The Bears play the final game of the season on Sunday, when the Minnesota Vikings come to town. And that game will have major implications for the Bears in the 2023 NFL Draft.
After Minnesota was blown out by the Packers last week, slipping into the No. 3 seed in the NFC, there was a question as to whether or not they’d rest their starters to get ready for the playoffs, or play them and try to regain some ground on San Francisco.
It appears we now have our answer.
“We still have a lot to play for just from a momentum standpoint (for) a football team that’s kind of had some highs this year, for sure, and then one of our low moments of the season (Sunday), where you’d like to be able to rely on a lot of things we built here to come back together and make sure we rectify some of the issues,’’ Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell said on Tuesday.
With “a lot to play for” against the Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday, the Vikings will indeed be playing their starters. That’s great news for the Bears, who need to lose (and get some help from the Houston Texans) if they hope to have a crack at the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft this spring.
We discussed what might happen to the Bears draft position — which could be anywhere from No. 1 to No. 4 — with various scenarios playing out this week on Monday:
The Bears will get the No.1 pick if Houston beats the Colts in Week 18, and the Bears lose to the Vikings.
If the Texans lose to the Colts, the Bears have no shot at the top pick. But they could slide out of the top two depending on what happens in their game with the Vikings. A loss to Minnesota would give them a 3-14 record and lock them into the No. 2 pick. In that sense, they are in control of their own fate.
But if the Bears luck their way into a win against Minnesota, they could drop down to No. 3 overall. But fortunately, no lower than fourth. The Broncos and Cardinals are right behind the Bears in the reverse standings this morning at 4-12. Losses for those two teams and a win for the Bears would leave them in a three-way tie at 4-13. The tiebreakers would have the Bears drop to fourth in that scenario. Then, Denver would move into the No. 2 spot and Arizona into the No. 3 spot.
A Bears win against the Vikings, and a win for one or the other (Broncos/Cardinals) would put the Bears at No. 3, and a Bears win against the Vikings and wins for both the Broncos and Cardinals would keep the Bears at No. 2.
So, Minnesota playing their starters this week and playing for a win is extremely good news for the Bears.