Unless you’ve been living in seclusion for the past few weeks, you’re aware that the Vikings could finish the regular season anywhere from the NFC’s #2 seed to the conference’s #4 seed.
The difference in those positions is significant because the #2 seed will watch Wild Card Weekend from the comforts of home while the #4 seed will be on their home turf battling it out against a wild card team.
Obviously the preferred position is the #2 seed, primarily because of the 1st-round bye that accompanies it, right? Well, oddly enough, 4 of the last 8 teams to play in a Super Bowl also played on Wild Card Weekend and 3 of those 4 wild card teams actually won the NFL title.
So while conventional wisdom says having a bye and a week to rest is the way to go, there’s also an angle that suggests there’s a benefit to playing in the 1st round of the playoffs.
Asked about this dilemma today during his regular Wednesday meeting with reporters, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress acknowledged the benefits of having a bye and the benefits to be gained by playing in the 1st round.
“Just that collective take a breath and heal up a little bit and be fresh, that’s the upside of that,” he said of having a bye in the 1st round. “And the upside of the other one is that you continue to play. You’ve played a game the week before somebody that has a bye, so they’ve been off the field a little bit…if there’s any rustiness that occurs from that time off.
“And obviously those teams that are playing somebody that had a bye, they’re coming in with some ups because they won the week before and they won in a playoff setting the week before.”
In the end though, I think it’s silly to suggest any player, coach or team would actually prefer to play on Wild Card Weekend as opposed to having a bye. After all, you can’t be eliminated from the Super Bowl tournament while you’re enjoying a 1st-round bye.
Childress seemed to agree.
“There are two sides to the coin,” Childress opined. “The biggest part of that is the ability to not to play a game at the end of the week and the wear and tear that your body goes through.”
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