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Minnesota Vikings Power Rankings Roundup: Week 1

The consensus seems to be that there is no consensus

Minnesota Vikings Training Camp Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

In just a few days, we’re going to be watching the Minnesota Vikings kick off their 2020 NFL season when they host the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. We don’t know where the Vikings will finish this season, obviously, but we can certainly take a look at where various media outlets have them rated before everything gets underway.

As we’ve done over the past couple of seasons, we will be tracking the Vikings’ fluctuations in the various power rankings around the internet that the experts put out each week. While we’re not likely to always agree with what the experts say, it does give us a bit of a gauge on how people outside of our purple bubble view our team.

So, this is the first Minnesota Vikings Power Rankings Roundup for the 2020 season. Once we get enough data, the graph will be back up here, but one week isn’t going to be enough to give us that, so we’re just doing the “wall of text” for this week. With that, away we go!

Dan Hanzus, NFL.com - #10

Kudos to general manager Rick Spielman, who waited out the market and then pounced on Yannick Ngakoue, landing a young, proven pass rusher via a trade in which the Vikings didn’t have to a) surrender a premium draft pick (a second- and conditional fifth-rounder went to Jacksonville) or b) pay Ngakoue at the salary he was slated to make under the franchise tag. Granted, that last part has almost nothing to do with Minnesota (Ngakoue was desperate to escape the Jags), but good on the Vikes for seizing on a huge opportunity to get better. Ngakoue — who has had at least eight sacks in each of his first four seasons — effectively replaces Everson Griffen and eliminates the most glaring flaw on the defense. Smart football teams do smart things.

Associated Press - #8

No text from the AP for these rankings. They generally don’t provide it but we include them in our roundup anyway.

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports - #19 (?!)

They will have a new-look defense, which might be a good thing. The challenge will be fitting it all together. Kirk Cousins and the offense should be fine.

As a point of reference, Prisco has Green Bay at #2. Seriously, y’all, find you somebody that loves you the way that Pete Prisco loves the Green Bay Packers.

ESPN - #13

While Minnesota lost a host of staples on defense this offseason, Mike Zimmer’s unit is still backed by the likes of Harrison Smith, Anthony Harris, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter. These elite players will be tasked with bringing along a young group of cornerbacks and a handful of new faces on the defensive line while raising the level of play around them.

MMQB, Sports Illustrated - #13

The Vikings were another polarizing team in our rankings, coming in anywhere between sixth and 19th. We’ll learn plenty from a Week 1 game against the Packers.

Nate Davis, USA Today - #14

DE Yannick Ngakoue could be just the guy Minnesota needs given its pass rush may have to compensate for defense’s young corners.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News - #9

The NFC champion long list also includes them. They lost some familiar defensive pieces for Mike Zimmer up front and in the secondary, but Yannick Ngakoue was a great late pickup and complementary youth will serve them well. Offensively, they will get more highly efficient play from Kirk Cousins with Dalvin Cook and the running game setting the tone, not missing much of a beat without Stefon Diggs.

Bleacher Report - #7

The Minnesota Vikings made a huge splash last week, swinging a trade with the Jaguars to pair edge-rusher Yannick Ngakoue with Danielle Hunter. According to Gagnon, that might have altered the balance of power in the NFC North.

“Ngakoue could be a difference-maker in Minnesota,” he said “Not only has he recorded at least eight sacks in each of his first four seasons and 14 forced fumbles in 63 career games, but he’s the perfect complement to Hunter. Having two elite edge-rushers could put the Vikes over the top.”

The Vikings also have a proven veteran quarterback in Kirk Cousins and skill-position weapons such as tailback Dalvin Cook, veteran wideout Adam Thielen and rookie first-round pick Justin Jefferson.

Minnesota has the ingredients for a deep playoff run. But a secondary that lost its top three cornerbacks in the offseason could derail that postseason trip.

The Athletic - #10

They retooled their roster in the offseason with an eye on the next three years. The loss of Stefon Diggs is going to hurt, and the offense very well could take a step back. But the best thing going for the Vikings is that they have two of the league’s smartest play-callers in Mike Zimmer and Gary Kubiak. The Yannick Ngakoue trade should give the Vikings a big boost up front, and Zimmer has earned the benefit of the doubt with his track record of developing young cornerbacks. This team probably doesn’t have a Super Bowl ceiling, but the Vikings should be a competitive playoff team.

Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports - #18

The trade for Yannick Ngakoue was a much-needed addition for the Vikings in an offseason that saw mostly departures. Danielle Hunter and Ngakoue give the Vikings a strong 1-2 pass rush duo.

Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk - #12

Yannick Ngakoue gives the pass rush a boost. The question ultimately becomes whether the Vikings will be able to throw when they can’t run.

Matt Williamson, Pro Football Network - #14

Sack differential, a very telling stat to how good a team truly is, was one of the Vikings strengths last year. Only the Rams, Saints, and Steelers were better.

Danny Kelly, The Ringer - #16

For most teams, the loss of a key cog like offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski could act as a major setback, requiring a ramp-up period in which the team’s new coach has to install his scheme, language, and style and get onto the same page as his quarterback. Minnesota mostly skips through all of that by turning to Gary Kubiak, though, who had his hands on the team’s offensive design as an “offensive advisor” and assistant head coach in 2019. That’s good news for Kirk Cousins and the team’s overall passing game. The bad news, though, is that Stefon Diggs is gone, leaving Adam Thielen and a bunch of question marks as the team’s de facto no. 2. Rookie Justin Jefferson has a shot to emerge in that role, as does sophomore tight end Irv Smith Jr. In any case, the Vikings could struggle early in the season as they try to cope from the loss of such a talented pass-catcher in Diggs.

Reddit - #10

The Vikings had a whirlwind of an offseason, headlined by trading away Stefon Diggs, trading for Yannick Ngakoue, promoting Gary Kubiak to offensive coordinator and selecting a record 15 players in the 2020 NFL draft. With seven 2020 pro bowlers on the roster, the Vikings have the top-end talent to make some noise in the playoffs, but to get there in the first place they’ll need to overcome some massive holes in the trenches and all the question marks surrounding the callow cornerbacks and receivers.

Well, this gives the Vikings an average ranking of 12.36, which in the newly-expanded NFL playoff format means that they’re projected as a playoff team before things get underway.

But, more so than we’ve seen in past years, there is a lot of variation in where this team is ranked. Of the 14 outlets we’ve included in our Roundup here. . .and yes, we’ve expanded from the 10 we had last year. . .we have a high ranking of #7 and a low ranking of #19. That’s a pretty significant gap in the way that a lot of experts view our favorite football team.

Which of these experts will be right and which ones will end up looking foolish? We’ve got 17 weeks (and then some) to get our answer on that, but this is the impression of the Vikings as things stand right now.