The Vikings were 5-0 and favorites to win the Super Bowl according to Football Outsiders’ odds and simulations, a month ago.
One of our headlines that week cautiously read "Vikings are in pretty lofty company when it comes to how the season could play out” and the second graph of the story explained “The Vikings are only five games into the season, and all sorts of things can happen. All sorts of things, in fact, already have happened that threatened to wreck this year.”
Well, all sorts of things continue to happen and the Vikings haven’t won again since they were the league’s best team. The free fall to 5-4 has led to a much different outlook for the team’s playoff chances.
The Vikings had a 93.9 and 82.1 percent chance, respectively, of making the playoffs based on projections by Football Outsiders and MakeNFLPlayoffs.com. Those numbers have dropped significantly after four straight losses.
Before Sunday’s loss at Washington, Football Outsiders only gave the Vikings 64 percent chance of making the playoffs (this week’s numbers had not yet been released). MakeNFLPlayoffs.com dropped the Vikings’ chances of making the postseason below 50 percent to 44.8.
The NFC North is the only division where all four teams have below a 50 percent chance to make the playoffs according to MakeNFLPlayoffs.com
The Vikings chances of making the Super Bowl according to Football Outsiders through Week 9 were only 10.4 percent, down from 30.1 percent after the 5-0 start. Here’s a reminder of how pretty the picture once was:
*Football Outsiders simulations have the Vikings slated for 12.1 victories this season — better than any other team in the NFL. They also have the Vikings with a 42.2 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC and also a 19.8 percent chance of getting the No. 2 seed. Add that up and it’s a 61 percent chance of having a first-round playoff bye. Overall, they have a 93.9 percent chance of making the playoffs, better than any other team in the league.
*That gives the Vikings a whopping 52 percent chance of reaching the NFC title game. Think of that: at this moment it’s better than a coin flip, per Football Outsiders, that Minnesota will be one game away from the Super Bowl this season. Again, that’s best in the league.
*But what you really care about is the Super Bowl. The Vikings check in with a 30.1 percent chance of reaching the Super Bowl and a 17.4 percent chance of winning the Super Bowl. Again, both are best in the league.
(Note: We will update the story when new numbers from Football Outsiders are published later on Tuesday.)
FiveThirtyEight gives the Vikings a 52 percent chance of making the playoffs and only a two percent likelihood they win the Super Bowl.
Vegas, through Week 9, still gave the Vikings 20-to-1 odds to win the Super Bowl, which is where they were when the season started with Sam Bradford slated to be the new quarterback.
As we noted a month ago, all sorts of things can happen and these numbers could again look very different in mid-December.