Now that we’ve reached the halfway point of the year, we can see exactly where the Minnesota Vikings sit in the eyes of the pundits compared to where they were at the start of the season. With a 4-0 second quarter of the season that washed away the bad taste of a 2-2 first quarter, the purple have moved way up in a lot of eyes.
But just how far up? Let’s find out by going through our Power Rankings Roundup for this week!
Associated Press: #5 (Last week: #6, Week 1: #11)
No Vikings-centric commentary from the AP this week.
Bleacher Report: #5 (Last week: #7, Week 1: #16)
The Minnesota Vikings are on a roll.
Granted, the Vikings’ 10-point win over the Washington Redskins on Thursday night wasn’t the team’s most impressive victory of the season. But after pitching and lurching their way to a 2-2 start, the Vikings have peeled off four straight wins and sit at 6-2 at the season’s halfway mark.
The biggest reason for Minnesota’s surge is the player who, not that long ago, was the target of more than a little vitriol from the fanbase. Kirk Cousins didn’t throw a touchdown pass against Washington, but the $28 million quarterback misfired on just three of 26 pass attempts and posted a passer rating over 110 for the fourth game in a row.
During Minnesota’s winning streak, Cousins has 10 touchdown passes and just a single interception.
”I’m still not sold on Minnesota as a Super Bowl contender given its 1-2 mark inside its own division,” Davenport said. “But if the Vikes can keep the momentum rolling on the road at Kansas City and Dallas the next two weeks, it will go a long way toward bringing me around.”
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: #6 (Last week: #7, Week 1: #14)
The offense continues to play at a high level with Kirk Cousins playing well. They head to Kansas City for a tough game with the Chiefs this week.
ESPN: #8 (Last week: #8, Week 1: #12)
Player that needs to step up: Pat Elflein, OG
Elflein’s move from center to left guard has come with its share of struggles. The third-year offensive lineman averaged two pressures per game in the first eight weeks, allowed four sacks and has been flagged five times. The Vikings moved Elflein to left guard because they felt it would be a better fit with rookie Garrett Bradbury at center, but the left side of the offensive line has taken a hit with Elflein’s struggles in pass protection. His run blocking has been great, so if Elflein can improve his blocking when Kirk Cousins drops back to pass, the Vikings will be able to routinely create clean pockets.
MMQB, Sports Illustrated: #5 (Last week: #5, Week 1: #14)
The Vikings beat the Redskins in an extremely nonchalant game of Thursday Night Football thanks to Dalvin Cook and Stefon Diggs simply being too good for Washington’s defense to stop. A road game against the Chiefs is still a stiff test this weekend.
Dan Hanzus, NFL.com: #5 (Last week: #5, Week 1: #12)
It wasn’t the blowout most expected, but the Vikings took care of the Redskins on Thursday Night Football and have now won four straight after last month’s apparent near-mutiny in the locker room. Kirk Cousins failed to complete just three of 26 attempts, but the real star was Dalvin Cook, who piled up 171 yards of total offense and provided the game’s lone touchdown on another monster day. Cook is the NFL’s leader in scrimmage yards and has become a dual-threat in the backfield on par with Saints star Alvin Kamara and fellow MVP candidate Christian McCaffrey. According to NFL Media Research, Cook is averaging 11.6 yards after the catch per reception this season, tops in the league. Spinning forward, we’ll learn a lot about the Vikes in the next two weeks, with road matchups against the Chiefs and Cowboys on tap. Cousins has struggled historically in high-visibility showdowns against Super Bowl contenders -- can he quiet that ugly narrative?
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: #7 (Last week: #8, Week 1: #11)
The difference between a special season and a wild-card scramble hinges on the next two games.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: #5 (Last week: #5, Week 1: #12)
The Vikings went into full grind mode Thursday night, not looking for style points and just sticking with their identity of running heavily with Dalvin Cook to set up big pass plays for Kirk Cousins. That complementary football has them in the NFC title hunt.
USA Today: #5 (Last week: #5, Week 1: #5)
DE Danielle Hunter turns 25 on Oct. 29. His 48 career sacks established record for most ever for player prior to his 25th birthday.
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: #5 (Last week: #5, Week 1: #14)
Here’s where the line of true Super Bowl contenders seems to start (though an exception can be made for the Chiefs once everyone is healthy). The Vikings weren’t great last week against Washington, but didn’t need to be. Minnesota seems underrated because of skepticism over Kirk Cousins, which is justified. But this is a very good team.
As you’d imagine, without teams ahead of them losing (for the most part), the Vikings didn’t move up very far this week in their overall average. In fact, their average only jumped by about half a spot. . .they had an average ranking of 6.1 going into the Thursday night game, and is now up to 5.6.
The jump from Week 1, however, has been pretty significant. Before the start of the season, the Vikings were more toward the middle of the pack in the rankings, with an average rank of 12.1. That bottomed out after the Week 4 loss to Chicago, where their average ranking dropped all the way to 15.4, but they’ve been slowly moving their way back up since then.
Here is a look at the graph through the midway point of the season.
There’s your Power Rankings Roundup for this week, folks. Hopefully the upward climb will continue the next time we get together, eh?