Vikings miss playoffs, but secure top 2024 draft pick with loss to Lions

Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler
Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

A disappointing 2023 season came to an end for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday as they suffered a loss to the NFC North champion Detroit Lions.

Heading into Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings had a very small chance to sneak into the playoffs as they needed a bunch of help from other teams, in addition to needing a victory in their Week 18 matchup against the Detroit Lions.

Well, the Vikings didn't need to worry about getting help from anyone else as they took care of business themselves and left the field on Sunday with their second loss to the Lions in the last three weeks.

Detroit got a 30-20 win, which sent Minnesota back to the Twin Cities with a 7-10 record and a final winning percentage below 44 for the first time since 2013.

Loss to Detroit Lions secures a top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft for the Minnesota Vikings

It's not something the players in the Vikings locker room are going to be excited about, but with the loss on Sunday, Minnesota will now pick between 10th and 12th in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

If the Vikings want to select one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2024 draft pool, they are now within striking distance to trade up and not have to give up an excessive amount of future assets to do so.

Minnesota's final draft slot for 2024 will be determined by the results of Sunday's games involving the Chicago Bears and Las Vegas Raiders. The Bears are taking on the Green Bay Packers, while the Raiders are facing the Denver Broncos.

If Chicago and Las Vegas both win, then the Vikings will pick ninth in the first round of the 2024 draft. If only one of the two teams gets a victory on Sunday, then Minnesota will drop down to pick No. 11. Lastly, if both the Bears and Raiders lose, then the Vikings will pick 12th in 2024.

This certainly hasn't been the season Minnesota envisioned after they were able to win 13 games and the division title in 2022. But the Vikings have dealt with a number of significant injuries in the last few months that, in the end, proved to be too difficult to overcome.

Minnesota is now heading into one of their most important offseasons in recent memory. Kirk Cousins will become a free agent, Justin Jefferson needs to get paid, and the Vikings don't know if defensive coordinator Brian Flores is going to leave for a head coaching job elsewhere.

Two years into Minnesota's new regime led by head coach Kevin O'Connell and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, the franchise still hasn't won a playoff game since the 2019 season.

Will the priority for the Vikings this offseason placed on getting back to the playoffs in 2024, or will more of their focus finally be on building a consistent winner for 2025 and beyond?