The Vikings Power Ranking from ESPN Is Better Than the Rest

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

You’ve reached the point in the Minnesota Vikings offseason when a 14th-best ranking in the business is considered good news.

Indeed, the world — mostly sportsbooks and pundits — isn’t too high on the 2023 Vikings, but such was the case last year, too, and the franchise won the NFC North and 13 games.

The Vikings Power Ranking from ESPN Is Better Than the Rest

ESPN revealed post-draft and pre-minicamp power rankings last week, placing the Vikings at No. 14 ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 15) but below the rival Detroit Lions (No. 13).

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Kevin Seifert of ESPN explained the Vikings placement, “The Vikings upgraded by hiring Brian Flores to replace Ed Donatell as their defensive coordinator. After playing a passive and soft scheme in 2022, resulting in the second-most yardage allowed per game (388.7), they’ll shift to a more aggressive, playmaking stance under Flores.”

Oddsmakers, for now, perceive Minnesota as an eight- or nine-win team with the regular season less than four months away. The same forecast existed last year and nudged to nine or 10 wins right before September arrived.

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“Their success will hinge on whether a number of second-year players — including linebacker Brian Asamoah, along with cornerbacks Andrew Booth and Akayleb Evans — can adjust to prominent roles. But the scheme and playcalling will be more reliable,” Seifert concluded.

Last year, Minnesota became the first team in NFL history to win 13 games while getting cumulatively outscored by opponents. A ‘fraud’ narrative permeated the Vikings reputation, and when the postseason began, the discourse was affirmed. Minnesota lost at home to the meh New York Giants, the season was over, and folks started pegging the 2023 Vikings as a regression candidate.

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Then in the offseason, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah added meaningful newcomers like free agents Marcus Davenport (OLB) and Byron Murphy (CB), plus Jordan Addison (WR) in the draft while allowing big names like Adam Thielen (WR), Eric Kendricks (LB), Dalvin Tomlinson (DT), Patrick Peterson (CB), Duke Shelley (CB), and Za’Darius Smith (OLB) to depart.

We shall see if the strategy works.

Among the league’s Top 5 teams, per ESPN, are the Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, and San Francisco 49ers. The worst are the Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts, and Tennessee Titans.

Minnesota is predicted to finish in second place inside the NFC North behind the Lions, a darling team according to NFL experts. One outfit, Sporting News, recently ranked the Vikings at No. 21 in its power rankings.

The Vikings host those allegedly-bottom-feeding Buccaneers to start the season at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 10th.


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.

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