With their playoff fate sealed following their loss in Week 16, the Minnesota Vikings are playing for nothing more than draft position this weekend when they face the Detroit Lions. Where that position falls will depend on how a few other games go as well, so we want to make sure you’re up on all of the potential scenarios. The folks from the Minnesota Vikings page on Reddit put together the scenarios, so we will hash them out here.
Scenarios where the Vikings beat the Lions on Sunday
If the Vikings should defeat the Lions on Sunday at Ford Field, their pick will fall between #13 and #15 in the first round. That would give them a record of 7-9 to finish the season, and in that case the games we care about are Patriots at Jets and 49ers at Seahawks.
- If both the Patriots and the 49ers lose, the Vikings would pick at #15.
- If one of the Patriots or the 49ers lose, the Vikings would pick at #14.
- If neither the Patriots nor the 49ers lose, the Vikings would pick at #13.
The Jets aren’t playing for anything, but they also can’t drop below the #2 pick in the draft and have won a couple in a row after starting off 0-13. The Seahawks have clinched a playoff spot and are still in play for the #1 seed in the NFC (and the only first-round bye).
Scenarios where the Vikings lose to the Lions on Sunday
Should the Vikings lose to Detroit, on the other hand, they would finish 6-10 on the year and their pick would fall somewhere between #9 and #13. In that scenario there are four games that Vikings fans need to keep an eye on: Chargers/Chiefs, Saints/Panthers, Cowboys/Giants, and Raiders/Broncos.
- If neither the Cowboys nor the Chargers win, the Vikings would pick at #13.
- If one of the Cowboys or the Chargers win, the Vikings would pick at #12.
- If the Cowboys and the Chargers both win, the Vikings would pick at #11.
- If the Cowboys, Chargers, and either the Panthers or the Broncos win, the Vikings would pick at #10.
- If the Cowboys, Chargers, Panthers, and Broncos all win, the Vikings would pick at #9.
The winner of the Cowboys/Giants game will still be alive to win the NFC Dumpster Fire. . .er, East. . .going into Sunday Night Football, so both teams will be going hard. The Chargers play a Chiefs team that has already locked up the AFC’s lone bye week, so they could be resting people. The Panthers play the Saints, who really don’t have a hell of a lot to play for but probably won’t rest anyone. The Broncos/Raiders game doesn’t mean anything for either team because they’ve both been eliminated from the playoffs.
So, regardless of whether the Vikings win or lose, these are the rooting interests for Vikings fans in the other games that affect their potential draft spot this Sunday:
- Patriots over Jets
- 49ers over Seahawks (these two games matter if the Vikings beat the Lions)
- Cowboys over Giants
- Chargers over Chiefs
- Panthers over Saints
- Broncos over Raiders (these four games matter if the Vikings lose to the Lions)
Got all that? Good.