Vikings draft-position possibilities increase

The Vikings' win on Saturday night opened them to a lesser draft pick. Now they can no longer get the first pick and could fall as far as No. 6 overall.

While the Vikings don't want to finish with the worst record in franchise history, a loss to Chicago Sunday could be a lot better in the long run for the team. After winning Sunday, they not only took themselves out of contention for the No. 1 overall draft pick, they put themselves in jeopardy of dropping out of the top five.

If the Vikings lose Sunday, they can pick no lower than No. 3 overall. However, if they win, they could drop like a rock.

As it currently stands, the Vikings are the only team in the league with three wins – one more than Indianapolis and St. Louis. There is a chance that, if the Vikings lose and the Rams win, Minnesota could end up with the No. 2 pick in the draft. However, seeing as the 49ers – the Rams' opponent Sunday – need to win to assure the No. 2 seed in the playoffs and the benefits that come with it (earning a first-round bye and guaranteeing that if they have to play New Orleans it won't be in the Superdome), the odds of the Rams taking out the 12-3 Niners are limited at best, so the No. 3 spot seems the most realistic … if the Vikings lose.

However, if the Vikings win, things get interesting. There are three teams with four wins – Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Jacksonville. The first tie-breaker for teams with the same record is strength of schedule. It would seem to make sense that the team that played the most difficult schedule would have the advantage on draft day. Not so fast, my friend. The NFL rewards the worst team by giving the team with the weakest strength of the schedule the higher pick.

Why is that bad news? The Vikings have a tougher strength of schedule than all three of the teams with four wins. As a result, the bottom line has become quite simple – lose Sunday and the Vikings will pick no worse than No. 3, win Sunday and their first-round draft pick could drop all the way to No. 6.

It's hard for fans to agree with the sentiment that the Vikings should find a way to lose games, but it would appear there will be a lot more long-term benefit if the Vikings lose to Chicago Sunday than if they win.

TUESDAY NOTES

  • The Bears are likely to be without both Matt Forte and Marion Barber in their backfield Sunday in the regular-season finale against the Vikings. But that doesn't mean they won't have a running game. Backup Kalil Bell got his second career start Christmas night against the Packers and responded with 121 yards rushing, earning another start against the Vikings.

  • In a piece of irony, Drew Brees, who lit up the Vikings for 415 yards and five touchdowns two weeks ago, broke the 27-year old record for passing yards in a season set by Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins. When Brees was a free agent and eventually signed with New Orleans, there were only two teams interested in him – the Saints and the Dolphins. Miami opted to trade a second-round draft pick to the Vikings for an injured Daunte Culpepper, leaving Brees with no other option than to sign with the Saints.

  • While Brees set the passing record Monday night, how he did it will come under scrutiny. Needing 31 yards to break the record in the final two minutes, Sean Payton called nothing but pass plays with New Orleans already having a comfortable 22-point lead. Some would call that running up the score, but it was needed to Brees the record at home on Monday Night Football.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.



  • Viking Update Top Stories

    \r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" While the Vikings don't want to finish with the worst record in franchise history, a loss to Chicago Sunday could be a lot better in the long run for the team. After winning Sunday, they not only took themselves out of contention for the No. 1 overall draft pick, they put themselves in jeopardy of dropping out of the top five. If the Vikings lose Sunday, they can pick no lower than No. 3 overall. However, if they win, they could drop like a rock. As it currently stands, the Vikings are the only team in the league with three wins – one more than Indianapolis and St. Louis. There is a chance that, if the Vikings lose and the Rams win, Minnesota could end up with the No. 2 pick in the draft. However, seeing as the 49ers – the Rams' opponent Sunday – need to win to assure the No. 2 seed in the playoffs and the benefits that come with it (earning a first-round bye and guaranteeing that if they have to play New Orleans it won't be in the Superdome), the odds of the Rams taking out the 12-3 Niners are limited at best, so the No. 3 spot seems the most realistic … if the Vikings lose. However, if the Vikings win, things get interesting. There are three teams with four wins – Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Jacksonville. The first tie-breaker for teams with the same record is strength of schedule. It would seem to make sense that the team that played the most difficult schedule would have the advantage on draft day. Not so fast, my friend. The NFL rewards the worst team by giving the team with the weakest strength of the schedule the higher pick. Why is that bad news? The Vikings have a tougher strength of schedule than all three of the teams with four wins. As a result, the bottom line has become quite simple – lose Sunday and the Vikings will pick no worse than No. 3, win Sunday and their first-round draft pick could drop all the way to No. 6. It's hard for fans to agree with the sentiment that the Vikings should find a way to lose games, but it would appear there will be a lot more long-term benefit if the Vikings lose to Chicago Sunday than if they win.
  • The Bears are likely to be without both Matt Forte and Marion Barber in their backfield Sunday in the regular-season finale against the Vikings. But that doesn't mean they won't have a running game. Backup Kalil Bell got his second career start Christmas night against the Packers and responded with 121 yards rushing, earning another start against the Vikings.
  • In a piece of irony, Drew Brees, who lit up the Vikings for 415 yards and five touchdowns two weeks ago, broke the 27-year old record for passing yards in a season set by Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins. When Brees was a free agent and eventually signed with New Orleans, there were only two teams interested in him – the Saints and the Dolphins. Miami opted to trade a second-round draft pick to the Vikings for an injured Daunte Culpepper, leaving Brees with no other option than to sign with the Saints.
  • While Brees set the passing record Monday night, how he did it will come under scrutiny. Needing 31 yards to break the record in the final two minutes, Sean Payton called nothing but pass plays with New Orleans already having a comfortable 22-point lead. Some would call that running up the score, but it was needed to Brees the record at home on Monday Night Football.
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