Things are always better after a win than they are after a loss, aren’t they, folks? Yes, the Minnesota Vikings showed up in a big way on Sunday afternoon against the Miami Dolphins, registering a 41-17 victory at U.S. Bank Stadium and keeping themselves firmly in the driver’s seat as far as a Wild Card playoff berth is concerned. This also means that they’re going to be trending upward in the eyes of those that put together the Power Rankings around the internet.
How far are they trending up? Well, it’s time to find out, as we’re ready for this week’s Power Rankings Roundup. Let’s get to it!
Associated Press: #13 (Last week: #13)
No Viking-centric commentary from the AP this week.
SB Nation: #11 (Last week: #21)
It’s really hard to get excited about those last three seeds in the NFC. The Cowboys and Seahawks each lost a head-scratcher this week. The Vikings, meanwhile, looked a lot more like we all thought they would when we were going through the useless exercise of making preseason predictions. Will that hold, though? They get the Lions this week, so another practice game like that would at least be a good chance to roll up some reps before January.
Walter Cherepinsky, Walter Football: #16 (Last week: #14)
Nothing new this week, and they moved us down after a win. It’s too late to remove them at this point, but they won’t be a part of 2019 Power Rankings Roundups.
MMQB, Sports Illustrated: #11 (Last week: #11)
No Vikings-centric commentary from MMQB this week.
Bleacher Report: #13 (Last week: #12)
On Sunday, it was put up or shut up for the Minnesota Vikings. After losing back-to-back road games to the Patriots and Seahawks, a third straight defeat at the hands of the Miami Dolphins would drop the Vikings below .500 and potentially out of the playoff picture.
However, for once, the Vikings actually looked the part of the Super Bowl contender they were painted as entering the season.
The Vikings throttled a Miami team coming off an upset of the New England Patriots, propelled to a 24-point win by a ground game that gouged the Dolphins for 220 yards and three touchdowns. The Vikings also limited the Dolphins to a paltry 193 yards of total offense and 37 net passing yards while piling up nine sacks and surrendering only two third-down conversions in 12 attempts.
Much of Minnesota’s problems this season have been the result of a one-dimensional offense that couldn’t run the ball, and in that regard, Sunday’s success is a welcome sight.
However, Minnesota’s still very much in must-win mode, with a trip to Detroit and a home tilt with the NFC North champion Bears remaining on the slate.
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: #14 (Last week: #16)
We’ll see if the Vikings keep playing this well on offense after firing coordinator John DeFilippo or if Sunday was one of those one-game bounces. But if the Vikings play a few more games on offense like Sunday, that has to reflect poorly on DeFilippo. Everyone seems to love him but he has no track record of success as a coordinator. If the shine is off of him, that makes a fairly thin group of head-coaching candidates even thinner (and there are going to be a lot of openings).
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: #14 (Last week: #15)
The planets don’t line up often for the Vikings, but when they do it’s memorable.
USA Today: #14 (Last week: #15)
Where did this Dalvin Cook kid come from? Wait, what? He’s been on the team for two years? Did anyone notify ousted OC John DeFilippo?
ESPN: #13 (Last week: #13)
Biggest breakthrough: The running game. Mike Zimmer said it best: When Dalvin Cook has the ball in his hands, good things typically happen for the Vikings’ offense. After weeks of struggling to generate a potent rushing attack, Minnesota keyed in on the 31st-ranked run defense and ran circles around Miami, notching season highs in attempts (40), yards (220) and rushing touchdowns (three). The way Cook affected the game helped set up a potent play-action attack for Kirk Cousins and stymied the issues that were causing the Vikings to fall short in three recent losses.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: #13 (Last week: #14)
The change in offensive coordinators paid off against Miami as they scored 41 points. They control their destiny to a playoff spot and should get there.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: #14 (Last week: #15)
The Vikings went to Dalvin Cook-ing with gas under new offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, and it opened things up nicely for a scoring output that’s more in line with their talent. Getting off to fast starts and big leads is nice for the defense, too.
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com: #12 (Last week: #13)
Task: Handled. The most lovely factoid emanating from the Vikes’ 41-17 win over the Dolphins? Dalvin Cook finally receiving some semblance of a workload. Minnesota’s dynamic RB1 has been anything but this season, but that’s due more to a lack of opportunity than anything else. It’s hard to sell Honda Civics if your dealership doesn’t provide you any Civics to sell. Cook took his 19 carries and spun them into 136 rushing yards and two scores. Throw in 68 from his caddy, Latavius Murray, and Minnesota controlled the clock for over 33 minutes. At 7-6-1, the Vikings own the inside track to the NFC’s sixth seed, with both the Packers and Panthers falling.
Side note: Watching Miami play at Minnesota, I couldn’t help but recall former Vikings great Cris Carter coming out of retirement to play for the Dolphins, only to face his former team, back in 2002. With the game on the line, a portly (?) Carter dropped a Jay Fiedler delivery in the end zone to lose the day. Carter in aqua and orange: still weird.
Well, I thought that everyone would move the Vikings up at least a little bit after their victory, but two outlets actually moved them down. Honestly, I’m not super-smart or anything, but I’m really not sure I understand that logic. Overall, though, the trend is upward for the Vikings. Their average ranking from the 12 outlets we use for this is up to 13.17 this week, more than a full spot above last week’s 14.33 average ranking.
The trend graph is below, as usual, and if you would like to click on it for purposes of embiggination, you may.
That’s the Power Rankings Roundup for this week, folks. Hopefully the upward trend will continue following this Sunday’s game at Detroit.