The Vikings will have the 11th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft after defeating the Bears 13-9 at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday.
They were in a three-way tie at 7-9 with the Browns and Saints but carried the worst strength of schedule percentage among the three. They edged out the Browns, .475 to .479, thanks to a schedule that featured eight games against NFC South and AFC East.
The Vikings finished with the eighth overall pick last year. They traded a spot down and drafted rookie linebacker Anthony Barr with the ninth overall pick.
Here’s how the top 15 picks will look in the upcoming draft:
1. Tampa Bay
6. NY Jets
9. NY Giants
10. St. Louis11. Minnesota
13. New Orleans
15. San Francisco
The dates will be the determined in the spring, but the Vikings officially know who they will play next season.
The majority of the schedule is based on a rotation with the exception for two NFC foes that are determined by where the Vikings finish in the standings. The Vikings concluded this season with a 7-9 record, good for third in the NFC North. That means they’ll face the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants, who also finished third in the NFC South and East.
The Vikings will travel to Atlanta next year, while they’ll host the Giants. With the 13-9 victory over the Bears on Sunday, the Vikings and the University of Minnesota avoided a situation where they would’ve finished last in the NFC North. That would’ve meant the Washington Redskins, who finished last in the NFC East, would’ve traveled back to TCF Bank Stadium next season. The Week 9 matchup this year made the university home to the largest protest against the team’s nickname before the game.
The schedule will also feature games against the NFC West and AFC West. It’s a pretty nice travel schedule, might I selfishly add, but here are the 2015 opponents:
HOME: Rams, Seahawks, Chiefs, Chargers, Giants, Lions, Packers, Bears
AWAY: Cardinals, 49ers, Broncos, Raiders, Falcons, Lions, Packers, Bears
Cordarrelle Patterson’s disappointing second season ended on another low note.
In the third quarter, Patterson was called into action on offense after fellow wide receiver Jarius Wright was knocked out of the game with a back injury. It didn’t take long for rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to target Patterson on a slant. His pass was a little behind Patterson but still catchable. But the ball caromed off Patterson’s hands directly to Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller, who nearly returned the interception for a score.
That was the last we saw of Patterson on offense. He was replaced on the next drive by Adam Thielen, who scored the first receiving touchdown of his young career.
Early in the opening comments of his post-game news conference, head coach Mike Zimmer took a subtle jab at Patterson, saying that Bridgewater’s passer rating “would have been over 100 if the ball wouldn’t have hit our guy in the chest and bounce out.” He later acknowledged that the play led to Thielen’s insertion into the offense.
Later, Zimmer was asked about the confidence level of Patterson, who was held without a catch and finished the season with just 33 catches for 384 yards and one touchdown.
“I’ve got a plan for this offseason for him, and hopefully it works,” Zimmer said after taking several seconds to choose his words. “But it’s going to be up to Cordarrelle. I’ll leave it at that.”
Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen caught his first career touchdown pass in the 13-9 victory over the Bears on Sunday, but it wasn’t even the best catch on the play.
After Thielen reached the endzone, he raced over the sidelined and toss the ball into the stands to his fiancé, Caitlin. Thielen had to throw it up a few rows in the section but later found out she did retrieve the football.
“She’s got better hands than I do,” said Thielen, after he found out she posted a picture of the football on Twitter.
Thielen finished with three catches for a team-high 68 yards, while scoring the only touchdown in the game. He was wide open on the Bears’ busted coverage. Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw an accurate pass as Thielen went untouched for the score.
“It was awesome,” Thielen said. “It feels a lot better since we got the win on the last game of the season. We didn’t care how we won, we just wanted to get that ‘W.’”
It’s Thielen’s second career touchdown. He scored his first on a blocked punt returned for a touchdown in Week 14 against the Jets.