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NFL Power Rankings, Week 12: Vikings Back to .500 and Starting to Believe

Let's check in on where the national power rankings have the Vikings after a big win over the Packers.

For the second time this season, the Vikings have won two in a row to save their season and get back to the .500 mark.

But this latest streak — if you can call it that — is much more impressive than the first one, which consisted of last-second wins over the Lions and Panthers. The Vikings have legitimately looked like a team that could get to the postseason and do some damage over the past two weeks, beating the Chargers on the road and finding a way to take down the Packers at home. Those are easily their two best victories of this season, and they give the Vikings additional belief and momentum heading into the seven-game post-Thanksgiving stretch run.

Let's take a look at where the Vikings are in this week's national power rankings and what the writers have to say about this suddenly-intriguing team.

Gary Gramling, SI.com: No. 13 (Up 4 spots)

Kirk Cousins has been consistently tasked with delivering late-game heroics this year, and he’s done so repeatedly. The schedule is about to soften up for the Vikings, and anything less than 10 wins would be a disappointment.

Dan Hanzus, NFL.com: No. 10 (Up 4 spots)

The Vikings are the most unpredictable and — maybe — most dangerous team in the NFC. Kirk Cousins threw three more touchdown passes, including two to the unstoppable Justin Jefferson, in a 34-31 win over the Packers that served as notice to the rest of the league: When the Vikings are humming like they are right now, they can beat anyone. It came down to a final-second field goal by Greg Joseph, because, well, that's the only way the team seems to know how to play. It appears to be taking a toll on the head coach: "Sundays are not fun," said the lovably cantankerous Mike Zimmer. "You know how they say Sunday is fun day? It's not ... at all.

Bleacher Report Staff: No. 15 (Up 2 spots)

The story of the 2021 season for the Minnesota Vikings has been heartbreak. The Vikes have been in every game this year, only to continually come up short at the end. All five of Minnesota's losses have come by seven or fewer points, including a pair of losses in overtime.Sunday against the rival Packers, it appeared for a while like we might see the same sad story play out again—after taking a 31-24 lead late, the Vikings allowed Aaron Rodgers to burn the team for a 75-yard scoring strike to Marquez Valdes-Scantling.However, rather than folding, this time the Vikings rallied, driving the length of the field before Greg Joseph knocked through a chip-shot field goal as time expired to lift Minnesota back to .500 and into a playoff spot as things stand now.

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Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: No. 16 (Up 3 spots)

Beating the Packers in dramatic fashion Sunday keeps their division hopes alive, but the reality is they are likely chasing a wild-card spot. The offense can be dynamic.

Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: No. 12 (Up 3 spots)

Justin Jefferson on Sunday: eight catches, 169 yards, two touchdowns. Finally the Vikings realize that their first priority in the offense needs to be getting Jefferson touches.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: No. 14 (Up 3 spots)

The Vikings could be a lot higher in the NFC standings with better results from their early-season one-possession games, but all that has been quickly forgotten with recent wins over the Panthers, Chargers and Packers. The key to making the playoffs will be staying consistent through four quarters every game over the final two months.

Nate Davis, USA Today: No. 10 (Up 7 spots)

Even QB Kirk Cousins is looking for room on Minnesota's bandwagon. Not much room on Cousins bandwagon either, Pro Football Focus justifiably ranking him as league's second-best passer after Sunday's upset of Green Bay, in part due to his 0.5% interception rate.

Mike Florio, PFT: No. 15 (Up 2 spots)

They’ve led in every game by seven or more points, and they’ve lost half of them. Hello, 9-8.

Danny Kelly, The Ringer: No. 15 (Up 2 spots)

ESPN Staff: No. 16 (Up 3 spots)

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