Vikings Get Embarrassing Treatment in Sporting News 2023 Power Rankings

Brain Trust Needs
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Hopefully Minnesota Vikings fans weren’t sick of the “fraudulent” talk that plagued the team in the final months of the 2022 season — because it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

The Kansas City Chiefs ended the 2022 season with the glory, downing the Philadelphia Eagles in a thriller down in Phoenix and winning the franchise’s fourth Super Bowl by a score of 38-35.

Vikings Get Embarrassing Treatment in Sporting News 2023 Power Rankings

And because NFL media never sleeps, post-2022 but pre-2023 power rankings were dropped by various outlets the day after. Some iterations pegged the 2023 Vikings as a Top 12 team, while others weren’t convinced.

Vikings Get Embarrassing
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Sporting News isn’t high on the Vikings 2023 trajectory, evidenced by its No. 20 ranking for Minnesota. That’s right, SN ranked teams like the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, etc., decisively higher than the Vikings and labeled Minnesota as the league’s 13th-worst team heading into next season.

Yes, this applies to the same Vikings team that finished the 2022 season with a 13-4 record. SN’s Vinnie Iyer elaborated, “Everyone knows the Vikings defied the statistics and the odds to be a big-time winning team last season, leading them to be exposed right away in the playoffs. Their defense rebuild is still in progress and might be getting time to veer away from Kirk Cousins’ floor and go for higher upside to boost Justin Jefferson and the rest of their offense.”

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Most of the Vikings shine was smeared by an early playoff exit, courtesy of the New York Giants. Minnesota won the NFC North for the first time since 2017, tabulated an 11-0 regular season record in one-score games, and then flopped at home to the Giants — who were not a very formidable team. Philadelphia thoroughly trounced New York one week after its triumph at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Vikings fans should get used to this “they’re not very good” stance surrounding the club. Minnesota was the first team in NFL history to win 13 games in a season while showcasing an upside-down point differential. Even with 13 wins to just four losses, opponents cumulatively outscored the Vikings by three points.

In the next seven months, that statistic will translate to NFL talking heads picking Minnesota as a trendy “regression” candidate. The theory will suggest that Kevin O’Connell’s team massively overachieved in his first year as head coach and that the bottom could fall out in 2023. That narrative will be prevalent, so now’s a decent time to prepare for it.

The Vikings will also play a first-place schedule next autumn. In 2022, they encountered a somewhat easy schedule, including nine home games, seven true road games, and a neutral-site showdown across the pond in London. Next year’s script is flipped, and Minnesota will play eight home games and nine on the road, plus a first-place slate of opponents.

Minnesota has +5000 odds to win Super Bowl LVIII, the same probability afforded to the New Orleans Saints and Tom Brady-less Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by