Vikings Hope to Avoid Doomsday Scenario on Sunday

Vikings Kicking Has Flat-Out Been Terrible
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Unless the Green Bay Packers lose to the Chicago Bears, the Arizona Cardinals win over the Seattle Seahawks, and either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or New Orleans Saints lose in Week 18, the Minnesota Vikings might be better off experiencing a Detroit Lions win on Sunday.

Vikings Hope to Avoid Doomsday Scenario on Sunday

All those occurrences must materialize, plus a Vikings win, for Minnesota to shimmy into the postseason and then hit the road to Dallas, Detroit, or Philadelphia for a Wildcard playoff date next weekend. In theory, those four items could happen, but the odds are roughly +3500.

Hope to Avoid Doomsday
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And what the Vikings and the team’s fans absolutely hope to avoid is the doomsday scenario — where the Vikings defeat the Lions, Minnesota still misses out on the postseason, and the rest of the NFL schedule sinks the Vikings draft pick in April to 15th.

How would this happen? Well, it’s another four-team parlay but one that would work out adversely for Minnesota’s long-term planning, especially if the goal is to draft a franchise quarterback in less than four months.

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Here’s the scenario, which is feasible and would situate the Vikings at 15th in the upcoming draft:

  • Vikings over Lions
  • Falcons over Saints
  • Raiders over Broncos
  • Bears over Packers

Should the Vikings lose, however — which most folks and sportsbooks believe will shake down — they can choose as high as 9th. And that would be rather dazzling shape to sit tight and draft a quarterback in April or trade up for a Top 3 QB prospect. It’s easier to trade up from 9th than 15th or would, at least, require fewer “other” draft picks.

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Current-but-injured QB1 Kirk Cousins will be a free agent in March, and it is unclear if Minnesota will re-up for his services. If the Vikings’ front office desires more Cousins in 2024 and beyond, it could theoretically wait on drafting a quarterback until 2025, but with Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell heading into their third draft, it might be a bit odd to select no quarterback of the future.

Meanwhile, at least on paper, the 2024 NFL Draft is stuffed to the gills with quarterback talent. Caleb Williams (USC), Drake Maye (North Carolina), Jayden Daniels (LSU), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), J.J. McCarthy (Michigan), and Bo Nix (Oregon) are expected to command 1st-Round attention.

The Vikings Will Stay Close to Home in 2023
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The Vikings owned the 12th pick in 2021, its highest most recent draft capital morsel, but traded the pick to the Detroit Lions and later drafted safety Lewis Cine, who doesn’t really play. If the NFL Draft were held tonight, Minnesota would choose 12th.

Overall, the worst-case scenario for Sunday is a Vikings win sans a playoff appearance if the goal is a higher draft pick.


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 OverTheCap.com.

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