Photo by James Yarcho

Minnesota Vikings don’t have a first-round pick, but still have a stake in it

The Vikings don’t have a first-round pick, but thanks to a results quirk with them and the Indianapolis Colts, the Vikings have a vested interest in the disposition of their first-round pick.

Is there such a thing as losing a coin toss being good? If you’re the Minnesota Vikings, there is.

The NFL has an enormously deep set of rules that it applies to all aspects of the game. Among them is laying out the list of picks that a team is assigned for the following season’s draft. It was thought that the picks were all set when the Patriots beat Atlanta last Sunday.

Not so fast, my friend.

In an anomaly of the NFL rules, the Vikings and Indianapolis Colts (and the Baltimore Ravens) finished with identical records of 8-8. When that happens, a rotation system takes place in subsequent rounds based upon the tie-breaker under strength of schedule – the cumulative record of the teams that made up the 16 games in the team’s schedule.

If the Vikings had the weakest strength of schedule followed by the Colts and then the Ravens, their assigned picks in the rounds would rotate. In the first round, the Vikings would have the first pick (No. 14) followed by Indianapolis and Baltimore.

That would mean that in the second round, the Colts would have the first of those three picks (No. 46), the Ravens would be second and the Vikings would be third. In the third round, Baltimore would be first to select (No. 78), Minnesota would be second and Indianapolis would be third and the scenario would repeat itself throughout the rest of the draft.

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The unanswered question that the Vikings and Colts face is that neither knows exactly what pick is going to what team?

For the Vikings, it’s a moot point in the first round because Minnesota has already traded its first-round pick as part of the Sam Bradford deal following the devastating injury to Teddy Bridgewater.

But, if the Vikings lose the coin flip, it would actually be a benefit to them by moving up two spots from their draft position – to No. 46 – than they would be if they “win” the coin flip, giving Philadelphia the 14th pick instead of the 15th and will be scheduled to make their selection at No. 48.

With two picks in the third and fourth rounds, if the Vikings want to make a move upward into the end of the first day of the draft, the 46th pick is more attractive in trades than the 48th and, if there is a competition for that pick, being two picks ahead has much more value than it may appear on face value.

The final verdict will be rendered at the Combine when all 32 teams will be present. Whether or not the Vikings themselves will be involved in the coin flip, given their position of not having a first-round pick to use, what is the best thing for them?

Lose the flip.


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