It’s taken awhile for the national media to start buying into the Vikings, but with five straight wins and six in their last seven, those websites known for doing power rankings are buying in – even some of them begrudgingly.
Most have the Vikings in the top five teams in the NFL, which is saying something considering that, after Week 1, most of these same websites had the Vikings ranked somewhere between Nos. 28 and 32.
The respect has come. One can only imagine what will happen next week if the Vikings beat Green Bay at TCF Bank Stadium Sunday.
Here’s what they have to say:
NFL.com moved the Vikings to No. 5, saying, “The Vikings' triumph in the East Bay went largely unnoticed around the country, what with the Patriots facing their nemeses of recent vintage and Peyton Manning assailing two records (most passing yards ever and most bad interceptions in a half). Meanwhile, Adrian Peterson put up two bills on a feisty Raider team that has its own designs on the postseason. Say what you want about Teddy B, this win came courtesy of the D, specifically big plays from Terence Newman.”
ESPN moved the Vikings up to No. 5 saying, “The Vikings have won five straight games since their bye, the franchise’s first five-game winning streak since 2009. The Vikings went 12-4 and lost in the conference championship game that season.”
Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback has the Vikings at No.5, saying, “Incredible. In two months, the Vikings have passed the Packers, legitimately, in the NFC North. And Minnesota is playing Green Bay in Minneapolis on Sunday, with a two-game lead in the division at stake.”
CBS Sports moved the Vikings from No. 9 to No. 6, but still have them behind 4-5 Seattle, saying, “The Vikings are running the ball with authority, Teddy Bridgewater has developed into a strong complementary player and the defense is allowing a league-low 17.1 points per game. They can go a long way toward locking up the NFC North with a home vs. the Packers this week.”
Fox Sports has the Vikings up two spots at No. 4 – one ahead of 8-1 Cincinnati, noting, “The first-place Vikings have averaged more rushing yards per game (147.2) than any team this season and Adrian Peterson is coming off a 203-yard game in Week 10.”
The Washington Post moved the Vikings up to No. 4, saying, “Adrian Peterson’s 203-yard rushing performance in Oakland puts him on pace for a 1,708-yard rushing season. He is on a roll, with three straight games above 100 rushing yards. The Vikings absolutely are for real and a victory Sunday at home over the downward-spiraling Packers would establish them as clearly the NFC North’s top team.”
USA Today moved the Vikings up to No. 5, saying of Mike Zimmer's defense, “Just two years after allowing the most points in the league, Mike Zimmer has transformed the D into NFL’s stingiest.”
Not everyone was all hugs and kisses for the Vikings. A couple of power ranking sites moved the Vikings into their top six, but both had problems admitting it.
ProFootballTalk has the Vikings at No. 5 in its rankings, commenting, “With Green Bay and Denver losing, it was impossible to keep a team that feels like it has earned top-five status out of the top five.”
Yahoo! Sports has the Vikings at No. 6, noting, “Usually every season there’s a team that keeps outrunning the advanced stats that say they’re not really as good as their record. It seems like that’s the Vikings’ role this year.”
For a team that has been scratching and clawing it’s way to the top of the NFC North, whether they like it or not, those who rank teams from best to worst are coming to know what Vikings fans were onto back in training camp – this team is pretty good in all three phases of the game and deserves to be ranked among the elite teams of the NFL in mid-November.