Vikings to Pick 17th in Draft

The 2008 NFL draft is still four months away, but there is already chatter about it, as premium picks will be subject to a three-way coin flip. The Vikings pick 17th, the Cowboys and Patriots have other teams' picks and the Pats will lose their pick -- creating a 31-pick first round.

With the regular season less than 48 hours done, fans are already looking ahead to free agency and the draft. For Vikings fans, that will entail having to wait considerably longer than they did last year to get their first draft pick in the fold.

The Vikings will pick 17th in the draft thanks to the tiebreaker using an inverted opponents' record as the guideline. There were four teams that finished 8-8 in 2007 and the draft tie-breaker procedure came into play. The Cardinals will pick 16th based on an opponents' records of 111-145, while the Vikings (129-127 opponents' records) pick 17th, the Texans (132-124) pick 18th and the Eagles (144-132) pick 19th.

In a strange twist, three teams – the Falcons, Raiders and Chiefs – will have to go through a coin flip for the third, fourth and fifth picks thanks to having identical opponent records.

From the "Rich Getting Richer" Department, the Patriots have the 49ers' first-round pick, seventh overall, dating back to a trade last year in which the Patriots gave up their first-round pick in the 2007 draft for the 49ers first-rounder in 2008 and a fourth-rounder in 2007. The Patriots traded the fourth-round pick to the Raiders to get Randy Moss. The Dallas Cowboys also did some 2008 draft pick trading and have the Browns' first-round pick as part of a swap last year that let Cleveland land Brady Quinn. Because the Browns didn't make the playoffs despite a 10-6 record, they will be placed atop the list of 10-6 teams that made the playoffs and can draft no lower than 22nd and higher if either the Redskins or Buccaneers win the Super Bowl. While most of the spots are locked in, the two teams that play in the Super Bowl have the 31st and 32nd picks, meaning that the 49ers pick can move from 31st to 30th, and picks can only move down from Nos. 20-30.

A pair of ties were broken without coin flips. The Bills and Broncos had the same strength of schedule, but since Denver beat Buffalo in the regular season, Buffalo will pick 11th and Denver will pick 12th. The same is true for the Bears and Lions. Because the Lions swept the Bears, Chicago will get the 14th pick and the Lions will pick 15th.

There is also the expectation that there will be only 31 picks in the first round of this year's draft with the Patriots being stripped of their own first-round pick as a result of the Spygate scandal.

If the Vikings are to base their success in 2007 by where they draft, they've made solid improvement, dropping from the seventh pick to the 17th selection.

Here is the complete draft order:

1. Miami
2. St. Louis
3. Atlanta #
4. Oakland #
5. Kansas City #
6. New York Jets
7. New England (from San Francisco)
8. Baltimore
9. Cincinnati
10. New Orleans
11. Buffalo
12. Denver
13. Carolina
14. Chicago
15. Detroit
16. Arizona
17. Minnesota
18. Houston
19. Philadelphia
20. Tampa Bay *
21. Washington *
22. Dallas (from Cleveland) *
23. Seattle *
24. Pittsburgh *
25. Tennessee *
26. New York Giants *
27. San Diego *
28. Jacksonville *
29. Green Bay *
30. Dallas *
31. San Francisco (from Indianapolis) *
32. New England (pick to be forfeited)*

# -- Denotes picks subject to three-way coin flip
* -- Denotes picks subject to playoff finish

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