18 October 2022
MINNEAPOLIS — From the outside looking in, things are pretty rosy for the Minnesota Vikings right now.
Heading into the bye week, the Vikings are 5-1, leading the NFC North by two games. They have three division wins, two road wins and their, the NFL’s only undefeated team. Since that loss, they’ve won four straight. They’ve got the 11th-ranked scoring defense and the 14th-best scoring offense.
But talk to some Vikings fans and you’ll get a different story — the defense is too soft, the offense is out of sorts and it’s all going to come crashing down one of these days. It is worth nothing that this is the Vikings’ best start since 2016, when they rocketed out to a 5-0 record before finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs.
The national media, for what it’s worth, leans more to the former opinion of the Vikings than the latter. Here’s a look at where the team falls on this week’s power rankings.
CBS Sports is very high on the Vikings, ranking them third, behind only the 6-0 Eagles and the Super Bowl favorite Buffalo Bills.
“They aren’t always pretty, but they find ways to win games,” Pete Prisco wrote.
ESPN has the Vikings ranked one spot lower, at No. 4. Kevin Seifert notes the health advantage the team has had — of their 22 starters, 21 have started every game so far.
The league’s media arm also puts the Vikings at No. 4, saying they aren’t “anybody’s idea of a juggernaut, but five wins in six games … tells the story of a team that knows how to close.”
Yahoo Sports is cooler on the Vikings than the three media above, but still has them as a top five team.
“They haven’t been close to dominant,” Frank Schwab writes. “But 28 teams would take a 5-1 record right now.”
Coming out of the bye, the Vikings have a home matchup against the Arizona Cardinals (2-4), then they hit the road to take on the Washington Commanders (2-4), who lost four straight games before their win last week over the Chicago Bears. Both of those are winnable, even for an underachieving Vikings team, so they could conceivably be 7-1 by the time they get their next real test: the Buffalo Bills (5-1).
The Bills, who boast the league’s best scoring defense and second-best scoring defense, host the Vikings in week 10. After a win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Buffalo has to be considered the favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. If the Vikings win that game, it would go a long way toward quelling fans’ fears.
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Author: WCCO Staff