Once again, we’ve reached that point in the week where we take a look around these vast interwebs of ours and see where the Minnesota Vikings are being slotted by pundits compared to the rest of the National Football League.
Yes, it’s time for our Power Rankings Roundup going into the big Week 4 matchup against the Chicago Bears. Following the Vikings’ 34-14 thrashing of the Oakland Raiders this past Sunday, we should expect their standing to increase a bit. But, by how much?
It’s time to find out, because on to the Roundup we go!
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: #6 (Last week: #11)
The Vikings beat bad teams and don’t beat good teams. That’s the pattern in the Kirk Cousins era. We can’t be sure if the Bears are good or not, but a game at Chicago will test that pattern.
USA Today: #7 (Last week: #7)
On pace for 2,000 yards, Dalvin Cook is the best back in league right now — which is nice considering what he dealt with during his first two years.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: #7 (Last week: #9)
The Vikings will be fine in any game when they can go crazy running with Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison while their defense shuts down its opponent before garbage time. At some point, however, their playoff worthiness needs to be determined by Kirk Cousins.
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: #8 (Last week: #10)
They could have found someone to repeatedly hand the ball to Dalvin Cook for a lot less than $28 million per year.
Dan Hanzus, NFL.com: #9 (Last week: #10)
Three weeks into the season, the Vikings’ offensive philosophy is apparent: This is Dalvin Cook’s team. You see it on the field and even during the pregame introductions, where Cook has bumped Kirk Cousins for top billing. The third-year running back set a franchise record with his third consecutive 100-yard game to start the season in an easy 34-14 win over the Raiders. Minnesota is averaging 193.7 yards per game on the ground and has rolled up more yards rushing than passing during its 2-1 start. Cook is the unquestioned star of the attack, but he’s not alone. Alexander Mattison has shown excellent burst when given the opportunity; a 10-yard touchdown run was an impressive feat of athleticism by the third-round rookie. The middling Raiders provided a perfect get-right opponent for Cousins, who bounced back with a solid effort after an alarming performance last week in Green Bay.
MMQB, Sports Illustrated: #7 (Last week: #10)
Dalvin Cook has rushed for at least 110 yards in each of the first three games. He’ll be tested against that Bears front on Sunday.
ESPN: #8 (Last week: #11)
What we got wrong: That Stefon Diggs would be the catalyst for an explosive passing attack.
We knew the Vikings would emphasize running the ball this season, but who would’ve thought Diggs would have only six catches for 101 yards and a touchdown through three games? The star wideout has been virtually a nonfactor, which isn’t a knock on him but rather a byproduct of the way things have played out in an offense where receiver usage is down and running back production is way, way up.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: #12 (Last week: #12)
They can run it and play good defense. That’s the Mike Zimmer way. But they have to get more from their passing game.
Bleacher Report: #11 (Last week: #14)
The Minnesota Vikings we saw Sunday are the team everyone expected to be a legit Super Bowl contender last year.
Granted, the team’s Week 3 opponent was rather ungood, but the Vikings performed well in just about every phase of the game. Dalvin Cook continued his red-hot start to the season, rushing for 110 yards and a score. Kirk Cousins didn’t post big numbers, but he was efficient and took care of the football. The Minnesota defense piled up four sacks and gave up just 302 yards of offense.
The question now is whether the Vikings can do it consistently. They looked great in pounding the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1 but came out flat in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers and fell behind 21-0.
The Vikings had all kinds of trouble with their rivals in Chicago last year—coming out strong at Soldier Field in Week 4 would go a long way toward allaying concerns about whether Minnesota is the real deal and ready to contend in the NFC North.
Associated Press: #8 (Last week: #9)
No Vikings-centric commentary from the AP this week.
Well, in eight of the ten rankings we use to put our Roundup together, the Vikings are in the Top 10, and the other two rankings have them at #11 and #12. When you crunch all the numbers, the team’s average ranking is up exactly two spots from what it was last week. Last week’s average had the Vikings at 10.3, while their average ranking this week is up to 8.3.
Man, I bet a victory over last year’s NFC North champs in their house would give the Vikings another nice little boost from the punditry. Hopefully, next week, we’ll get a chance to find out whether or not that’s the case.