Here’s What Can Happen to the Vikings’ Draft Pick on Sunday

dead period
Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O'Connell at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, after a 20-17 win over the Washington Commanders in Week 9 of the 2022 regular season.

Most Minnesota Vikings fans are examining the future.

That was the result after Minnesota fired up a 1-5 record amid the last six games, a horrendous stretch with the postseason on the line. In fact, the Vikings started the season 1-4, broke off a 5-0 spree, and then utterly regressed to the tune of 1-5 since knocking off the New Orleans Saints in Week 10.

Here’s What Can Happen to the Vikings’ Draft Pick on Sunday

So, as the Vikings embark on their final game of 2023, many of the team’s faithful expect — perhaps hope for — a loss at the Detroit Lions as another box score disappointment would enhance 2024 draft standing. As of January 4th, Minnesota would choose 12th in the 2024 NFL Draft, which is about four months away.

What Can Happen
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The Vikings’ draft spot can sway quite a bit, depending on Week 18’s outcome. Here’s what can happen.

A Win?

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If the Vikings pull a rabbit out of a hat against the Lions — Detroit apparently is not resting starters — Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will pick anywhere from 12th to 32nd.

How is 32nd in play? Well, the Vikings can still get into the postseason if they win at Detroit, the Green Bay Packers lose, the Seattle Seahawks lose, and either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or New Orleans Saints lose. It’s a parlay with about +3,500 odds. Basically — not happening. But they could theoretically win the Super Bowl with a Wildcard berth.

Realistically, if Minnesota defeats Detroit, it would likely end up with the 14th or so draft pick, two spots below where the team is right now.

A Loss

falcons tilt
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings would pick 9th if they lose to the Lions, and all three of these items occur:

  • ATL over NO
  • CHI over GB
  • LV over DEN

Should two of those items come to fruition, plus a Vikings loss, Minnesota would draft 10th. If one matchup on the list happens and the Vikings lose on Sunday, it would be the 11th pick. And so forth.

Detroit beating Minnesota would cement the Vikings’ draft pick between 9th and 12th.

The Fallout

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This matters.

The Vikings may draft a quarterback of the future to succeed Kirk Cousins in the starting lineup in 2024 or 2025, and a higher pick is more capital to move and shake. For instance, if Minnesota snags the 9th pick and wants to trade up the board for Drake Maye (North Carolina) or Jayden Daniels (LSU), it’s easier to barter with a team in the Top 5 while holstering the 9th pick than the 14th.

Depending on the trade value chart in use, the 9th pick has a meatier punch than 14th — plain and simple.

Otherwise, if the Vikings are enamored with a quarterback like J.J. McCarthy (Michigan) or Bo Nix (Oregon), the 14th pick is probably high enough on the board to get the job done.

Overall, it’s the best of both worlds, given the Vikings’ current situation. A win in Detroit keeps a faint playoff heartbeat pulsating; a loss strengthens draft positioning.


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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