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NFL schedule 2012: Vikings can clinch playoff berth with win

Minnesota can complete its surprising run to the playoffs with a victory over the Packers on Sunday.

USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings (9-6) are one of the major surprises in the NFL this season, and they can sew up their unexpected run to the NFC playoffs with a win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. That's a task easier said than done, of course, but the Vikings will have the advantage of playing in front of the home crowd.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, Green Bay still has a lot to play for. At 11-4, the Packers currently hold the No. 2 seed in the NFC, ensuring them a bye in the first round and a home game in the second. That all goes out the window, though, if the Packers lose and the San Francisco 49ers win, a scenario that would drop the Packers to the third seed. Minnesota, meanwhile, is in with a win, but out with a loss and a Chicago Bears win over the Detroit Lions. Sunday's game between the Vikings and Packers kicks at 3:25 p.m. CT on FOX.

The Vikings will be keeping an eye on that aforementioned matchup between the Bears and Lions. A Bears loss would be an immense help to Minnesota, but it doesn't ensure a playoff berth in of itself. If Chicago falls, the Vikings could still make the playoffs provided the Washington Redskins knock off the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants lose to the Philadelphia Eagles. The game between the Bears and Lions kicks at 1 p.m. CT on FOX.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.