It was a good thing, at least for the nerves of Vikings fans, that Minnesota handled Chicago on Sunday and didn't leave clinching the No. 2 seed and gaining a first-round bye up to the outcomes of three afternoon games.
Had the Vikings lost, they would have also needed the Saints and Rams to lose while the Panthers won in order to drop out of the No. 2 spot. Well … the Saints and Rams did lose. And the Panthers were in a close game for quite a while before ultimately losing to the Falcons. The Vikings would have survived, but not without nervous moments.
By the way, if the Rams were hoping to fall to the No. 4 seed and a potentially easier postseason path by resting players Sunday, their plan didn't work. They still got the No. 3 seed when the Saints and Panthers both lost, meaning they'll play the Vikings if they can get past the Falcons — no easy task — in the division round.
Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. email@example.com.