Rooting for a Vikings Top-10 Pick? Here Are 4 Teams to Cheer for in Week 18

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Las Vegas Raiders
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings enter Week 18 in a tough situation.

They have an outside chance at the playoffs, but more than likely, a win will not be enough to get into the tournament and simply harm their draft stock in April. On the other hand, a loss could result in Minnesota landing a top-10 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

It could be the first time in a decade (2014, Anthony Barr) that Minnesota selects that highly in the draft. For any Vikings fans who have decided to root for a higher draft pick, here is a look at who to root for this weekend.

Detroit Lions

Top-10 Pick
Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) looks to pass against the Denver Broncos during the first half at Ford Field in Detroit on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023.

First and foremost, any Vikings fans that want Minnesota end up with the best possible draft spot need to be rooting against their favorite team this weekend. No, this doesn’t mean you’re a bad Vikings fan; it simply means you’ve seen enough of this season and want it to end quietly without any backdoor playoff shenanigans.

If the Vikings lose to the Lions this weekend, it will result in them finishing 7-10 on the season and officially being eliminated from the playoffs. It also ensures that they won’t pick any lower than their current position of No. 12 and opens the door to jumping all the way to No. 9.

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) looks for a receiver against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023.

The Atlanta Falcons also come into Sunday with a 7-9 record, but they actually still have a chance to win the NFC South if they can beat the New Orleans Saints and have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lose to the Carolina Panthers.

Vikings fans likely will be rooting for Atlanta regardless of their interests this weekend. Minnesota needs the Falcons to win in order to move up the draft board if they lose, and, unless Tampa Bay does somehow lose to the Panthers, they need the Falcons to win if they want to keep their own playoff hopes alive.

Chicago Bears

Dec 10, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) rushes for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears go into Green Bay red-hot in recent weeks, and they are another 7-9 team this season. Seeing as they have a lower strength of schedule than Minnesota, though, the Vikings need Chicago to beat the Packers in order to move up the draft board.

Perhaps luckily for Vikings fans, this situation feels eerily similar to last year’s where the Chicago Bears, who started the season 2-7, have rattled off five wins in their last seven games to finish the season near .500. Last year, the Lions started 1-6 before winning seven of their final nine games, including a Week 18 win over these Packers. We’ll see if Jordan Love can do what Aaron Rodgers couldn’t, but the Vikings need Green Bay to lose on Sunday to remain hopeful for a playoff spot.

Las Vegas Raiders

Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell (4) throws the ball against the Minnesota Vikings in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The other 7-9 team in the mix right now is the Las Vegas Raiders. After starting 5-5, they’ve lost four of their past six games to jump ahead of the Vikings in the draft order. This includes a 3-0 loss to Minnesota back in Week 14 in their home stadium.

Now, Vikings fans will be rooting for the Raiders to win their eighth game of the season when they take on the Denver Broncos on Sunday. That game will feature Jarrett Stidham, who will be starting for the Broncos after seeing two starts in Las Vegas last year.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.

Share: