Vikings Soar in One Batch of Power Rankings

Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) reacts after a game against the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The 2023 Minnesota Vikings have a long road ahead to make a 1-3 start a distant memory, taking on the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Vikings Soar in One Batch of Power Rankings

The quest continues there, hoping to score back-to-back wins for the first time since Christmas Eve. Minnesota got off the schneid last weekend by beating the now 0-4 Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, thanks to opportunistic defense and Justin Jefferson’s mere existence.

Vikings Soar
Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates in the end zone during the first half against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

And for their troubles, the Vikings flew up the pecking order inside one notable batch of power rankings, an edition published by The Athletic. Various pundits were unenthused, on the whole, by Minnesota’s Week 4 win because it occurred against the lowly and rebuilding Panthers.

But The Athletic’s Josh Kendall disagreed, rather vehemently, sending Minnesota from its No. 25 spot last week all the way to No. 17 entering Week 5. In fact, next to the Houston Texans, climbers of 14 spots (28 to 14), Minnesota experienced the most positive movement up the ladder.

Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) celebrates with linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) after a sack in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

Kendall explained the Vikings No. 17 placement, “The league’s third-most prolific passing offense (287.3 passing yards per game) finally got its first victory Sunday. Kirk Cousins leads the league in touchdown passes (11), but Sunday’s most chaotic play may have come when he threw a touchdown to the Panthers and then sprinted almost the length of the field only to get obliterated by a block.”

Minnesota notably outpaced the Green Bay Packers, a squad that fell eight places to No. 18.

Nov 3, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.’s Eric Edholm advanced the Vikings by a single plank to No. 25 and wrote, “This team is still learning how to turn in a complete performance, but a win is a win. Kirk Cousins had his worst outing of the season, throwing two picks, including a 99-yard pick-6. But the run game woke up, and the defense made enough plays. Harrison Smith had a great day, recording three sacks, including the game-clincher, and his forced fumble was run back by D.J. Wonnum for the go-ahead touchdown. Wonnum was everywhere, too, with a sack and a near pick-6. After falling behind 10-0 early, the Vikings notched a hard-fought road victory. Baby steps.”

The split between The Athletic and likely has something to do with this graphic:

When the Vikings don’t hand the ball to opponents via fumble or interception, they’re actually quite good. However, the team has turned the ball over at a league-leading pace — not in a good way — negating generalized enthusiasm about the club’s ceiling.

After the road triumph in Week 4, Minnesota is a five-point underdog at home versus the aforementioned Chiefs and will undoubtedly climb all power rankings at this time next week if it tallies a victory over the champs.

The Vikings haven’t started a season with three consecutive home losses while fans were in attendance since 1972. If Minnesota loses, it will be a first-time-in-51-years ordeal.

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).

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