The Minnesota Vikings lost after playing the Detroit Lions for just the 2nd time since November of 2017. The loss was another frustrating viewing experience for fans, regardless of the outcome, similar to many games this season.
While Justin Jefferson and Kirk Cousins had themselves a day, Minnesota’s hamstrung defense simply could not stop a very good Lions offense. The cake was already baked by the time Lions’ kicker Michael Badgley sent a 48-yarder through the uprights as time expired.
Here are where the Vikings stand in various power rankings from the wider NFL Media.
ESPN: #6 - down one from #5.
In its past five contests, the defense has allowed an average of 30.4 points per game and 460.6 yards, the worst in the league. Offensively, coach Kevin O’Connell has boosted wide receiver Justin Jefferson to the top of the league’s production charts. Overall, though, the Vikings have produced the NFL’s fourth-most negative plays (76). Special teams has been the Vikings’ most consistent unit and could produce multiple Pro Bowl invitations. — Kevin Seifert
NFL.com, Dan Hanzus: #7 - down one from #6.
A trip to Ford Field proved to be as difficult as advertised for Kevin O’Connell’s team, which struggled to slow a roaring Lions offense in a 34-23 loss. Kirk Cousins did his best to keep Minnesota alive, delivering on-target throws all afternoon in his best performance of the season. His top receiver? Justin Jefferson, of course, who piled up a franchise-record 223 yards on 11 catches. Still, questions will continue about this team as the defense continues to get torched regularly. Minnesota will enter Week 15 dead last in football in yards allowed. This is not the recipe for postseason glory.
Yahoo Sports, Frank Schwab: #7 - down one from #6.
The Vikings are an oddity, a 10-3 team with a negative point differential and pretty much every other negative advanced stat you can think of. I still don’t believe the Vikings are bad. They’re just not as good as your typical 10-3 team. What is concerning is the defense. Minnesota has given up at least 400 yards in five straight games. That will cost the Vikings in the playoffs if they don’t clean it up.
USA Today, Nate Davis: #7 - no change
For the first time in their 62-season history, they’ve allowed 400 yards in five consecutive games – among the unusual number of issues facing a team likely to be seeded second or third in the NFC playoff bracket.
Bleacher Report: #7 - down from #4
It seems odd to say that a 10-3 team has problems. But the Minnesota Vikings have very real problems. Sunday against the Lions, Minnesota’s beleaguered defense allowed a whopping 464 yards of offense. It marked the fifth consecutive game that the Vikings have allowed over 400 yards—the longest streak in franchise history. After the latest collapse, the Vikings have the worst defense in the entire NFL.
Sporting News, Vinnie Iyler: #8 - down from #4
The Vikings’ defensive woes have been lingering all season and they showed up in a big way in an atypical non-close game in Detroit. They still should win the NFC North soon, but there’s less confidence they will make much noise in the playoffs beyond the wild-card round.
CBS Sports, Pete Prisco: #7 - down from #5
The defense is a major problem for this group. It can’t stop the opposition, which puts so much pressure on its offense. At 10-3, are the Vikings good or not?
The Ringer, Austin Gale: #9 - down from #7
It’s too bad Justin Jefferson can’t play defense. The Vikings’ star wideout caught 11 passes for 223 yards in the team’s 34-23 loss to the Lions on Sunday. Minnesota is now tied for 27th in offensive points allowed per game and ranks 31st in yards allowed per play. That type of defensive performance is the main reason to doubt the Vikings as a serious contender.
Sports Illustrated, Connor Orr: #9 - down from #6
We are now at five straight games in which the Vikings have surrendered more than 400 total yards. Hopefully, their fan base now understands why so many of us professional power rankers were so hesitant to buy Vikings stock. I get it; the entire season has been frustrating, because you win 10 games and everyone keeps talking about how hollow those victories are and ignoring the good. Every loss is apparently the indictment of how flawed the team really is. And yet, deep down, it makes some sense, especially after losing to the favored 5–8 Lions.
Pro Football Network, Dalton Miller: #8 - down from #7
The Vikings are really something. To keep their undefeated record in one-score games, they made sure to allow a late field goal to Detroit so they wouldn’t lose that run. Despite their 10-3 record, the Vikings have a -1 point differential this season, and they ranked 20th in team DVOA before the loss to Detroit.
Even a franchise-record effort from Justin Jefferson wasn’t enough to give Minnesota the edge against their divisional foe. But with games against the Colts, Giants, Packers, and Bears to end the season, Minnesota should still roll into the playoffs.
On average, the Vikings dropped 1.8 spots across this sample of NFL Power Rankings. The defensive performance in Detroit was heavily cited as a major concern for Minnesota. Many across the NFL have been licking their lips at a chance to criticize a polarizing 10-3 record, and the vikes gave them that chance on Sunday.
Where do you think they will end up after next Saturday’s game against the Colts?