A little more than a week ago, the perceptions of the Minnesota Vikings’ 2016 NFL season changed with the injury to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Then, on Saturday, they changed again. . .in most cases. . .with the Vikings’ acquisition of Sam Bradford to replace him. There were lots of pundits that were high on the Vikings prior to all that, so how have things changed going into Week 1?
Well, with the season pretty much upon us, experts everywhere are putting out their first meaningful Power Rankings of the season. While Power Rankings aren’t gospel (or anything resembling it), it’s always kind of fun to look and see what people think of our favorite football team. So, let’s take a spin around the interwebs and see what we can see, shall we?
No supporting commentary with this ranking.
NFL.com (Elliot Harrison): #10
The Vikings were in the 8-hole last time out. Late last week -- in the early drafts of this file -- Minnesota was 15th. Then the team acquired Sam Bradford. So why not move back up to 8? Because this is Bradford's fourth system in three years. The adjustment might take time. I do applaud general manager Rick Spielman for being aggressive, especially with Adrian Peterson entering Year 10. But if Spielman said the team wasn't going to mortgage the future, wasn't giving up a first and a fourth (that can become a third or second, if certain conditions are met) kind of doing that? I know the Vikes have plenty of picks, but still -- high price. What if there is a QB controversy in 2017? Thoughts, Vikings faithful? (@HarrisonNFL)
Yahoo! Sports (Frank Schwab): #14
I hate the Sam Bradford trade for the Vikings, in the big picture. But if we’re just focusing on this season, he is a better option than Shaun Hill. The problem is, Bradford still isn’t a good option. But the supporting cast is strong. The Vikings shouldn’t tumble too far without Teddy Bridgewater.
Fox Sports (Cameron DaSilva): #9
Had it not been for Teddy Bridgewater’s injury, the Vikings would have been slightly higher. Not much, however. Sam Bradford has the talent to lead Minnesota to a playoff berth so long as he fixes his sometimes-erratic accuracy and meshes well with Norv Turner’s offense. He absolutely has the weapons around him, but the offense will go as he does.
USA Today: #10
QB Sam Bradford's arrival mitigates the disastrous fallout of Teddy Bridgewater's knee injury. But RB Adrian Peterson and a stout defense will once again carry this team.
CBS Sports (Pete Prisco): #11
Losing Teddy Bridgewater for the season hurts, but they aren't built around the passing game. That's why they can still be a playoff team behind Adrian Peterson and that defense with Sam Bradford at quarterback.
Teddy Bridgewater's injury forced the Vikings to pay a steep price for Sam Bradford in hopes of salvaging their season. Problem is, Bradford's career Total QBR of 40.5 is lower than Shaun Hill's 45.6.
Walter Football (Walter Cherepinsky): #5
The Vikings, for my money, have the best defense in the NFL, and they also possess a strong running game and improved offensive line. They've obtained more play-makers as well. I had them ranked No. 2, but have decided to drop them three spots in the wake of Teddy Bridgewater's unfortunate injury. I would've placed them in the 8-10 range had they not acquired Sam Bradford.
Speaking of Bradford, does anyone else think it'd be a good idea to sit Bradford until the playoffs? The Vikings can get there without him, but they could make sure Bradford would be healthy for a January run by not using him at all in the meantime.
SI.com (Chris Burke): #12
A brutal turn of events last week for the Vikings, who lost Bridgewater for who knows how long to a gruesome non-contact knee injury. Spinning a first-round pick for Sam Bradford in the aftermath came across as a panic move, even though Bradford finished 2015 strong.
Bleacher Report (Chris Simms): #11
Sam Bradford is in town!
But let's pause for a second on the Vikings' Super Bowl chances. It's so tough for any quarterback—Bradford, Shaun Hill, Peyton Manning, anyone—to just be thrown into game action. It'll take time to get everything set.
Luckily, if Bradford is ever in a bind, Adrian Peterson can just take a handoff 70 yards. He's still a special talent.
Also special: This defense that Mike Zimmer has assembled. It has Anthony Barr (watch out for him). It has a few big run-stuffers up front. The secondary is as deep as it's been in years with Terence Newman and a couple of rookie talents.
So, that’s what we’re looking at going into Week 1, folks. Most outlets seem to see the Vikings as a team in the upper part of the “teens,” as far as rankings. We have one that thinks the Vikings are a top 5 team despite the injury to Teddy Bridgewater, but otherwise it seems fairly consistent. It’s hard to argue with that.
In a few weeks here, we’ll see if we can’t get the graph of the trends going to see how the Vikings are fluctuating over the course of the season.