## Draft math follows win-lose equation

• Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
• Updated: December 20, 2011 - 6:24 AM

Not only will the Vikings win in April if they lose now, losses by opponents will help, too.

The enthusiastic roar seemed as attention-grabbing as it was strangely timed.

The Vikings had just been walloped 42-20 by the Saints at Mall of America Field on Sunday. And only a few thousand loyal -- or perhaps deadened? -- fans were left trudging toward the exits and out into a cold, gray evening.

So what exactly provided this temporary jolt of excitement?

"A final score from Kansas City," came the announcement over the stadium P.A. "Chiefs 19, Packers 14."

Ah, yes. Some good, old-fashioned schadenfreude.

It's nothing new for Vikings supporters to revel in the misfortune of their rivals in Green Bay. But what many fans might not have known Sunday is that the Packers' loss also improved the Vikings' draft status, weakening their overall strength of schedule just a hair.

Hey, there's got to be something left to root for, right?

With two weeks left in the regular season, the Vikings have virtually assured themselves of a top-three pick for April's draft. They're in a battle with the equally hapless Rams for the No. 2 selection.

Oh, and don't look now, with the Colts notching their first victory Sunday, the Vikings have wedged a foot in the door, potentially sneaking into the mix for the top overall pick.

So here's where the NFL's draft status tiebreaking procedures come into play with simple criteria that lead to many complicated computations:

If the Vikings were to wind up tied with St. Louis or Indianapolis record-wise, the team with the weaker strength of schedule would land the better draft pick. And strength of schedule, it should be noted, is determined by simply totaling the cumulative records of all 16 opponents.

Outsiders have two choices: a) wait another 12 days and let all the remaining NFL games sort the math out; or b) break out the calculator and go to town.

For example, the 16 opponents on the Vikings schedule currently have 127 victories. Before Monday night's Steelers-49ers game kicked off, the Colts' 16 opponents had 120 victories. The Rams' foes: 130.

All of this data will be fluid over the final two weeks. But the basics are clear-cut: Fans should want any team the Vikings have played to lose.

Of course, no Vikings coaches or players will acknowledge the draft's existence until the final game is played New Year's Day. So internally, anyway, the Vikings are talking about using the next two weeks to make improvement.

Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, for example, said the team has great motivation in trying to avoid a 3-13 finish, which would match the worst record in team history.

"What incentive do we have? Not being the worst team in Vikings history," Shiancoe said.

"Looking at where this team is and where other teams are in our division and around our league, we have a ways to go," Frazier said.

A high draft choice certainly will help the cause. But just how high up the draft board can these Vikings rise? Keep your calculators handy.

• #### Chart: The race for the No. 1 overall pick

Tuesday December 20, 2011

The Vikings are in position for the second pick -- ahead of the Rams but behind the Colts -- in April's NFL draft. When teams have the same record, the...

• #### Shiancoe: 'Some guys hung it up' during Saints loss

Tuesday December 20, 2011

Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe expressed his discontent with teammates who seemed to cave under the weight of another failure.

• Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier

• VIKINGS WEEK 16

Noon Saturday at Washington • Ch. 9 (100.3-FM)

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 Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM New England
 Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM Baltimore
 Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM Washington
 Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM Tennessee
 Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM Houston
 San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM Kansas City
 NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM Miami
 Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM Minnesota
 Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM NY Giants
 New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM Tampa Bay
 Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM Atlanta
 Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM Green Bay
 Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM Denver
 Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM San Francisco
 St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM Seattle
 Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM Pittsburgh
 Marshall 52 FINAL Northern Ill 23
 Navy 17 FINAL San Diego St 16
 Central Mich 48 FINAL Western Ky 49
 Fresno State 7:00 PM Rice
 Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM Louisiana Tech
 Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM North Carolina
 NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM UCF
 Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM Virginia Tech
 Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM (15) Arizona State
 Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM So Carolina
 Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM Penn State
 (25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM (24) USC
 Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM West Virginia
 Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM (18) Clemson
 Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM Texas
 Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM (22) LSU
 (13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM (20) Louisville
 Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM Stanford
 (9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM (6) TCU
 (21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM (12) Arizona
 (8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM (10) Georgia Tech

 Date/Opponent Time W L Score 2014 preseason Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm X 10-6 Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm X 30-28 Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm X 30-12 Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm X 19-3 2014 regular season Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon X 34-6 Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon X 30-7 Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon X 20-9 Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm X 41-28 Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm X 42-10 Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon X 17-3 Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon X 17-16 Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon X 19-13 ot Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon X 29-26 Nov 9 - Bye Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon X 21-13 Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon X 24-21 Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon X 31-13 Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon X 30-24 ot Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pm X 16-14 Dec 21 - at Miami Noon X 37-35 Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon