We had an early breakdown of the draft order for the 2011 NFL Draft on Monday, but now that the Vikings have gone out and gotten themselves thoroughly whipped by the Chicago Bears in front of a nationwide audience, we now know exactly where the Vikings would be picking if the draft were to be held today.
The Vikings are one of six teams at 5-9 in the NFL right now. The other teams at 5-9 are the San Francisco 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Redskins, the Houston Texans, and the Cleveland Browns. The way the NFL Draft breaks ties for draft positions is based on the winning percentage of the teams you've played against. . .hence, a team that's gotten to a certain record by playing bad teams will get an earlier pick than a team that's gotten to that same record while playing good teams. (I guess, because, if you're getting beaten by bad teams, you need more help. Does that make sense? I can't come up with a better explanation.)
So, if we look at the 12 NFL teams that currently have records of 5-9 or worse, the draft order looks like this:
||Opp W-L %|
|1||Carolina Panthers (2-12)||.571|
|2||Denver Broncos (3-11)||.518|
|3||Cincinnati Bengals (3-11)||.585|
|4||Arizona Cardinals (4-10)||.460|
|5||Detroit Lions (4-10)||.545|
|6||Buffalo Bills (4-10)||.580|
|7||San Francisco 49ers (5-9)||.487|
|8||Dallas Cowboys (5-9)||.518|
|9||Washington Redskins (5-9)||.518|
|10/11||Houston Texans (5-9)||.536|
|10/11||Minnesota Vikings (5-9)||.536|
|12||Cleveland Browns (5-9)||.571|
So, if the draft were held today, the Minnesota Vikings would hold either the 10th or 11th pick in the first round. If two teams are tied at the end of the tie-breaking process, the final order is determined by a coin flip. As it stands now, there would have to be a coin flip to determine the 10th and 11th pick between the Vikings and the Houston Texans.
(I'm getting the order from the good folks at the Great Blue North Report, and they make that distinction between Houston and Minnesota, but not between Dallas and Washington at eight and nine. Not exactly sure why that is, but I will effort to find out.)
This is obviously subject to change, but with the Vikings looking at a road trip to Philadelphia this Sunday night and the season finale coming against the ever-improving Detroit Lions the week after that, a top ten pick in the draft is quite a likely scenario. That's a far cry from what many of us. . .myself included. . .expected going into this season.