Since we’re getting ready to start Week 15 tomorrow with Thursday Night Football, it’s time to take a look around the internet and see how the pundits are viewing the Minnesota Vikings. The purple started the fourth quarter of their season off with a convincing victory over the Detroit Lions, but how much is that going to affect things?
Let’s find out, as we gather all the links for this week’s Minnesota Vikings Power Rankings Roundup!
Associated Press: #8 (Last week: #10)
No Vikings-centric commentary from the AP this week.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: #8 (Last week: #7)
They didn’t do a lot on offense against the Lions, but they did enough. The defense was outstanding and now they face a tough road test against the Chargers.
MMQB, Sports Illustrated: #8 (Last week: #7)
Just pretend the first sentence of the Packers’ skinny made it down here too. The defense held the Lions to just 161 yards of offense, with Danielle Hunter picking up three solo sacks, while Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone rumbled for 120 total rushing yards.
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: #8 (Last week: #10)
The table is set . . . for Kirk Cousins to vomit all over it.
USA Today: #7 (Last week: #10)
Adam Thielen, who’s played 16 snaps in last seven games, is probably the key if Minnesota is to make late charge to NFC North crown.
Bleacher Report: #8 (Last week: #9)
The Minnesota Vikings have had a good season, winning nine of their first 13 games after taking care of a short-handed Lions team at home. But with the Green Bay Packers one game ahead of them in the NFC North and the Los Angeles Rams lurking just one game back in the wild-card race, there’s not much margin for error.
The Vikings didn’t play their best football in Week 14, especially on offense. They had just 354 total yards of offense against a bad Lions defense and went just 5-of-14 on third down. But the defense completely put the clamps on Detroit’s offense, giving up just 231 total yards and shutting out the Lions until the game was well in hand.
It was a workmanlike effort against an overmatched team that sets Minnesota up for the all-important stretch run—a trip to Los Angeles to face the Chargers before massive home games against the rival Packers and Bears.
Depending on how things play out, the Vikings could hit the playoffs as division champions—or miss the postseason altogether.
ESPN: #8 (Last week: #7)
The Vikings restructured their offense to make Dalvin Cook the centerpiece and surround Kirk Cousins with a host of weapons that would allow them to excel even when faced with injuries or other complications. That approach created a top-10 offense that has had to bail out Minnesota’s defense at times. The FPI ranking of the Vikings’ defense doesn’t quite tell the whole story. This unit is not what it has been in years past, and that can be attributed to a host of issues. Still, the Vikings are a 9-4 team that has all the tools it needs with the playoffs on the horizon.
Dan Hanzus, NFL.com: #8 (Last week: #9)
These are good days to catch the Lions on your schedule, and the Vikings handled their business in a 20-7 win. At 9-4, the Vikings remain in second place in the NFC North but still have a head-to-head matchup remaining with the division-leading Packers. As expected, the Minnesota defense dominated a Lions offense led by third-string quarterback David Blough. Detroit didn’t reach 100 yards of total offense until its 40th snap of the game and avoided a shutout thanks only to a garbage-time touchdown reception by Kenny Golladay. The star on defense was Danielle Hunter, who had three sacks in the first half, giving him 12.5 on the season and 52.5 in his five-year career. At 25 years old and 40 days, Hunter is the youngest player to reach 50 sacks since the NFL started tracking the stat in 1982. Not a bad return on investment for a third-round pick.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: #8 (Last week: #7)
The Vikings didn’t get many style points for their win against the overmatched Lions. They are going out with the same balanced, explosive offense every week, and their defense needed a get-well game. They can’t afford to look past the Chargers as the Packers and Bears rematches loom.
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: #8 (Last week: #10)
Don’t forget, the Vikings have been without receiver Adam Thielen for four games due to a hamstring injury. The team is hopeful he returns next week. That would be an enormous boost for an offense that still has done fairly well without him.
This week’s rankings are just about as close to a consensus as you’ll find, as nine of the ten rankings that we aggregate as a part of our Roundup have the purple ranked at #8 (the only one that doesn’t has them ranked at #7). What’s strange is that, after a win, there were four different sets of rankings that felt compelled to move the Vikings down a spot rather than just hold them steady. The other six all moved the Vikings up at least one spot. . .there were no “hold steadys” this week.
All of that means that the Vikings’ average ranking this week sits at 7.9, a little more than half a spot better than last week’s average of 8.6.
Here is the graphic representation of the trends we’ve seen throughout the year. Can you click to embiggen? Oh, yes. . .you can click to embiggen.
That’s your Power Rankings Roundup for this week, folks. Here’s hoping that next week there won’t be any outlets that have a reason to move the Vikings down at all.