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Minnesota Vikings Power Rankings Roundup: Week 16

Another loss, another drop

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NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Since we’re now about 24 hours away from the Minnesota Vikings kicking off Week 16 in the NFL when they take on the New Orleans Saints, we need to squeeze in our weekly Power Rankings Roundup. With their second consecutive loss and their playoff prospects now pretty much gone, let’s take a look at where the experts have the Vikings slotted, shall we?

Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: #16 (Last week: #15)

The Vikings’ playoff hopes aren’t dead, but they’d need a miracle to get in after two straight losses. Minnesota will still want to finish strong because digging out of a 1-5 hole had it on the right trajectory, and it doesn’t want to waste that momentum going into the offseason.

Nate Davis, USA Today: #19 (Last week: #19)

They’ve scored at least 23 points in six of their eight defeats – just not a stat you’d expect from a team coached by Mike Zimmer.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: #17 (Last week: #16)

The Vikings had been asking for a bad close home loss after how they escaped the Panthers and Jaguars. The sad defensive and passing performance added to the disappointment of the Week 14 stumble in Tampa Bay. Looks like they will be joining the 49ers and Eagles in missing out on a playoff return.

Danny Kelly, The Ringer: #18 (Last week: #17)

No Vikings-specific commentary from The Ringer this week.

Reddit: #18 (Last week: #17)

The Vikings were effectively knocked out of playoff contention after their injury-riddled defense comprised almost entirely of backups only forced one punt from the Mitch-Trubisky led offense. The silver lining for this Vikings’ squad is how good their rookie class looks: Justin Jefferson made the pro bowl after breaking Randy Moss’ record for most catches by a Vikings’ rookie receiver and is currently second only to Davante Adams in WR grade, Cameron Dantlzer is PFF’s highest-graded cornerback over the nine weeks since the Vikings’ bye week, Jeff Gladney and Ezra Cleveland are two of the higher-rated rookies at their respective positions, and DJ Wonnum is third among rookie DEs in pressures.

Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: #16 (Last week: #15)

When will “just good enough” no longer be good enough for the Wilfs?

Matt Williamson, Pro Football Network: #19 (Last week: #15)

The Vikings fell to 6-8 against Chicago, their second consecutive loss. Dalvin Cook had another big game, and the Vikings got more than enough from their passing game to win. It was a very bad outing for Minnesota’s defense that allowed the Bears to run for 199 yards.

Dan Hanzus, #20 (Last week: #17)

The midseason resurgence is ancient history now. In truth, the Vikings were running out of juice earlier this month, even as they were still finding ways to win. But this team has been exposed as the middling outfit it is in back-to-back losses to the Bucs and Bears, setbacks that remove any realistic path to the postseason. Sunday’s defeat was a microcosm game: The run defense was gashed by David Montgomery, the pass rush failed to make Mitch Trubisky uncomfortable, and Kirk Cousins too often had defenders invading his space. Throw in some curious in-game decision-making by the coaching staff, and it was the perfect stew for more disappointment in Minneapolis.

MMQB, Sports Illustrated: #17 (Last week: #16)

The Vikings have been playing with fire all year, playing from behind. They got burned this time around.

ESPN: #18 (Last week: #16)

Most underrated star: RT Brian O’Neill

The interior of the Vikings’ offensive line is where most of the team’s pass-protection issues lie, not with the tackles. O’Neill has put together a strong season at right tackle and gives the Vikings long-term security at the position, with an extension likely coming up in the offseason. He has improved every year since he was drafted in 2018, ranking 26th of 83 tackles, according to Pro Football Focus, and he has been a bright spot for a group that has gone through an array of ups and downs this season.

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: #19 (Last week: #19)

So much for the playoffs. All the changes and the moves to more of a younger team have caught up with them.

Bleacher Report: #21 (Last week: #20)

The Minnesota Vikings are done. Or to be completely accurate, they’re 97 percent done.

According to FiveThirtyEight, the Vikings have a 2 percent chance of advancing to the postseason after their disappointing loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday. All they have to do is win out. Plus the Arizona Cardinals have to lose their last two. Plus the Chicago Bears have to lose at least once.

No problem, right?

In reality, the Vikings are done, and they have been for some time. The offense is talented but inconsistent. The defense is consistently bad.

Given how badly the season has come off the rails, there have been rumblings regarding the job security of head coach Mike Zimmer, who is the longest-tenured head coach in the division.

Given that Zimmer is now 2-8 all-time against Bears head coach Matt Nagy and Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, that speculation might not be going away any time soon.

The Athletic: #16 (Last week: #15)

Wish: A path out of mediocrity. After a Week 15 loss to the Bears, the Vikings will finish 6-10, 7-9 or 8-8 (assuming no ties). Barring a miracle, they’ll miss the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. Since signing Kirk Cousins in 2018, Minnesota has one playoff win. This season was always going to be a soft rebuild, so the final results aren’t all that surprising, especially considering Danielle Hunter missed the entire season and the Vikings had other key injuries on defense. But where do they go from here? Is it a matter of just getting guys back on defense and hoping young players improve? Using draft capital to address the offensive line? Changing their run-first approach? Maybe some or all of those things will be enough to make the Vikings legit contenders in the NFC. But it’s also fair to question their ceiling as constructed.

Associated Press: #18 (Last week: #17)

No commentary from the AP, as usual.

Well, there weren’t any strange upward bumps or anything like that for our favorite team this week. While two of the outlets that we poll each week did hold the Vikings exactly where they had them the previous week, everyone else bumped them down at least one spot. A couple did push them down more than that.

Once you do all the math, the Vikings’ average ranking this week is an even 18, a little more than a full spot lower than last week’s average of 16.71.

This is what it looks like in graphic form. As always, you may click on the picture to embiggen it should you desire to do so.

That’s your Power Rankings Roundup for this week, ladies and gentlemen. If you’re anticipating a move up in next week’s rankings. . .well, let’s just say I’m not sure I’d anticipate that happening.