The Vikings’ Shiny Silver Lining from Recent 2-Game Skid

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Was it awful that the Minnesota Vikings coughed away possible wins against the Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions in back-to-back weeks? Absolutely.

Was it utterly terrible, with no silver lining? Nope.

The Vikings’ Shiny Silver Lining from Recent 2-Game Skid

All of a sudden — because the Vikings are 1-4 in their last five games — Minnesota has a reasonable shot at rather nice 1st-Round draft pick in 2024.

Shiny Silver Lining
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

A month ago, the selection was trending in the 20th-24th range, especially when the Vikings lived in the playoff driver’s seat at 6-4. But as the losses have stockpiled, so climbed the draft pick, music to the ears of the “tank it” crowd.

Right now, if the 2024 NFL Draft kicked off tonight, the Vikings would choose 14th, a decent spot in the pecking order, especially if the goal would be to trade up for a quarterback of the future. It’s easier to climb into the Top 10 for Jayden Daniels (LSU), for example, while holding the 14th pick and not the 23rd.

Quarterback Jayden Daniels 5 runs the ball as the LSU Tigers take on Georgia State in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, November 18, 2023. © SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Too, depending on Minnesota’s choice at quarterback in the remaining two games — the franchise is deciding and debating between Nick Mullens, Jaren Hall, and Joshua Dobbs — the Vikings could lose one or two games. That would, of course, enhance the draft pick — maybe even into the Top 10.

According to ESPN, the Vikings have a 20.2% chance of grabbing a Top 10 pick, and if so, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah would be close to a lock in selecting a quarterback of the future. Equipped with a Top 10 pick — No. 8, 9, or 10, for instance — could even drop the Vikings in play for Caleb Williams (USC) or Drake Maye (North Carolina). That would be a longshot, but a team owning a Top 10 pick has a better chance of bartering with teams at the top of the draft order.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah & Kevin O’Connell Talk Free Agent Moves, Future at Quarterback & 2023 NFL Draft in Eagan, Minnesota, on April 13th, 2023. Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell joined the organization in January and February 2022, respectively.

Another example: The Arizona Cardinals could end up with the 1st or 2nd overall pick, keep Kyler Murray at quarterback, and then open for trade business to the highest bidder. If the Vikings identified Williams or Maye as “their guy,” owning a Top 10 pick would simplify conducting business with Arizona.

Last year, teams with a 7-10 record, which the Vikings could hit if they lose the next two games, picked between 8th and 13th. The year before, 2022, 7-10 teams chose from 8th to 11th.

The Vikings winning one game of the following two would drop the pick closer to 14th or so — still a favorable spot to plan for the future. And Minnesota will have done all of this, assuming it doesn’t reach the postseason, without tanking. The locker room culture is very much pristine, 2023’s shine wore off because Kirk Cousins was lost for the season, and 2024 would feel upbeat — not a fundamental from-the-ground-up starting over.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports.

Overall, the Vikings have a puncher’s chance to reach the playoffs and a similar probability of attaining a Top 10 draft pick. A sweet conundrum.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by