For the third consecutive week, our Power Rankings Roundup comes to you following a third consecutive loss, as the Minnesota Vikings lost in ridiculous fashion to the Detroit Lions in overtime last Sunday. Given that this is three losses in a row for our favorite football team, it’s reasonable to expect the decline they’ve experienced to continue. . .it’s just a matter of how bad it’s going to be.
So, how bad is it? Let’s take our weekly spin around the internet and find out.
SB Nation: #13 (Last week: #4)
The Vikings’ defense was just so impossibly good that it was hard to imagine the team going on a skid. But here we are. If there’s a weak link to point to it’s certainly their offensive line, and that’s a problem that doesn’t look like it’ll be fixed any time soon.
Luckily for Minnesota, the Green Bay Packers don’t look like they’ll be surging ahead of the rest of the NFC North right now. Aaron Rodgers and Co. just let the Indianapolis Colts come into their house without paying the price.
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com: #11 (Last week: #6)
This one stings. The Pat Shurmur offense barely murmured in the first half. The special teams botched an extra point and had a field goal blocked. And yet, the Vikings fought back, #skol-ing their way to a lead, with a great chance to win in the fourth quarter. All they had to do was stop Matt Stafford from moving the ball 35 yards in less than 23 seconds, with the top scoring defense in the league, the home crowd screaming its lungs out and the Lions having no timeouts. This loss could be one that keeps Mike Zimmer's suddenly reeling squad home in January.
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: #8 (Last week: #7)
The Vikings are averaging 2.7 yards per rushing attempt. Nobody has posted an average that bad since the 1953 Giants averaged 2.6.
Cameron DaSilva, Fox Sports: #9 (Last week: #7)
Is it time to hit the panic button on the Vikings? They’re getting dangerously close to that point as they’ve lost a third straight game. However, Sunday's failure against the Lions might have been a victory if not for Blair Walsh blowing kicks and the defense getting gashed late in the game and in overtime. After scoring the would-be game-winning touchdown, the Vikings should have locked up a ‘W’.
USA Today: #13 (Last week: #10)
Vaunted defense buckled in fourth quarter Sunday before completely collapsing in overtime. It must be much better as offense adapts post-Norv.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: #11 (Last week: #7)
The fast start seems like a long time ago after three consecutive losses. The offense is horrible.
ESPN: #10 (Last week: #7)
2.7: It's easy to knock QB Sam Bradford, but he isn't getting much help. The Vikings are averaging an NFL-worst 2.7 yards per rush this season.
1953: To put that 2.7 yards per rush into perspective: If it holds, it would be the lowest average since the 1953 Giants averaged 2.6 yards per rush. It also would be the worst mark in franchise history.
Walter Cherepinsky, Walter Football: #10 (Last week: #5)
I've defended the Vikings all year - when their offensive starters got hurt early, and when they lost to both the Eagles and Bears - but the Detroit defeat is difficult to justify. Great teams tend to have a bad week once in a while, and when they do, it's often followed by one other dud performance. Three losses in a row is a major red flag, especially when the third is to a Detroit squad missing two of its top three defensive players.
Chris Burke, SI.com: #14 (Last week: #10)
How unlikely was it that Minnesota would lose Sunday after taking a 16–13 lead in the closing seconds? Per ESPN’s Trey Wingo, not since 2001 had a team suffered defeat in a fashion matching the Vikings’ late collapse. No matter what happens over the second half of the Vikings’ season, it’ll be hard to match the wild ride they’ve been on so far.
Chris Simms, Bleacher Report: #12 (Last week: #7)
I was quick to compare Minnesota’s defense to Denver’s last month. And for that, I apologize.
Would Denver’s defense surrender a 17-play touchdown drive? Would it leave a must-win rivalry game with only one sack? I take it all back; Mike Zimmer’s defense is on a precipitous decline after three weeks in the loss column.
Of course, it doesn’t help when Sam Bradford and Co. move backward as much as they move forward. This Vikings offense lacks A) any sort of pass protection and B) a running back who has speed to make opposing defenses at least a little concerned.
So why is Minnesota still ranked ahead of Detroit? I can't give up on this team's talent, despite its issues. And I still believe Mike Zimmer can right the ship on both sides of the ball (plus whatever's going on inside Blair Walsh's head) in time to save their season.
Looking forward: Minnesota's pass defense looked hapless against Matthew Stafford. It will face a similar test in Washington this weekend.
So, in 60% of the rankings we use for our Roundup, the Vikings have managed to fall completely out of the Top Ten. It seems like forever ago that they were #1 in 60% of the rankings we use, but in fact it’s only been three weeks. It would be really nice to see a reversal of that trend. I mean, if the post-season started today, the Vikings would still be the NFC North champions and get a home playoff game (not to mention being the only NFC North team in the playoff party), but if this thing doesn’t get turned around in a hurry, that won’t be assured, either.
Here is the trend graph for this week. As always, you may click to embiggen.
That’s the Power Rankings Roundup for this week, ladies and gentlemen. We’ll be back here next week to see if things have changed for the better.