Vikings Takeaway No. 7
Minnesota is probably better off losing next week
No NFL team goes into a game with the intention to lose, as players and coaches have their jobs on the line each time they take the field. But when it comes to the Vikings' final matchup of the 2023 regular season against the Lions next Sunday, another loss for Minnesota wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
If the Vikings lose next weekend, they will likely end up with the No. 9, No. 10, or No. 11 pick in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. If Minnesota wins but they miss the playoffs, then they will likely have the No. 12 or No. 13 selection in the 2024 draft.
If the unthinkable happens and the Vikings win, and they get enough help to qualify for the playoffs, then the best first-round slot in the 2024 draft they could wind up with is pick No. 19.
If Minnesota pulls off a miracle and sneaks into the 2023 postseason, they would head out on the road for a first-round matchup against either the Dallas Cowboys or Philadelphia Eagles. And then, if they somehow win their opening-round playoff game, their reward will be a road matchup against the top seed in the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers.
In all likelihood, the Vikings probably wouldn't make it out of the first round if they qualified for the playoffs this season, which means that they would end up with pick No. 19 in the 2024 draft.
If Minnesota wants to move up in the draft to select one of the top quarterback prospects, they would have to give up a lot to move up from pick No. 19. But if the Vikings had pick No. 9, No. 10, or No. 11, a trade package to move up in the first round would likely be much more reasonable.
Now, this isn't a call for Minnesota to tank in Week 18, and as it was mentioned earlier, players and coaches wouldn't do that anyways. There's too much on the line.
But if the Vikings are going to head into the 2024 offseason with the intention to draft one of the top quarterback prospects available this year, then a loss to Detroit next weekend would certainly make the possiblity of that actually happening much higher.