The Vikings are home underdogs to the Seahawks in Sunday’s playoff game, which isn’t a surprise given Seattle’s recent history in the NFC and against the Vikings. But none of that should dissuade anyone from this basic opinion:
It’s impressive that the Vikings won the division by beating Green Bay at Lambeau Field on Sunday night, and it’s very good to have a home playoff game.
While the tone among many Packers fans right now is one of talking themselves into being happy to go to Washington instead of hosting the Vikings in the postseason — which tells you all you need to know about the state of the Packers and Vikings at this moment — some Vikings fans also appear torn.
Don’t be. You always want to play at home. And you have to play good teams in the playoffs no matter what.
Those two sentiments go somewhat hand-in-hand for a little history lesson I’ve prepared. All-time, the Vikings are a much better home team than road team in the postseason. That shouldn’t be a surprise given both the regular notion of home-field advantage and the fact that home teams are naturally higher seeds and therefore have a built-in record advantage over playoff opponents in most cases.
Still, numbers are numbers. Consider:
Fact No. 1: The Vikings are 19-27 all-time in the postseason, including the Super Bowl. The home/away breakdown is as such: Minnesota is 13-7 all-time in home playoff games, 6-16 all-time in road playoff games and 0-4, of course, in the four neutral site games in the Super Bowl. So that’s a .650 winning percentage at home, and a .231 winning percentage away from home (road or neutral). Of those 20 home playoff games, 10 each were outdoors and indoors. The Vikings are 7-3 in outdoor home playoff games and were 6-4 in indoor home playoff games at the Metrodome.
Fact No. 2: The last time the Vikings had an outdoor home playoff game? Why, that was after the 1976 season. That also happens to be the last time the Vikings went to the Super Bowl. In that year, they beat Washington and the Rams at Metropolitan Stadium, with the kickoff temperature in the latter checking in at a brisk 19 degrees. They then lost to the Raiders in the Super Bowl. History does not tell us what will happen, only what has happened. But the cumulative weight of history can help us understand tendencies.
That Vikings’ history includes a 38-7 Seattle victory in Minnesota last month. But it also includes 46 playoff games. And for the Vikings, just like almost every other team, it’s better to be at home during the playoffs.