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Minnesota Vikings Power Rankings Roundup: Week 7


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Atlanta Falcons v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

We’re getting this up a little later in the week than we usually do, primarily because a) the Minnesota Vikings don’t play this week and we wanted to spread things out a little bit, and b) well. . .quite frankly, it’s kind of ugly.

Yes, getting blown out of your own building by a previously winless team when it looked like you may have been turning a corner has a way of putting a damper on things, and that’s what we’re seeing this week from the outlets that make up our Power Rankings Roundup. Let’s go and see what the damage actually is, shall we?

Associated Press: #27 (Last week: #23)

No commentary from the AP, as usual.

The Athletic: #18 (Last week: #18)

I might have been the last human on earth to still believe in them. Whoops. Sorry, Vikings fans. You were right. Let’s recap what we saw from Minnesota’s offense in the 40-23 loss to the Falcons:

Kirk Cousins threw an interception (one of three on the day) on his first pass attempt.

They had a series where they ran on first down for a loss of three, ran on second down for a gain of 4 and then threw incomplete short of the sticks on third down.

They had a first-and-goal from the Atlanta 2 and failed to score. The fourth-down call was a handoff to Mike Boone.

Down 30-7 with 11:15 left, they ran the ball on second-and-10 from their own 25.

The Vikings knew they were going to probably take a step back this season, but 1-5 with a minus-37 point differential is embarrassing. Having said that, EPR still thinks the Vikings are significantly better than their record indicates.

Bleacher Report: #26 (Last week: #20)

So, this is what rock bottom looks like.

In Week 5, the Vikings gave the undefeated Seattle Seahawks all they could handle before falling by one point on the road. In Week 6, they played host to the winless Atlanta Falcons and completely fell apart.

The Falcons raced out to a 20-0 halftime lead and led 33-7 in the second half. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 343 yards, but the performance was defined more by his three interceptions than his garbage-time touchdown passes. With Dalvin Cook sidelined by a groin injury, the Vikings managed only 32 rushing yards and 2.5 yards per carry.

At 1-5, a Vikings team that entered the 2020 season with Super Bowl aspirations is now all alone in last place in the NFC North. There will undoubtedly be calls for the firing of head coach Mike Zimmer as the Vikings head into their bye week.

And with a trip to Lambeau Field to play an angry Packers team that has already beaten the Vikings once this year coming up in Week 8, there’s little reason to think things are going to improve any time soon.

“Are you kidding me with that three-score home loss to the 0-5 Falcons after the firing of Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn?” Gagnon said. “Kirk Cousins is too erratic, and that pass defense is too vulnerable for Minnesota to compete.”

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: #26 (Last week: #24)

The defense isn’t good, which puts more pressure on the offense and Kirk Cousins isn’t playing well enough for that. It’s going to be a long season.

ESPN: #25 (Last week: #21)

Most impactful injury: DE Danielle Hunter

No question it’s Hunter, who suffered a herniated disc in practice on Aug. 14 and hasn’t done any football-related activity since. Even though the Vikings were optimistic Hunter’s IR stay would be brief, they knew his injury could keep him out six to eight weeks. It led them to trade for Yannick Ngakoue under the guise that they’d have the league’s top pass-rushing duo when it was clearly a move pulled off to aid the defensive line while Hunter sat out. The Vikings’ defense is dealing with injuries everywhere, but Hunter’s is the most significant for a defense that has been historically bad throughout much of 2020.

MMQB, Sports Illustrated: #26 (Last week: #16)

The Vikings have mercifully arrived at their bye week at an ugly 1–5, a mark that includes three games they weren’t really in and two soul-crushing one-point losses. Which type of loss would you rather your team suffer? Well, the answer certainly isn’t, “Both!” They need to figure things out right now and save their season in a stretch against all three NFC North rivals right in a row. But it’s hard to have any confidence that one of the league’s most disappointing teams in 2020 can actually pull that off.

Dan Hanzus, #27 (Last week: #18)

We wondered if the Vikings would get off the mat after that stomach-punch loss to the Seahawks on Sunday night of Week 5. Nope. They barely showed up in Week 6 and limped out of their own building after a 40-23 whipping by the previously winless Falcons. Following the loss, a game in which Kirk Cousins threw three interceptions for the second time in six weeks, the quarterback acknowledged he’s playing at a level that could get him benched. It makes you wonder if general manager Rick Spielman is experiencing buyer’s remorse on that two-year extension handed to Cousins back in March. On a bye now, a trip to Lambeau Field in Week 8 looms as a potential knockout punch.

Matt Williamson, Pro Football Network: #27 (Last week: #16)

The Vikings got crushed by Atlanta in a game that was never close. This is just one reason why they are toward the bottom of my NFL Power Rankings headed into Week 7. Kirk Cousins put up big numbers but also threw three interceptions. Having Cousins throw 36 times isn’t a winning recipe, but it was the Vikings’ total ineptitude on the ground (minus Dalvin Cook) that was most startling as they possessed the football for under 20 minutes. At least Justin Jefferson continues to show superstar traits.

Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: #28 (Last week: #25)

Kirk Cousins thinks he’ll be benched if he keeps throwing interceptions. He’d have to throw a lot of interceptions to be benched for Sean Mannion.

Reddit: #27 (Last week: #22)

Justin Jefferson’s stat line from Sunday: 9 catches, 166 yards, 2 TDs, 1 reason to live.

Danny Kelly, The Ringer: #24 (Last week: #21)

Nothing specifically about the Vikings this week.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: #24 (Last week: #22)

What was that? When Kirk Cousins turns over the ball multiple times and the Vikings dig themselves a big hole, they’re not built to get out of it, because they get away from their running game strengths to protect the defense. With the Packers and Bears rolling, the Vikings can stick a fork in their playoff hopes.

Nate Davis, USA Today: #26 (Last week: #22)

I keep coming back to training camp, when S Harrison Smith said, “I guess I’ve kind of been out of the loop – I didn’t know we were supposed to be bad.” You should probably stay looped in going forward, Harrison.

Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: #26 (Last week: #20)

Well, the Vikings are bad. But we might be watching something special with Justin Jefferson. Heading into Monday’s games, he was third in the NFL in receiving yards despite barely playing the first two weeks. Again, why was he playing behind Olabisi Johnson the first two weeks?

Yeah. . .that’s pretty damn bad. In fact, this might be the worst the Vikings have been since I started doing the Power Rankings Roundup several years ago. The sad part? They might not be done bottoming out at this point, either.

The Vikings’ overall ranking this week sits at 25.5, firmly in the dregs of the NFL. That’s a five-spot drop from last week, when the average in these rankings sat at 20.64 following the loss to Seattle.

Here’s the graphic for this week, as all of the lines are much, much closer to the bottom of the graph than they are to the top, as they should be. You may click on the graphic for purposes of embiggening to better see for yourself.

God bless The Athletic for having the Vikings significantly higher than they probably should be for whatever reason they have them there. Otherwise that big black line in the middle that represents the average would be much lower.

But, that’s your Power Rankings Roundup for this week, folks. Will it actually get worse next week when the Vikings don’t even play? Your guess is as good as mine.