I was pretty interested to see what was going to happen to the Minnesota Vikings in our Power Rankings Roundup for this week. Yes, they won in thrilling fashion, taking down the Denver Broncos by a score of 27-23 after one of the biggest comebacks in team history. But the Broncos, at least on paper, were a team the Vikings should have beaten handily. . .or, at least, that’s what the double-digit spread was telling us leading up to kickoff.
With the bye week settling in, let’s take a look at how much things changed for the Vikings after they climbed to 8-3 in this week’s Power Rankings Roundup!
Associated Press: #7 (Last week: #7)
No Vikings-centric commentary from the AP this week.
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: #7 (Last week: #7)
Getting back to the conversation about who deserves to be an MVP candidate, Kirk Cousins has gotten himself on the list. He’s fifth in the NFL in passing yards despite a run-heavy offense. He has a 21-3 TD-INT ratio and his 114.8 passer rating is right behind Russell Wilson’s 114.9. Cousins was also huge in bringing the Vikings back from a 20-0 halftime deficit. Over the past five season, including playoffs, teams trailing by 20 or more at halftime were 0-99. If you took out all of the preconceived notions and judged only this season, Cousins is an MVP candidate. And if he carries the Vikings past the Packers in the NFC North? Then it becomes a very real conversation.
Bleacher Report: #8 (Last week: #9)
The Minnesota Vikings’ four-point win over the Broncos was an exercise in perception.
Some will perceive it as a gutsy display from a good team—the Vikings trailed 20-0 at halftime only to come roaring back by drubbing Denver 27-3 over the second 30 minutes.
Others will perceive it as troubling that the Vikings were in a 20-0 hole at home against the three-win Broncos at all—and another example of the inconsistency that has plagued the Vikings the past couple of seasons.
The reality, at least in Davenport’s opinion, is that it’s a bit of both.
”Given how loaded the NFC is,” he said, “the Vikings accomplished their primary goal in Week 11: get a win and stay in the second wild-card spot. But that first half is why I have a hard time envisioning these Vikings getting past the NFC’s big dogs. You might be able to dig out of a hole like that against Denver, but come out flat like that in the postseason (or even two weeks from now at Seattle), and you’ll get rolled. Minny will probably make the playoffs this year, but it isn’t getting out of the second round.”
USA Today: #8 (Last week: #7)
Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. have become one of league’s best tight end combos, teaming for more than 500 yards and 84% catch rate.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: #6 (Last week: #6)
That was an impressive second half against Denver. But they can’t do that against good teams. The defense has to tighten up some.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: #7 (Last week: #7)
The Vikings would have blown that Broncos game last season. But this season, their offensive execution with Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook has been terrific, whether they’re rolling out to leads or mounting comebacks. Mike Zimmer has done a solid coaching job, and Cousins has lived up to his contract.
ESPN: #7 (Last week: #7)
Most underrated player: Jayron Kearse, S
In back-to-back weeks, Kearse has been credited with making the final play of the game to seal victories. He picked off Dak Prescott’s Hail Mary attempt last week and broke up a pass in the end zone as time expired on Sunday against the Broncos. Kearse’s playing time has fluctuated, and the return of Andrew Sendejo puts the 6-foot-4 safety’s role in question. Still, when Harrison Smith sustained a hamstring injury late against Denver, Vikings coaches trusted Kearse to cover tight end Noah Fant in the ultimate “got to have it” situation. Coming through in these moments cements Kearse’s importance in the secondary.
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: #7 (Last week: #7)
Don’t be shocked if when the dust settles in 40 days the NFC road to Miami goes through Minneapolis.
(Editor’s note: Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn)
MMQB, Sports Illustrated: #7 (Last week: #6)
A resounding comeback was the only path to salvation in this one, and Kirk Cousins led the way on 29-of-35 passing for 319 yards and three second-half touchdowns. Dalvin Cook was quiet, but Stefon Diggs (five receptions, 121 yards, TD) and the receiving core picked him up as Minnesota keeps pace near the top of the NFC.
Dan Hanzus, NFL.com: #7 (Last week: #7)
Kirk Cousins is having a nice little stretch for himself. He showed doubters he could go on the road and beat a quality opponent in prime time in the Vikings’ Week 10 win over the Cowboys. And on Sunday, the quarterback proved he can led a team back from the abyss -- in this case, a 20-0 halftime deficit against the Broncos. Cousins was immaculate in the second half, piling up 261 passing yards and three TDs over four consecutive touchdown drives. The quarterback didn’t do it himself, but he proved he can step to the front of the pack and lead this Minnesota team when it doesn’t have the luxury of leaning on Dalvin Cook and the running game. One final takeaway: The Vikings are so hard to beat in their building; if they can take the NFC North and host a game or two in January ... look out.
Well, out of our ten sources that we use in putting together our roundup, seven of them kept the Vikings exactly where they were the week before. Of the three that didn’t, one bumped them up one notch, while the other two pushed them down one spot. After we do the math, that all means that the average ranking for the Vikings this week has dropped from 7.0 all the way down to. . .7.1.
Here is your embiggenable chart for this week, folks. Please click on it for easier viewing if you need to.
That’s your Power Rankings Roundup for this week, ladies and gentlemen. How much effect, if any, will the bye week have on the Vikings’ spot in the hierarchy? We’ll find out at around this time next week.