It’s truly been an up-and-down season for the Minnesota Vikings, and we’re only four weeks into things. There have already been exhilarating highs and some pretty significant lows. Not only did the Vikings fall to the Detroit Lions in Week 4, but they also lost a huge part of their offense with the injury to running back Dalvin Cook. How will that affect how the pundits around the league see them after their big rise last week?
Well, that’s what we’re here to find out, as we take our weekly spin around the Power Rankings across the internet. Let’s do it, shall we?
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: #18 (Last week: #14)
The Vikings don’t need a running back; they need an exorcist.
SB Nation: #26 (Last week: #14)
No Vikings-centric commentary provided by SB Nation, and no, I don’t understand the logic either.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: #18 (Last week: #11)
First Sam Bradford, and now Dalvin Cook for much longer term. That puts a lot of limitations on an offense that was just starting to explode with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. There's too much pressure on the defense now for the Vikings to hold up in the division.
This week: at Bears, where they'll face a rookie QB for a break
USA Today: #19 (Last week: #13)
A Sam Bradford-Dalvin Cook backfield provided so much hope on opening night. It may never be together again if QB bolts next spring.
Walter Cherepinsky, Walter Football: #18 (Last week: #10)
I thought the Vikings would definitely compete for a playoff spot, and even the division, as long as Sam Bradford returned soon. Even if he didn't, Case Keenum may have been able to hold down the fort until Teddy Bridgewater's return in a month or so. However, Dalvin Cook's loss changes all of that. I posted my thoughts on that in the Disaster Grades page, and it would've been a higher number if it happened to be a longer-term injury.
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: #17 (Last week: #11)
With Dalvin Cook out for the season, it just seems like we’re going to be getting the 2016 Vikings all over again. And that’s if Sam Bradford comes back soon. Cook’s injury was brutal for a promising team.
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com: #17 (Last week: #9)
Large move down for the Vikings, with Dalvin Cook's season-ending injury a huge factor. The hard-fought loss to the pesky Lions on Sunday didn't help matters. Case Keenum failed to muster the magic -- The Keenum Magic! -- he'd harnessed the week before versus the Bucs, and that's what ultimately wore his defense out. Those guys were out there all day, as the Vikings' offense only held the ball for 23 minutes and lost three fumbles. This is almost exactly what happened in Keenum's first start this season, when Minnesota's defense was forced to stay on the field against the Steelers far too long. That's three tough, close losses in a row to Detroit.
MMQB, Sports Illustrated: #19 (Last week: #10)
Speaking on behalf of all our voters: We just don’t really know what to do with the Sam Bradford-less Vikings. With Dalvin Cook going down for the season, pessimism reigns supreme right now. However, Mike Zimmer has said Bradford has a chance to return Monday night, and the defense remains as good as anyone, so maybe the Vikings yo-yo back up the rankings this time next week. Regular yo-yo motions. Not any of that trick stuff, like walking the dog. (Though walking the dog remains a very cool trick).
ESPN: #17 (Last week: #11)
Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook are hurt, which means the Minnesota offense might not be as explosive moving forward, but the defense is still intact. The Vikings are allowing 19.0 points per game this season and 19.8 since 2014, sixth best in that time.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: #18 (Last week: #7)
When do the injuries stop for this team? They lost rookie runner Dalvin Cook for the year with a torn ACL. Are they jinxed?
Chris Simms, Bleacher Report: #13 (Last week: #7)
The Minnesota Vikings are going to be mad at themselves when they go back and watch film from their game against the Detroit Lions. The Vikings were the better team, but they killed themselves with two turnovers at the start of the second half.
The Vikings started the half with a 7-3 lead, and then Jerick McKinnon fumbled. A series later, Dalvin Cook fumbled. Those mistakes were the difference in the game. When you give Matthew Stafford a short field, he's going to make something happen.
Cook also appeared to suffer a serious knee injury on the play, which will hurt this team long after Week 4. Missing Sam Bradford due to injury was another issue. Case Keenum wasn't horrible against the Lions, but he missed some throws and some reads that Bradford would have made.
This defense is still special, but when injuries and mistakes affect the offense, it's hard to win.
Associated Press: #18 (Last week: #10)
No Vikings-centric commentary provided by the Associated Press
After a big jump last week where the average rating for our favorite football team was just on the cusp of the Top 10, the average falls all the way to right around the #18 spot. Honestly, I can’t blame most of the sites for the big drop. . .after all, nobody knows what this offense is going to look like without Dalvin Cook (and, potentially, without Sam Bradford), so a middle of the pack ranking seems to be about right.
So, let’s move on to the visualization for this one so we can all ride the roller coaster together, shall we?
You may click on the image for the purposes of embiggening.
So, that’s a look at the Power Rankings for the Minnesota Vikings across the National Football League. Hopefully, we’ll see another uptick next week after the Vikings take on the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. If there isn’t. . .well, things are going to get ugly, I fear.