All of the games for Week 4 of the 2012 NFL season are in the books, so let's have a look at what the pundits around the league are saying about the Minnesota Vikings and where they sit in comparison to the other 31 teams in the National Football League.
As always, the mothership at SB Nation leads things off with their Week 5 Power Rankings, and they have the Vikings making another pretty massive jump, moving up eight spots from number 19 to number 11 in their poll.
They started the season near the bottom in our initial power rankings a month ago. Oops. They're an Andrew Luck game-winning drive away from being undefeated. Imagine that.
Yep, they sure are. . .stupid Andrew Luck. Grumble, grumble, rabble, rabble, rabble. But that's still a far cry from where many folks thought they would be at this point. Looking at the rest of the NFC North, SB Nation has the Chicago Bears ranked at #5, the Green Bay Packers at #8, and the Detroit Lions at #20. Minnesota's opponent on Sunday, the Tennessee Titans, comes in at #25.
Next this week, we'll move on to CBS Sports, where Noted Viking Hater Pete Prisco™ is even starting to take notice of Minnesota's success. He's moved the Vikings up five spots this week, putting them at #13.
They are ninth in total defense, fifth in run defense. That's a big surprise.
The defense has stepped up in a big way this year. More importantly, they're seventh in the NFL in points/game allowed after their first four. For the rest of the division, Prisco has Chicago at #9, Green Bay at #14. . .yes, behind Minnesota. . .and Detroit at #24. Tennessee is #23 in Prisco's rankings.
Over at Fox Sports, Brian Billick. . .I'll get his name right this week because I didn't hear many "Gerald Allen" references on Sunday. . .moves the Vikings up as well, bumping them four spots to #14 after this week's performance.
The Vikings didn't look as sharp offensively as they had the previous three weeks, but it takes all three phases to win a football game. When the offense is slacking, someone else needs to step up and make a play, and that is exactly what the special teams units did for the Vikings on Sunday.
It isn't going to be every week that the Vikings win without scoring an offensive touchdown. But, as long as the team continues playing rock-solid defense and being good on special teams, the Vikings will have a shot to win every week, and that's really all you can ask for. Billick has Chicago at #7, Green Bay at #10, and Detroit at #21 across the NFC North, while Tennessee is at #25.
Over at ESPN, they can't really deny the Vikings any longer either. They've moved our favorite football team up seven spots to #14 this week.
Apologies to the Arizona Cardinals, this 3-1 record is the surprise of the early season.
It's certainly right up there. ESPN has Green Bay at #8, Chicago at #9, and Detroit at #20. Tennessee resides at #25.
Those are the ones that I can find at the present time. A couple of folks, such as NFL.com and Yahoo!, have not put their latest rankings out there yet, as far as I can tell. As they roll in throughout the day, I'll effort to get this story updated with some more takes on the Minnesota Vikings. Also, if you find them first, go ahead and put them in the comments section and I'll try to get them in here as well.
EDIT: See, I told you we'd have more!
Yahoo! Sports has put out their Week 5 Power Rankings, and they show the Vikings moving up three spots from number 18 to number 15.
Are the Vikings so good now that they can show up and win games without scoring an offensive touchdown? The evidence says yes. That's what they did against Detroit, and at 3-1, they sit atop of the NFC North, tied with the Bears. The upcoming schedule isn't that rough, either: Tennessee, at Washington, Arizona, Tampa Bay, at Seattle, and Detroit again. Ragnar sleeps well tonight.
Well, I didn't want to put it quite that way, but I think I did mention something like that in my last post about the first quarter of the Vikings' season. Yahoo! has Green Bay at #10, Chicago at #12, and Detroit at #24. Tennessee checks in at #28.
NFL.com also seems to believe in the Vikings a little bit as well, as they've given the team a three-spot bump up to #13 in their Power Rankings for this week.
Haven't seen anyone talk about rookie Harrison Smith much, but the thought here is that this guy is going to be a player. I've been a shill for Christian Ponder for weeks now; time to look at the other side of the ball. The safety out of Notre Dame leads a secondary that is competing much better than league analysts anticipated.
Ask Calvin Johnson if he thinks anyone should be talking about Harrison Smith. NFL.com's Power Rankings have Green Bay at #5 (!?), Chicago at #6, and Detroit at #19. Tennessee is all the way down at #30, according to NFL.com, ahead of only the Oakland Raiders and the Cleveland Browns.