Hey, everybody! For the first time in a long time, the Minnesota Vikings got a victory this past weekend! That means that they’re still in a first-place tie in the NFC North. . .a tie that will be broken one way or another by this Thursday’s contest at Ford Field against the Detroit Lions.
Since the Vikings did manage a victory this past week, it stands to reason that they might actually be poised for a move up the Power Rankings. Did it work out that way? Let’s take a look at this week’s Roundup.
SB Nation: #16 (Last week: #17)
No notable commentary about the Vikings in this week’s rankings.
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com: #12 (Last week: #16)
The Vikings' front four would've steamrolled your grandmama had she worn a Cardinal on her helmet Sunday. For the love of Jim Marshall, Alan Page, Gary Larsen, Doug Martin, Chris Doleman, Keith Millard, Henry Thomas, John Randle and Jared Allen -- that was unreal. Nonstop pressure on Carson Palmer allowed the Vikings to end a painful losing streak at four games and stay above .500. An important win, too, with the Lions prevailing at home. Guesssssssssss who plays in Detroit on Turkey Day?
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: #11 (Last week: #12)
Thursday’s game at Detroit is enormous for the Vikings because they’ve already lost to the Lions. If the Vikings lose on Thanksgiving, the Lions will lead by a game in the division and own the tiebreaker over Minnesota. It’s hard to see the Vikings being two games better than the Lions over the last five games of the season.
Cameron DaSilva, Fox Sports: #11 (Last week: #13)
The Vikings’ defense and special teams came alive Sunday. They each accounted for a 100-yard touchdown, lifting the Vikings to a win over the struggling Cardinals. The offense still has no signs of life in the running game, which will be a big problem going forward.
USA Today: #12 (Last week: #17)
One quarter of their 24 touchdowns this season have come courtesy of defense or special teams. Not a sustainable formula for success.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: #13 (Last week: #16)
They snapped their losing streak by beating the Cardinals, but have no time to rest with a game at Detroit on Thanksgiving.
ESPN: #12 (Last week: #15)
The Vikings have played three games this season in which the defense and special teams scored as many (or more) touchdowns as the offense. That's great for the defense and special teams but not a ringing endorsement for the offense. The NFC North lead is on the line in Detroit on Thanksgiving.
Walter Cherepinsky, Walter Football: #11 (Last week: #11)
I found it odd that the narrative entering the Arizona game was that the Vikings were done. They were getting lots of defensive players back from injury, which the public ignored because none of them were on their fantasy team. Besides, if there was a team that was done in that matchup, it was Arizona. Minnesota will be competitive down the stretch, barring more injuries. It'll also help if Sharrif Floyd ever comes back from injury, but at this point, it seems like his return date is going to be June 6, 2017.
(Bonus points to anyone who understands the significance of that date.)
Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated: #19 (Last week: #22 )
Fifty-four years ago, there was Amos Marsh and Mike Gaechter. Sunday, it was Xavier Rhodes and Cordarrelle Patterson. Not since Marsh’s 101-yard kickoff return and Gaechter’s 100-yard pick-six on Oct. 14, 1962 had two teammates scored 100-yard TDs on the same day until Rhodes and Patterson did it Sunday.
Chris Simms, Bleacher Report: #18 (Last week: #20)
The defense found the end zone.
The special teams made a few "wow" plays.
Sound familiar? It should. Minnesota replicated the formula for its 5-0 start in Week 11. In doing so, it looked like the team that once climbed as high as No. 2 in these power rankings.
That’s not to say the Vikings are back to that level of play. Concerns still remain, particularly with Sam Bradford’s protection and a predictable offense chock-full of shallow cross routes.
Minnesota’s other phases masked all those problems, though. Xavier Rhodes turned in the pick-six this defense missed since its bye week. Then, Cordarrelle Patterson broke the long touchdown return that snapped a losing streak.
Looking forward: I'm thankful for a first-place showdown on Turkey Day. The NFC North is up for grabs on Thanksgiving with Vikings-Lions.
So, all but one of the ten outlets that we keep track of in our Power Rankings Roundup has seen fit to move the Vikings up after a bunch of big drops. In half of these rankings, they’re back to being at least a Top 12 outfit, but there are a couple that still have them lower.
Here is this week’s trend graph going all the way back to the beginning of the season. You may click to embiggen.
That’s the Power Rankings Roundup for Week 12, folks. Hopefully we’ll see another upward tick at this time next week following the Thanksgiving Day showdown in Detroit.