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Vikings Week 1 Power Rankings- and Perspective

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San Diego Chargers v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The first regular season game is just two days away, and the season opening power rankings are upon us. And so, NFL prognosticators have fired up their super computers and analyzed every team from top to bottom, and with amazing sagacity have compiled a prescient list of NFL team rankings for the 2017 season.

Or maybe they just spent a few minutes looking at each team and wrote a couple lines about whatever came to mind.

Whatever the case, the Vikings appear to be firmly entrenched as also-rans among the prognosticators, ranking somewhere in the high-teens or low-20s on most lists. Here are some examples:

Elliot Harrison, nfl.com

#20 - Minnesota Vikings

This spot seems low for the Vikings, at least considering the national perception that Minnesota is a wild-card team. Mike Zimmer certainly owns a roster capable of a 10-win season. The reality is that Minnesota didn't look all that impressive in the preseason. The starting offense struggled to sustain long drives and put the ball in the paint, going TD-less in August. The secondary was asleep in Seattle. The opener against Drew Brees and the Saints will reveal much about the Vikes.

Pete Prisco, cbssports.com

#21 - Minnesota Vikings

They have a good defense and Dalvin Cook should amp up the run game. The improved offensive line will be the key to their season.

ESPN.com

#17 - Minnesota Vikings

Rookie Dalvin Cook already has found himself at the top of the Vikings' running back depth chart, but he could be in for a long season if the offensive line doesn't improve. The Vikings averaged 3.2 yards per rush last season, worst in the NFL.

Chris Simms, Bleacher Report

#17 - Minnesota Vikings

I still believe the Minnesota Vikings defense is special. It did give up way too many big plays in the preseason, and that's concerning. However, things may have looked worse than they actually are in Week 3, because the 49ers seemed to actually game-plan for Minnesota. This isn't likely a trend that will continue into the regular season.

Offensively, Minnesota should be improved from a year ago. The offensive line is getting better—though it certainly isn't something to brag about yet—and the addition of Dalvin Cook is huge. My question is whether the Vikings can find someone other than Cook to make explosive plays. Stefon Diggs might be that guy, but they need more consistency from him.

The Minnesota offense will be put to the test in Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints, who have an underrated secondary, and we know Drew Brees and Co. can score points.

Adam Stites, SBNation

#22 - Minnesota Vikings

No commentary provided.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News

#19 - Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings offense has a pretty low ceiling because of the line woes. The defense is stacked at every level with good depth, but that's not enough to trump the passing-proficient Packers and Lions in their division.

Peter King, SI/MMQB

#16 - Minnesota Vikings

Classic team that could go in either direction. If Sam Bradford flourishes in Pat Shurmur’s system, if Cook confirms his high first-round talent with an impact year, if the Vikings can build up a strong playoff résumé entering a brutal post-Thanksgiving stretch, and if young defensive stalwarts like Danielle Hunter can continue their ascension, this will be a playoff team. Big ifs, but all certainly possible. One look in the rear-view mirror here. Kudos to GM Rick Spielman for making the tough call last Labor Day weekend and trading a 2017 first-round pick for Bradford. With the short- and long-term uncertainty surrounding Teddy Bridgewater’s knee injury (to this day), Spielman gave up what became the 14th pick in 2017 for short- and long-term insurance. Bradford delivered in up-and-down fashion, typical of his career, but there was no passer in this draft putting up numbers like Bradford’s in 2016: 71.6 percent accuracy, 20 touchdowns to five interceptions, 99.3 rating. Having a quarterback is why the Vikings will contend.

Mark Maske, Washington Post

#23 - Minnesota Vikings

Will this season’s Vikings more closely resemble the version that began last season 5-0 or the one that went 3-8 thereafter? Adrian Peterson is gone, and Sam Bradford remains the QB. Whether either of those is a good thing remains to be seen.

USA Today Sports

#17 - Minnesota Vikings

No disastrous injuries through the end of the preseason, so Mike Zimmer’s crew is in better shape than it was at this point last year. Verdict is still out on the reshuffled offensive line.

Some Interesting Perspective

This time last year, the Atlanta Falcons were coming off an 8-8 season, having won their first 5 games only to finish 3-8 - just like the Vikings did last season. They didn’t have the greatest of pre-seasons either. So, given the similarities to the Vikings entering this season- although the Falcons strength is on the other side of the ball from the Vikings- I thought it would be interesting to see how the prognosticators ranked them heading into the 2016 season. Here are some examples:

Elliot Harrison, nfl.com

Atlanta Falcons #25

To Falcons fans disappointed with this ranking, I understand. How do we shine up Matt Ryan's preseason performance? By any measure, he stunk (18 of 37 passing, no touchdowns and an interception). At least the pick didn't come in the red zone ... oh, wait. It was hard not to get excited about what rookie safety Keanu Neal could bring to this defense, and now he's hurt. We'll discover where this team is soon enough.

Chris Burke, si.com

Atlanta Falcons #26

Fair or not (and it’s becoming increasingly fair), Matt Ryan has slipped into the conversation of the NFL’s most overrated quarterbacks. While the Falcons are not going to bail on him anytime soon, he has a lot of weight on his shoulders headed into 2016. The defense and O-line should be better; the QB is a question mark.

Pete Prisco, cbssports.com

Atlanta Falcons, #28

The Falcons will be better on offense this season, but the defense still has too many questions and a lot of youth.

I don’t think anyone had Atlanta higher than about 20th in the rankings entering last season. Carolina, by contrast, was in the top 5 in most rankings. Stuff happens.

Poll

Where do you think the Vikings should be ranked heading into the 2017-18 season?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Top 5
    (91 votes)
  • 27%
    6-12
    (573 votes)
  • 55%
    13-18
    (1171 votes)
  • 10%
    19-25
    (221 votes)
  • 2%
    26-32
    (45 votes)
2101 votes total Vote Now