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Vikings' chances of making playoffs: 1.04 percent

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.--The Vikings' chances of making the playoffs are minuscule, but Mike Zimmer isn't planning to change how he coaches. According to a representative at numberFire.com, the Vikings (7-7) had a 1.04 percent chance at a postseason ...

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.-The Vikings' chances of making the playoffs are minuscule, but Mike Zimmer isn't planning to change how he coaches.

According to a representative at numberFire.com, the Vikings (7-7) had a 1.04 percent chance at a postseason invitation prior to Monday night's Carolina at Washington game. The good news is they are guaranteed of still being mathematically alive entering Saturday's game at Green Bay.

"I haven't looked at any of that," Zimmer said Monday. "My job is to go out and beat Green Bay, however we do it."

Zimmer declined to say if Minnesota being all but eliminated could result in him using younger players more or banged-up players less.

The Vikings got here by going 2-7 since their 5-0 start. They hit bottom in Sunday's embarrassing 34-6 loss to Indianapolis (7-7) at U.S. Bank Stadium.

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"After watching the tape, couple times, offensively it was a poor performance," Zimmer said. "Defensively, very uncharacteristic. ... We've got to do a better job as coaches, myself, players. ... I don't think it was lack of effort, I think for some reason they were ... maybe lethargic is the right word. I kind of felt it in pregame. I don't know the reason."

Zimmer did wonder if "maybe I'm over-coaching them" when it comes to players having trouble getting off blocks. He was clueless, though, as to why the Vikings are continuing to make so many mental errors.

Sunday's game featured defensive linemen Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen being called for pivotal penalties and receivers Stefon Diggs and Charles Johnson being flagged for false starts.

Joseph's penalty for leverage on a first-quarter field-goal attempt gave the Colts a first down, and they converted their second chance into a touchdown. Griffen's offside penalty in the second quarter gave the Colts a first down on third and 5 during a touchdown drive.

"Pretty poor," Zimmer said of Sunday's mental errors. "That's kind of been a deal that we've been dealing with all year long. I don't know how to observe a mental error, but I know that we're making those mistakes that, really, all four of those, you can't do. It's kind of been rearing its ugly head for a long time, and I can't get it fixed."

There is plenty Zimmer hasn't been able to fix lately. The Vikings have struggled all season on offense, thanks in large part to numerous injuries on the line.

Zimmer has been at a loss at times to explain lapses by his vaunted defense. The Vikings dropped from No. 1 in the NFL in scoring defense to No. 6 after Indianapolis lit them up for 34 points.

Linebacker Anthony Barr made the Pro Bowl last season, but Zimmer said Monday he "can do a lot better" in "all" areas. After being ranked as the NFL's top outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme last year by Pro Football Focus, Barr ranks 84th out of 91 players this season.

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The Vikings have been eliminated from the NFC North race and would have been ousted from wild-card contention had Dallas not defeated Tampa Bay on Sunday night. They still need plenty of help in order to make a second straight playoff appearance for the first time since 2009.

To get in, the Vikings must win their final two games, have the Buccaneers (8-6) lose their final two and Washington (7-5-1) lose two of its final three. They also can't finish in a three-way division tie with the Packers (8-6) and Detroit (9-5); Green Bay would win that tiebreaker.

"It's very uphill," guard Alex Boone said. "If anything, we're out here to ruin everybody else's season. Whatever it takes to get you motivated. We're still in (the playoff race) a little bit, I guess."

Zimmer's charge is to find a way to motivate his team following Sunday's disaster. He admitted Monday, a day off for players, that he still was formulating a plan.

"I'm trying to figure out what's the best way to approach this," he said. "They're obviously disappointed. I'm disappointed. ... But we need to fix it. I need to do a better job. I need to get these guys on point."

Related Topics: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
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