The Vikings’ upset of the Saints sets up a bunch of intriguing possibilities.
First of all, only two sixth seeds have ever won a Super Bowl - the 2005 Steelers and 2010 Packers.
The Vikings just won at the Superdome, host of a bunch of Super Bowls and epic playoff games.
Next they’ll play in San Francisco. Now, they won’t be playing in Candlestick Park, where the 49ers built their dynasty, but the team colors will be the same.
If they win there, they could wind up in Green Bay for the NFC championship game. The teams have never met in an NFC title game. I think there might be some local interest in that.
And if the Vikings won that one, they’d be headed to Miami, another traditional location for Super Bowls.
Now that the Patriots appear to finally be in decline, are there any teams left in the NFL that scare you?
The two No. 1 seeds have young quarterbacks who have never played in a playoff game before. Only two remaining quarterbacks have won a Super Bowl, and they’ll face each other in Green Bay next weekend.
I still think the Ravens are the best team, and the 49ers are the most complete team, but if there was ever a good year to be an underdog, this might be it.
Other Monday morning thoughts:
-Clowney’s hit on Carson Wentz should have been called targeting. There are plenty of plays where players accidentally use their heads. Clowney had to contort his body to make sure the crown of his helmet hit Wentz. The NFL blew it. This is a recording.
-Russell Wilson is one of the great winners in recent sports history.
-I think one of the big keys to the playoff bracket will be the health of Ravens running back Mark Ingram. He suffered a non-contact calf injury two weeks ago, and those don’t often heal quickly.
-Drew Brees’ arm looks terrible. He underthrew Ted Ginn on the pass that Anthony Harris intercepted, and he almost bounced a pass to a wide-open Michael Thomas at the end of the first half. The Vikings seemed to plan for this. They kept a safety over Michael Thomas most of the game, and Thomas was limited to short receptions. The Vikings did not fear the deep pass, at least not when Brees was throwing.
-It’s a brutal sport, and the ability of Dalvin Cook (two shoulders) and Eric Kendricks (quad) to play at full speed, or very close to it, was crucial for a Vikings victory.
You can find my podcasts at TalkNorth.com, including my weekly chat with former Vikings GM Jeff Diamond.