Vikings Drop Out of Playoffs as They are Defeated by Tampa Bay, 26-14
The Vikings lost a pivotal week 14 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that currently drops them out of the top eight teams that make the playoffs in the NFC. Fortunately for Minnesota, they aren’t out of it yet, but their chances may be slim to none given their next three games they play.
The Vikings downfall this year has been their special team play, which is the exact reason why they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past Sunday. They had 10 more first downs then the Buccaneers, 27 more plays ran and had 20 more minutes in time of possession. In theory and on paper, this is the game the Vikings had won easily. However, Dan Bailey’s struggles continue as the veteran kicker went on to miss four kicks in total. In the second quarter, he missed the extra point after a Dalvin Cook rushing touchdown. From there on, he would go on to miss a 36 yarder, 54 yarder and a 46 yarder. In his last two games, Bailey has missed four consecutive field goals and three straight extra points. This has probably been the worse two game stretch in his career.
Besides from the struggles by their kicker, the Vikings played a really clean game and did everything that they had to do, correctly. Kirk Cousins threw for 225 yards and a touchdown and Dalvin Cook added 102 yards on the ground for a score. They only had one turnover which came off of a Cousins fumble to seal the game with a little over two minutes left to play.
Even on the defensive side of the ball, they did everything right. They only let the Buccaneers rush for 107 yards on 26 carries and one score on the ground, and they held Tom Brady to 196 passing yards and two touchdowns.
This was a winnable game for the Vikings that they lost due to their special team play once again. On top of that, they only had three possessions in the entire second half because their first two drives spanned over 15 minutes and only scored seven points. This has been a reoccurring storyline during all of the Viking’s loses this year and may be the sole reason why they don’t sneak into the playoffs once the season ends.
Luckily for the Vikings, they aren’t mathematically out of it yet. They face the Bears, Saints and the Lions and need to run the table. The worse they can do is go 2-1 and hope that the Arizona Cardinals go 1-2 against the Eagles, 49ers and Rams. With a win against the Bears next week, they will hold the tiebreaker over Chicago if it comes down to that.