Draft Outlook Muddied

While the Vikings are looking for a win today in New Orleans, losing suddenly has its upside.

In the NBA, the league went to a draft lottery after accusations that teams were intentionally losing to get a premium draft pick the following year. While no such allegations have been made about the NFL, the upside to the Vikings' miserable 2002 season is that, if they continue to lose, their draft slot next April keeps getting better.

Right now the Vikings are tied for second in the NFC North. However, three more losses to end the season and the Vikings may be drafting second in April. A more realistic number is somewhere around No. 4, but the Vikings are sure to have a premium pick in April -- most likely to use on a defensive lineman or packaged in a big trade.

While the Vikings don't look at the draft just yet, the only silver lining to this season is that things are going to get better -- perhaps in a hurry -- starting in free agency and continuing on draft day.

* The Vikings haven't had a pick as high as No. 2 since 1968, when they drafted Ron Yary.
* The Vikings haven't won a regular-season game in New Orleans since 1980. The last time they won in the Superdome was in 1987 during the playoffs.
* No team has had a 0-8 road record two years in a row since Atlanta in 1989-90. The Vikings are two games away from matching that record.
* Daunte Culpepper hasn't had a 300-yard passing day in his last 20 starts.

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