Vikings Rooting Guide: 3 games to watch in Week 12 of the 2023 season

Which games' outcomes in Week 12 could have the most impact on the Minnesota Vikings?

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray / Mike Christy/GettyImages

As the Minnesota Vikings prepare for their matchup on Monday night, which Week 12 games on Sunday are the most important to the team's playoff chances?

For the first time since Week 2, the Minnesota Vikings won't be participating in one of the NFL games set to take place on Sunday this week. Instead, the Vikings' 2023 schedule has them hosting the Chicago Bears for a Week 12 matchup on Monday night.

Despite Minnesota not playing on Sunday, there are still plenty of reasons for the team and their fans to pay attention to some of the other games taking place around the league this weekend.

Heading into Monday's contest with a 6-5 record, the New York Times' playoff simulator currently has the Vikings' chance to make the 2023 postseason at 68 percent. We should expect that percentage to increase or decrease before Monday based on how some of Sunday's games turn out.

Which games should Minnesota Vikings fans be watching in Week 12?

Game No. 1: New Orleans Saints (5-5) at Atlanta Falcons (4-6)
Time: 12 p.m. CST on FOX

Since they've already defeated both the Saints and Falcons this year, the Vikings would hold the tiebreaker if they finished the 2023 season with the same record as either team.

But New Orleans and Atlanta are two squads to pay attention to if Minnesota struggles during the next few weeks. Both are right on the outside of the NFC playoff picture as wild-card teams, so both teams could potentially move up in the postseason standings if the Vikings trend in the wrong direction in their final few games.

A Falcons loss in this matchup would likely help Minnesota out the most, as it would push Atlanta even further out of the playoff picture.

Game No. 2: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6) at Indianapolis Colts (5-5)
Time: 12 p.m. CST on CBS

Since they lost to them in the 2023 regular-season opener, the Vikings really can't afford to finish their schedule with the same record as the Bucs. Tampa Bay currently holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Minnesota, so both teams finishing the 2023 campaign with the same record would mean that the Bucs would land a higher spot in the NFC playoff standings.

The Vikings shouldn't worry too much about Tampa Bay climbing the standings, though, since they've lost five of their last six games. However, the Colts are 1-4 at home this season, so it wouldn't be shocking if the Bucs were able to add a win to their record on Sunday.

Game No. 3: Los Angeles Rams (4-6) at Arizona Cardinals (2-9)
Time: 3:05 p.m. CST on FOX

The Rams are another team that isn't too far behind the Vikings in the NFC playoff standings heading into Week 12. A loss to Kyler Murray and the Cardinals on Sunday would certainly hurt Los Angeles' postseason chances significantly and help Minnesota out whether they lose to the Bears on Monday or not.

Arizona is 1-1 since Murray returned to the field in Week 10, so this weekend's contest should prove to be a difficult one for the Rams, and a loss for Los Angeles wouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.