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Minnesota Vikings Power Rankings Roundup: Week 4

Still not good

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the Minnesota Vikings nearly got themselves into the win column on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, and probably should have. Unfortunately, “close” doesn’t count, and the Vikings are now off to an 0-3 start for the first time since 2013.

How is that going to affect their standing in the Power Rankings for this week? Well, let’s take a spin around the internet and find out, as it’s time for this week’s Power Rankings Roundup!

Associated Press: #27 (Last week: #25)

No commentary from the AP this week.

Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic: #23 (Last week: #22)

What we learned: Their offense folded with the game on the line. The Athletic’s Chad Graff wrote about how Mike Zimmer seemed to blame the offense, while Kirk Cousins seemed to blame the defense after their loss to the Titans. Minnesota looked much better than it did the first two weeks. The defense was far from perfect, but with 6:31 left, the offense had the ball and a two-point lead. Penalty, sack and an 8-yard Cousins checkdown on third-and-15. They went 12 yards before punting. After the Titans went ahead with a field goal, Minnesota’s offense got another chance with 1:44 left, needing a field goal to win. On second-and-10, Cousins wasn’t ready for the Garrett Bradbury snap, resulting in a 14-yard loss. Two plays later, on fourth-and-24, Cousins was intercepted, and the game was over. Given how well the offense had played throughout the game, that was a disappointing finish.

Bleacher Report: #22 (Last week: #19)

It is officially time to panic in the Twin Cities.

For a time Sunday, it appeared the Vikings were going to stop the bleeding from their awful start. They led the undefeated Tennessee Titans by double digits in the second half.

But Minnesota couldn’t hold the lead, and when Kirk Cousins threw his second interception of the game to kill the last drive, the Vikings found themselves in an all-too-familiar spot this season—on the short end of the scoreboard.

Rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson had a big game, hauling in seven passes for 175 yards and a score. So did running back Dalvin Cook with 199 total yards and a touchdown. But that’s precious little solace for a Vikings team that is watching its hopes of making it back to the playoffs circle the drain at ever-increasing speed.

“The Vikings are terrible defensively, which is a weird thing to say about a team coached by Mike Zimmer,” Davenport said. “At the rate this season is disintegrating, the larger question may be whether we’ll see Zimmer on the sidelines in 2021—which is an even weirder thing to say.”

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: #29 (Last week: #25)

At 0-3, their season is basically over. They are terrible on defense, which is strange under Mike Zimmer.

ESPN: #21 (Last week: #19)

What we got wrong: The interior of Minnesota’s OL would improve in 2020.

Although the Vikings did move Pat Elflein to right guard and had a competition between two former backups for the starting job at left guard, many anticipated the continuity of this group (i.e., settling on a starting five early in camp) would yield a better result than we’ve seen so far. Kirk Cousins experienced the third-highest pressure rate of his career (47%) against Tennessee, and Dakota Dozier and Dru Samia are among the worst-ranked guards (per PFF) in the NFL. This unit hasn’t gotten better because its personnel has not gotten better.

MMQB, Sports Illustrated: #24 (Last week: #23)

Kirk Cousins threw six interceptions in all of 2019. Three games into the 2020 season, he’s already matched that total. And so in Houston this week, two teams that were in the playoffs last season will meet, each searching for their first win a month into the season.

Dan Hanzus, NFL.com: #20 (Last week: #20)

A crushing loss for the Vikings, who wasted a double-digit second-half lead at home to fall to 0-3. You can hang this latest setback on the defense, which allowed 444 yards, including 119 yards rushing to Derrick Henry and multiple deep-strike completions by Ryan Tannehill. Consider what the Vikings wasted: Dalvin Cook set a career high with 181 rushing yards and a score, while rookie first-round pick Justin Jefferson broke out with a monster 7/175/1 performance. To get those games and still find yourself winless entering Week 4 ... that’s a tough pill to swallow. The loss sets up a “Loser Goes Home” match against the 0-3 Texans on Sunday in Houston.

Matt Williamson, Pro Football Network: #22 (Last week: #27)

This was far and away from the best Minnesota has played yet this year, but they still couldn’t pull it out against the Titans and now sit at 0-3. There is good news though: The Vikes got back to their brand of football with Dalvin Cook running for 181 yards. Plus, their first round pick, Justin Jefferson caught seven passes for 175 yards. So that is promising at least.

Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: #30 (Last week: #28)

Trevor Lawrence would look great in purple.

Reddit: #21 (Last week: #22)

Justin Jefferson put up 175 yards and Harrison Smith put up another elite performance, but the Titans still eked out a one-point win thanks to rookie mistakes at corner and the Vikings’ interior offensive line getting posterized yet again.

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

No Vikings commentary from The Ringer this week

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: #28 (Last week: #24)

The Vikings’ defense simply cannot stop anything that matters, whether it’s run or pass. It’s hard to believe that’s a Mike Zimmer defense. The offense is expected to be flawless to compensate, and that’s been far from the case for Kirk Cousins.

Nate Davis, USA Today: #22 (Last week: #23)

Only Carolina has fewer sacks than Minnesota’s three. With DE Danielle Hunter sorely missed, might be time for Mike Zimmer to ratchet up the blitz.

Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: #25 (Last week: #23)

Dalvin Cook looked great, the coaches finally let Justin Jefferson play, the offense had its best game, and they still lost at home. They’re in a division with two 3-0 teams, and it’s really hard to see Minnesota digging out of this hole.

So, overall, the drop continues for the Vikings, but it wasn’t quite as steep this week as I thought it might have been. Of course, that could be entirely because we’re running out of real estate to the south as far as these rankings go. The Vikings’ overall average rating is down one spot from last week. Last week’s average was 23.14, and this week that falls to 24.14.

That means that, for the most part, the downward trend continues on the graph for our favorite team, though there are a couple of rises this week. Here is that graphic, which you can click to embiggen if you wish.

We’ll have to see if the curve can start moving in a different direction for the Vikings, though they have a tall order against the Texans, particularly with the way this week has gone. Whatever happens, we’ll be back here next week to talk about it.