Had the Vikings finished 6-10 instead of 7-9, they would be picking 10th in the NFL Draft. Instead, the win over Detroit on Sunday – in a completely meaningless game – means the Vikings own the 14th pick in the draft.
It's not a big drop, really, but it could make a big difference if the Vikings are planning to select a quarterback with their first-round pick because some of the teams that slipped ahead of Minnesota in the draft order may also be in the market for a future franchise quarterback. Draft order:
- Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15)
- New York Jets (2-14)
- Miami Dolphins (10-6) -- from Houston Texans (4-12)
- Atlanta Falcons (4-12)
- Cincinatti Bengals (4-11-1)
- Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1)
- Detroit Lions (5-11)
- Carolina Panthers (5-11)
- Denver Broncos (5-11)
- Dallas Cowboys (6-10)
- New York Giants (6-10)
- San Francisco 49ers (6-10)
- Los Angeles Chargers (7-9)
- Minnesota Vikings (7-9)
- New England Patriots (7-9)
- Arizona Cardinals (8-8)
- Las Vegas Raiders (8-8)
- Miami Dolphins (10-6)
This year's draft class features a lot of hyped QB prospects, including Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State's Justin Fields, Brigham Young's Zach Wilson, North Dakota State's Trey Lance, Florida's Kyle Trask and Alabama's Mac Jones. It's not completely to crazy to think five or more of those guys could be first-round picks.
So how many teams picking ahead of Minnesota will be looking for a future franchise QB?
The Jaguars and Jets are both probably in the market unless New York thinks Sam Darnold (the No. 2 pick in the 2018 draft) is still their guy. The Dolphins drafted Tua Tagavaiola in the first round last year but he was a mess as a rookie. Atlanta might be planning for life after Matt Ryan and the Lions may be doing the same for Matthew Stafford.
Do the Panthers really believe in Teddy Bridgewater? What about the Broncos and Drew Lock? Dallas and Dak Prescott coming off a gruesome injury? Even the 49ers could be in the market considering Jimmy Garoppolo can't stay healthy.
It's conceivable that nine teams ahead of the Vikings might be interested in drafting a quarterback. Every team has other needs, but it's not good news if the Vikings are planning to take a QB with their first pick. If not, no big deal.
Had the Vikings lost to Detroit on Sunday they at least wouldn't have to worry about what the Cowboys and 49ers were planning.
Of course, there's certainly no guarantee that first-round picks spent on quarterbacks are guaranteed for success, and vice versa for quarterbacks drafted in later rounds. Tom Brady was drafted in the sixth round and Aaron Rodgers slipped all the way to mid-20s before the Packers took him. Russell Wilson was taken in the third round, Christian Ponder went in the first round. How'd those picks work out?
But push come to shove, it's always better to have as many options as possible if picking a quarterback in the first round, thus the earlier a team picks the better it is.