ESPN’s Football Power Index Not Promising for Vikings

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, ESPN released its FPI (Football Power Index) rankings in May, with the Minnesota Vikings living in 13th place.

They’re at it again, and Minnesota is in a familiar spot, just two notches below at No. 15.

ESPN’s Football Power Index Not Promising for Vikings

That’s right. Per ESPN’s math, the Vikings are a middle-of-the-pack team after winning 13 games in 2022. Can’t please everyone.

Power Index Not
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

For starters, here’s the official definition of the Football Power Index: “A measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team’s performance going forward for the rest of the season. FPI represents how many points above or below average a team is. Projected results are based on 10,000 simulations of the rest of the season using FPI, results to date, and the remaining schedule. Ratings and projections update daily.”

And the Vikings current standing:

Image Courtesy of ESPN

Sandwiched between the New England Patriots (No. 16) and the team that jettisoned the Vikings from the postseason, the New York Giants (No. 14), Minnesota will look to prove the FPI wrong in September. Head coach Kevin O’Connell embarks on Year Two in 2023 after completing the most successful season in Vikings history by a first-year head coach.

ESPN’s Seth Walder commented on the state of the NFC North, “Over in the NFC North, the Lions are 43% favorites. Although the Minnesota Vikings won the division last season with 13 wins, and the Lions missed the playoffs with nine, there’s evidence that Detroit was — and is — the better team.”

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell, first-round picks receiver Jameson Williams and defensive end Aidan Hutchinson pose for a picture with GM Brad Holmes during the press conference Friday, April 29, 2022, at the Detroit Lions practice facility in Allen Park. MAIN Lionspicks. © Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Lions haven’t won the NFC North (or Central) in 30 years.

“It had a higher points differential (plus-26) than Minnesota (minus-3) a year ago, and the Lions ranked fourth in EPA per play on offense (Minnesota was 15th). The Vikings have a 29% shot at the division, with the Chicago Bears (16%) and Green Bay Packers (12%) lurking behind,” Walder continued.

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Walder also forecasted the Arizona Cardinals grabbing the 1st overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, which is important because it’s the key to the Caleb Williams sweepstakes, “The Cardinals’ own selection has an 18% chance to be the No. 1 pick. But right behind them are the Houston Texans at 13%. The Cardinals own Houston’s pick, thanks to the Texans’ draft-day move up to No. 3 to draft Anderson. In other words, before playing a down this year, the Cardinals have a 31% shot at the No. 1 selection in 2024.”

The Vikings hope to shatter the 15th-best-in-the-NFL FPI this season after several offseason additions, including new defensive coordinator Brian Flores, wide receiver Jordan Addison in the draft, plus veteran newcomers Byron Murphy (CB), Marcus Davenport (OLB), and Josh Oliver (TE). Minnesota has around $9.5 million in cap space as of May 21st, too, if it wants any other free agents as roster polish.

Longtime Vikings Adam Thielen and Eric Kendricks departed for the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Chargers, respectively, this offseason. Dalvin Tomlison joined the Cleveland Browns while Patrick Peterson (Steelers) and Duke Shelley (Raiders) also headed to the AFC.


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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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