In the NFC, four teams have locked down playoffs spots. Their quarterbacks? Matt Ryan, Michael Vick and Jay Cutler – all former first-round picks – and Drew Brees, who was the first draft pick in the second round when he was selected by the Chargers. The Rams are ahead in the NFC West, where their quarterback is April's first overall pick Sam Bradford. Three teams are still in contention for the final wild card spot – Green Bay, New York and Tampa Bay. All of them have quarterbacks that were drafted in the first round – Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning and Josh Freeman.
Things aren't much different in the AFC. While you have Tom Brady, a former sixth-round pick acknowledged as one of the all-time greats (and arguably the biggest draft-day steal), of the other four teams that are guaranteed to make the postseason, three of them have quarterbacks drafted in the first round – Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez. Only Brady and former teammate Matt Cassel weren't first-round picks. The lone remaining playoff spot open is likely to be taken by the Colts and former first overall draft pick Peyton Manning.
There was a time in the NFL when teams could get to Super Bowls and even win them without having a highly-drafted quarterback. Guys like Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson won Super Bowl titles, but both won championships thanks to dominating defenses in Baltimore and Tampa Bay. It would appear, at the current time in the NFL, that the teams that are successful have quarterbacks that franchises took a risk on greatness and got paid off.
If the Vikings needed a reason to consider doing what needs to be done in order to get back to the playoffs, the answer may well lie in investing in a quarterback. The numbers don't lie. A highly-touted college QB seems to be the ticket to getting to the postseason.