Since our Fearless Leader is busy traveling most of the day today, I'm going to sub in with our weekly power rankings round-up. Of course the Vikings had a bye in Week 11 so we don't anticipate much movement from last week. But the other 3 NFC North teams all played so it's still worth checking out.
The bye weeks are done, everyone has played ten games, and everyone has six games remaining. Where do the power rankings have everyone slated heading into the home stretch of the 2012 season? Let's find out together.
First off, the bigwigs at the SB Nation NFL headquarters have the Vikes holding at 15. However, they pose an interesting question:
Adrian Peterson is on pace for 1,800 yards. Over or under?
If he keeps running like he has the past few games, I'd say he has a chance at 2,000. But the Vikings face some great defenses the next six weeks as well. As for the rest of the NFC North, they have the Packers moving up one to #6, the Bears falling five spots to #8, and the Lions dropping two and settling at #19.
The folks at ESPN had us at 14 last week and didn't move us after the bye either. They explain how the Vikings still have the playoffs on their mind:
They want to make it three NFC North teams in this year's playoffs. More consistency from their QB would help.
Can't argue with that. Christian Ponder will need to be on top of his game if we want to remain in the playoff picture with Green Bay and Chicago. Speaking of the two teams a game ahead of the Vikings, ESPN has the Packers and Bears ranked 4th (up 2) and 6th (down 3), respectively. The Lions dropped from 17th to 19th.
NFL.com's Elliott Harrison has the Vikings standing pat at #14 as well. But he's not too optimistic about their playoff chances:
The Minnesota Vikings finally got a week off. Good thing, because the rest of the schedule is absolutely brutal: at Bears, at Packers, vs. Bears, at Rams, at Texans, vs. Packers.
And just to make sure that we know where he stands, Elliott threw in his response to a Twitter question on whether or not the Vikings have any playoff hopes:
Let me deliberate on it for a moment. No.
OK then! Elliott has the Packers 4th (down 1), Bears 8th (down 4), and Lions oddly holding steady at 18th after their home loss on Sunday.
Up next we have Brian Billick's power rankings at Fox Sports. Minnesota dropped a spot in his rankings during the bye week. His reasoning? You got it, their tough upcoming schedule:
With six wins, the Vikings are clearly in contention for the wild card, but when looking at their schedule it is tough to find two wins in their remaining six games.
Hopefully the Vikings can find more than two victories, because 8-8 still isn't making the playoffs in the NFC this year. The former Vikings offensive coordinator has the Packers moving up 1 spot to #5, the Bears falling 4 to #8, and the Lions sliding down 1 to #19.
Pete Prisco's power rankings on CBS Sports have the Vikings staying put at 15. Forgive me for alliterating, but Pete Prisco is also pointing to Ponder's performance as the primary prognostication for the Purple's playoff push:
Coming off the bye, they are in the thick of the playoff race. They have to hope Christian Ponder's bad days are behind him.
It's oversimplifying to say that the playoffs depend solely on how Ponder plays, but we also know that the Vikings are definitely not making the playoffs if "Bad Ponder" shows up too often. Prisco puts the Pack 4th (+1), Bears 8th (-5), and Lions 22nd (-2).
Last but not least, we have the arbitrary rankings of some jerk named Eric Thompson over at SB Nation Minnesota. This guy obviously has absolutely no credibility, but somehow he agrees with most of the real NFL writers and has the Vikings holding their ground at #14. Here's what he had to say:
As they say at the end of Super Troopers: are you ready for the fun part? 'Cause here comes the fun part. Only one of their remaining six opponents are currently ranked lower than the Vikes in our rankings.
Oooh, good reference! It might have actually been relevant ten years ago! And since this Mr. Thompson doesn't have an original thought in his head, he ranks the other three NFC North teams pretty similarly: Packers #7 (down 2), Bears #8 (down 2), and Lions #19 (down 2).
So there you have it folks! As always, let us know what you think about the rankings for the Vikings or any other team in the comments. Feel free to add any other rankings you find around the internet that we didn't already cover as well.