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Vikings punch their ticket, guaranteeing four new playoff teams from last year

The Vikings still have an outside chance to win the NFC North as they go into a pivotal matchup with the Packers on Monday Night Football in Week 16.

The Vikings clinched a playoff berth Saturday night without even taking the field.

The Rams’ loss to the 49ers sewed up a trip to the postseason for Minnesota, which missed the playoffs a year ago after making the NFC Championship Game in the 2017 season.

It’s the third time the Vikings have made the postseason in Mike Zimmer’s six seasons.

Still with a chance to win the NFC North, the Vikings’ playoff berth won’t change the team’s plans for Monday night.

“We like to win around here, so let’s go win,” Zimmer said earlier Saturday when asked about the possibility of clinching before Monday’s kickoff, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press.

The Vikings are one of four teams to miss the playoffs last season who now are guaranteed a berth in the postseason this season. The Bills, Packers and 49ers also missed the playoffs last year but have clinched berths this season.

That guarantees that for the 30th consecutive season at least 30 percent of the playoff field will have new contenders from the previous season.

Since the current 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season after failing to make the postseason the previous year.