Last Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings got what could charitably be called an ugly victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 27-24 in overtime. It was the Vikings’ fifth victory in their last six games and got them back to the .500 mark after their disastrous 1-5 start. Was it an impressive enough win to allow them to make a move in the eyes of the experts?
This is the portion of the week where we find out, as it’s time for our weekly Power Rankings Roundup!
Associated Press: #16 (Last week: #16)
No commentary, as usual, from the AP
Reddit: #17 (Last week: #17)
Justin Jefferson became the fifth WR in NFL history to hit 1,000 yards in his first 12 games, joining Randy Moss, Marques Colston, Anquan Boldin and Odell Beckham Jr., and he did it in style. Meanwhile, rookie CB Cameron Dantlzer was lock down, recording one INT, one forced fumble & fumble recovery, and allowed three yards on seven targets. After starting the year 1-5, the Vikings have clawed their way back to .500 off back-to-back game-winning drives from Kirk Cousins.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: #18 (Last week: #18)
It wasn’t pretty against the Jaguars, but a win is a win. They are still alive in the playoff chase.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: #15 (Last week: #17)
The Vikings don’t get any style points for another crazy home escape as heavy favorites. Their offense needs to clean up mistakes because the defensive issues leave them little margin for error.
Danny Kelly, The Ringer: #15 (Last week: #17)
No commentary from The Ringer this week
Bleacher Report: #19 (Last week: #16)
When the Minnesota Vikings lost five of their first six games, any hopes they had of making the playoffs appeared to vanish.
However, the Vikings are 5-1 since then, and Sunday’s overtime win over the Jacksonville Jaguars (coupled with Arizona’s loss) moved them into the seventh and final playoff spot in the NFC.
Although the Vikings won Sunday, it was the second week in a row that they had to come back against a lesser opponent. After the game, head coach Mike Zimmer wasn’t pleased about that fact.
“The whole football team needs to get better,” he told reporters. “... I know (players) understand, and I continue to preach it, that we have to stop doing these things (or) it’s going to cost us games down the road.”
“I just can’t buy the Vikings as any kind of real contender in the NFC,” Davenport said. “Not after sloppy wins over Carolina and Jacksonville. Not with the 27th-ranked scoring defense entering Week 13. And not with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints still on the schedule.”
“Don’t be fooled by the Vikings,” Gagnon agreed. “Yes, they’re technically tied for the last playoff spot right now, but Minnesota just outscored the Cowboys, Panthers and Jaguars—who have a combined eight wins this season—by a grand total of one point during a three-game homestand. Look for the Buccaneers and Saints to put them back in their place down the stretch.”
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: #14 (Last week: #15)
The hornheads recently have a horseshoe up their butts.
Dan Hanzus, NFL.com: #16 (Last week: #16)
It wasn’t pretty, but Sunday’s 27-24 overtime win over the Jaguars slid the Vikings into the seventh and final NFC playoff spot with four weeks to play. Not bad for a team that was left for dead at 1-5 in October. The Vikes did a nice job fattening up on the soft portion of their schedule, but their level of play will have to improve significantly ahead of Sunday’s matchup against a rested Buccaneers team. They’ll also need more of the same from Justin Jefferson, who on Sunday became the fifth rookie to reach 1,000 yards receiving in his first 12 games. Jefferson’s meteoric rise to star status gives the Vikings a playmaker core that rivals that of any team in football.
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: #15 (Last week: #16)
Anquan Boldin had 1,377 yards as a rookie, an NFL record. Justin Jefferson is on pace for 1,335 yards, via the Star-Tribune. Considering that pace counts the first two games in which Jefferson barely played — seriously, it’s still impossible to believe the Vikings staff preferred Olabisi Johnson those first two games — he has a shot at setting a record over the last four games.
Nate Davis, USA Today: #20 (Last week: #19)
Yes, they’ve moved into the NFC’s final wild-card position, but Vikes hardly look formidable – Exhibit A being Sunday’s overtime escape against the lowly Jags.
MMQB, Sports Illustrated: #19 (Last week: #15)
Winners of five of their last six games, this matchup against Tampa Bay feels monumental. Can Kirk Cousins continue to let it rip against one of the most talented defenses in football?
Matt Williamson, Pro Football Network: #14 (Last week: #16)
Jacksonville gave the Vikings a very tough time, and if it wasn’t for the Vikings creating four turnovers, Minnesota very well could have lost this game that ended up going deep into overtime. Kirk Cousins threw a bad interception, but overall, he has played very well of late.
Minnesota might have the NFL’s most underrated offense, which is something we’ll be keeping an eye on as we continue to update our NFL Power Rankings. The Vikings now sit at .500 and have won five of their last six games – even though this one doesn’t look so great on the surface.
ESPN: #17 (Last week: #18)
Person with most at stake: QB Kirk Cousins
This might seem like a weird answer given that Cousins’ contract absolutely makes him the starter in 2021. Cousins had the best passer rating (123.4) in November and orchestrated game-winning drives in Weeks 12 and 13 to keep the Vikings in the playoff hunt. Coming off their bye at 1-5 after Cousins threw 10 interceptions, the Vikings decided to run the offense through Dalvin Cook. That strategy got them to .500, but Cook is more banged up now than he was a month ago. Over the next four weeks, Cousins has an opportunity to prove he can win important games against top NFC talent (Buccaneers, Saints) without having to rely heavily on his running back.
The Athletic: #15 (Last week: #14)
Best-case scenario: Their young players continue to shine and they make the playoffs. The Vikings would get in if the season ended today. But Sunday’s win over the Jaguars was ugly. Minnesota has won its last two home games against Carolina and Jacksonville by a total of four points. Getting to the playoffs would be nice, but this year was always about a soft rebuild, and the results there have been encouraging. Justin Jefferson has 1,039 yards and is averaging 17 yards per reception. If he maintains his current pace (86.6 yards per game), he will set the NFL record (Super Bowl era) for receiving yards by a rookie, overtaking Anquan Boldin and Randy Moss. Meanwhile, rookie third-round pick Cameron Dantzler was terrific in Sunday’s game. Getting to the postseason is always preferred, but this Vikings team isn’t good enough to make a real playoff run. What they need is to find out which young guys can be a part of their core in 2021.
Well, it really was a mixed bag for the Vikings this week. Of the 14 outlets that we poll as a part of our Roundup, four of them held the Vikings exactly where they were the previous week. Six of them moved the Vikings up after their victory over Jacksonville, and four of them actually moved the Vikings down from where they were in last week’s Roundup.
When you do all the math and the averages and all of that, the Vikings’ average ranking for this week is. . .exactly where it was last week, at 16.43. Seems a bit weird, but the numbers don’t lie. I don’t think they do, anyway.
Here’s what that looks like in our graphical format. As always, you may click to embiggen for ease of viewing.
That’s your Power Rankings Roundup for this week, folks. I have a feeling that if the Vikings should pull out a victory on Sunday, we’d see a pretty significant jump going into Week 15. Here’s hoping that we find out.