 victory. Under the new format, that game wouldn't have had any significance.
Granted, each of those seasons the Vikings had plenty of opportunities and squandered it all away. Most of those games at home even. Most Vikings fans probably even agree that the team didn't deserve to make the playoffs in those seasons with the way they ended.
But I'll also be the first to say that the Vikings manage to find a way into the 7th and final Wild Card spot moving forward, I won't be disappointed in that. So let's celebrate the new format!