Jim Souhan
See more of the story

These are confusing times for Vikings fans. Enemies are friends, friends are enemies and the future feels as perilous as a stroll in basketball shoes across black ice.

The Vikings are good enough to be called lucky and lucky enough to be called good, the rest of the division is a dumpster not hot enough to catch fire, the playoffs are a certainty, and Kirk Cousins is being praised for wearing chains, or, as we youths like to call them, chainz.

None of this may make sense to a fan base that careens between irrational optimism and justified fatalism, so as a public service, here is whom the Vikings should be cheering for and against in the season's remaining games:

Green Bay Packers: For.

This season has provided a rare opportunity for the Vikings to laugh at the Packers, but Vikings fans shouldn't want to bury them.

You don't want the Packers playing so badly that they wind up with a top draft pick. You also don't want Aaron Rodgers to get healthy and feel good about the franchise by the end of the season.

Vikings fans should cheer for Cheddar Chaos: Jordan Love playing well enough to prompt the front office to contemplate trading Rodgers and destroying the franchise financially.

Philadelphia Eagles: Against.

The Vikings should chase the No. 1 seed. It's a long shot, but the Eagles have a tougher schedule than the Vikings and no longer look unbeatable.

How easy is the Vikings' remaining schedule? The Jets and Lions, two of the most incompetent franchises in recent history, might represent the two toughest games on the remaining schedule. The Vikings could continue to win ugly, close games and wind up 15-2.

San Francisco 49ers: For.

The 49ers might be the best team in the NFC at the moment. They are the first NFL franchise to have All-Pros at running back (Christian McCaffrey), receiver (Deebo Samuel) and tight end (George Kittle), and they have an excellent defense.

If the 49ers keep winning, the Vikings won't have to face them in the first round of the playoffs.

Chicago Bears: For.

The Bears are lousy, but they have a bunch of draft picks and cap space, and Justin Fields is looking like he could imitate Jalen Hurts by next season. The Vikings need to hope that the Bears don't wind up with the first or second pick, enabling them to trade down with quarterback-hungry teams.

Detroit Lions: For.

As with the Bears, the Lions are a bad team with an intriguing future. Another top-3 draft pick could land them their quarterback of the future or an edge rusher to pair with Aidan Hutchinson.

If the season ended on Sunday morning, they would have the fifth pick (via the Rams) and the 11th pick. They could be dangerous, and soon.

Los Angeles Rams: For.

That Rams pick could make a big difference for the Lions, so the Vikings have to hope the defending champs somehow rebound.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: For.

Tom Brady looks old and the Bucs look, like so many recent Super Bowl winners, like they can't sustain the health or energy to win another. But a struggling Vikings pass defense does not want to see Brady in the first round.

Dallas Cowboys: For.

Maybe the Cowboys' 40-3 victory over the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in November was a one-off, an irrelevance, but do the Vikings really want to find out?

The Cowboys and 49ers are among the hottest teams in the NFL. If the Cowboys drop a couple of games and the Eagles win the NFC East, the Cowboys could fall to a seed that would match them against the Vikings in the first round.

New York Giants: Against.

The Giants are exactly the kind of team the Vikings want to play in the first round of the playoffs, one with little recent playoff experience, an unproven quarterback, a mediocre offense and a negative point differential. If the Vikings are the No. 2 seed, they should want the Giants to be their No. 7 matchup.

Washington Commanders: Tough call.

The Commanders have a powerhouse defensive front and a scrambling quarterback in Taylor Heinicke.

The Vikings should rather face Washington than most other playoff teams, but it wouldn't be a comfortable game, and as of this writing, Washington is the team the Vikings were most likely to face.