It’s a little later than it should be. . .I’d generally like to do this piece on Wednesdays. . .but I’ll be honest. I wanted to give myself a break before I listened to the experts (presumably) rip the Minnesota Vikings for their loss to Green Bay in Week 1. So, that’s what I did. It’s time to do our weekly Power Rankings Roundup, however, so let’s see what everyone has to say about the purple before their Week 2 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts.
Associated Press: #16 (Last week: #8)
As usual, no commentary from the AP, but man. . .that’s a big drop.
Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic: #15 (Last week: #10)
What we learned: The first part of the season could be rough for this defense. Danielle Hunter is on injured reserve, and the Vikings are breaking in three new cornerbacks. But I always thought Mike Zimmer’s expertise gave the Vikings a high floor on defense. That might not be the case early on though. Sunday’s loss to the Packers marked the most points the Vikings have allowed (43) since Zimmer took over as head coach in 2014. The 522 yards were the second highest total his defenses have allowed in the regular season. The Vikings failed to produce a sack or a takeaway against Green Bay. Zimmer is smart enough to get their issues fixed, but that was a rough start.
Bleacher Report: #11 (Last week: #7)
The Minnesota Vikings have an offense with a proven quarterback and a strong skill-position cast and a defense with talent at all three levels. They entered the 2020 season with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations.
But if their shootout loss at home to the rival Green Bay Packers in Week 1 is any indication, the Vikings also have a major problem that could derail their season.
The cornerbacks are not good.
Aaron Rodgers scorched the Vikings, finishing with 364 passing yards and four touchdowns. Star wideout Davante Adams having a big game is one thing, but when Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are getting open at will, that’s a bad sign for a defense.
The Vikings need to shore that defense up in a hurry, as three of their next four opponents (and four of the next six) made the playoffs last season.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: #23 (Last week: #19)
Defense is the calling card for Mike Zimmer’s teams, but it wasn’t against Green Bay in the opener. If that doesn’t improve, this season will be lost in a hurry.
ESPN: #14 (Last week: #10)
Best rookie debut: WR Justin Jefferson
The Vikings didn’t get a ton of contributions from their rookie class in Week 1. Third-round cornerback Cameron Dantzler played the most of any rookie, but his outing was marred by giving up a 45-yard touchdown pass. Jefferson is the easiest answer, as he had two catches for 36 yards and was on the field for 36 of 52 plays. Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak hinted last week at easing Jefferson into a significant role with time. What the rookie wideout did in his debut, including a 17-yard grab in the fourth quarter, is indicative of more to come.
MMQB, Sports Illustrated: #15 (Last week: #13)
That loss was much worse than the final score shows. Aaron Rodgers has torched plenty of teams over the years, but I had higher hopes for the Vikings’ defense. But Minnesota did make history Sunday, as Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen became the first teammates to both have an octopus in the same game. (Listen, if you put me in charge of the power rankings, this is the analysis you’re going to get.)
(Apparently an “octopus” is when a player scores a touchdown and then follows it up with the two-point conversion. Okay, then.)
Dan Hanzus, NFL.com: #16 (Last week: #10)
Forget the garbage-time production, which was prodigious and undoubtedly appreciated by fantasy owners. In the real world, this was an embarrassing effort against a division rival that outclassed the Vikings in all phases. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers did whatever he wanted against the young secondary, and Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota offense struggled to get anything going until it was too late. The pass rush was nearly nonexistent with Danielle Hunter sidelined by injury, and huffing and puffing was rampant by the end of a first half where the D was on the field for 22:45 of game time. It’s going to be a long week at Vikings headquarters.
Matt Williamson, Pro Football Network: #20 (Last week: #14)
What is new for Minnesota is playing at home and not getting a huge advantage and boost from extreme crowd noise in their favor. The way the Vikings performed, it didn’t matter where this game was played, but Minnesota could be one of the teams most affected by a lack of people in the seats.
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: #22 (Last week: #13)
With so many big-money extensions being paid out to members of an organization that won a playoff game in 2019 and the pandemic keeping the home stadium empty until further notice, it already feels like a scholarship year in Minnesota.
Whatever that means.
Reddit: #14 (Last week: #10)
Kirk learned how to scramble, Thielen reeled in two deep TDs and Mattison killed a guy, but none of that mattered after the Vikings gave up 43 points at home. All three starting corners gave up at least 80 yards and one touchdown in coverage. In the preseason Mike Zimmer claimed he had never had a bad defense, but it looks like he’s got his work more than cut out for him with a defense that so far can’t cover, tackle or pressure the QB.
Danny Kelly, The Ringer: #17 (Last week: #16)
No Vikings-specific stuff from Danny this week, but the whole thing is worth a read.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: #14 (Last week: #9)
The Vikings’ defense looked lost and confused with some big changes up front and in the secondary. That broke up their run-heavy offensive game plan, but at least Kirk Cousins was up to the rallying task. Mike Zimmer needs to get their formula back on track, stat.
Nate Davis, USA Today: #13 (Last week: #14. . .yes, a move up)
If you can’t apply pressure, young corners will get burned ... to tune of most points (43) Minnesota has allowed under Mike Zimmer.
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: #16 (Last week: #18. . .yes, a second move up)
This was not the year, without a preseason, to turn over a cornerback group. The Vikings’ new cornerbacks were torched by Aaron Rodgers. Minnesota will get better on defense because Mike Zimmer is a good coach, but it also might take a little longer than usual.
I’m not sure why those last two rankers felt compelled to actually move the Vikings up in their rankings from last week, but I’m happy they did because it kept things from getting even uglier.
It’s still pretty rough, though. Overall, the Vikings are about four spots behind where they were in the season-opening rankings. Their average before the opener was 12.21, while their average ranking this week sits at 16.14.
I’m hoping we get an opportunity to find out what it will look like after a Vikings’ victory, and they definitely have a chance to do that this weekend against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. I’m not going to get too overconfident or anything, but this is definitely a winnable football game.
Hopefully next week we’ll see an upward swing, folks.