There's no shame in losing to a talented 49ers team on the road, particularly in the fashion the Vikings did on Sunday. Already playing without their entire starting defensive line, they lost two key contributors in Anthony Barr and Dalvin Cook during the afternoon. They turned the ball over twice deep in their own territory, were probably hurt by some questionable officiating, and still hung around for the entire game, losing by eight points after squandering several late opportunities.
But when you start the season in a 1-3 hole, these are the types of games you'd like to find a way to win. The Vikings could've taken another step towards proving themselves as a quality team and given a significant boost to their odds of reaching the playoffs. Instead, they've got a lot of work to do.
Let's check in on this week's power rankings to see how far the Vikings fall after that loss.
Albert Breer, SI.com: No. 18 (Down 5 spots)
All 11 of the Vikings’ games have been won or lost by a single possession [editor's note: it's 10 of 11]. Maybe this week, in Detroit, that pattern will finally get broken.
Dan Hanzus, NFL.com: No. 14 (Down 4 spots)
The Vikings have shown they can beat anyone in the NFL when they're on top of their game ... but consistency continues to elude Mike Zimmer's team. The Vikes jumped out to another seven-point lead on Sunday — they've done that in every game this season — but still found themselves on the wrong side of a one-score loss to the Niners, who now possess a potentially critical head-to-head tiebreaker in the race for a wild-card bid in the NFC. The injury news is bad, as well: Dalvin Cook was carted off with a shoulder injury and diagnosed Monday with a dislocation and torn labrum. Alexander Mattison is a quality backup, but an extended absence on Cook's part will have a trickle-down effect on the entire operation.
Bleacher Report Staff: No. 16 (Down 1 spot)
You had to know that the Minnesota Vikings would be involved in a close game in Week 12. Only one of their 11 games this season has been decided by double digits.Unfortunately, as has been the case so many times in 2021, the Vikings came up just short, dropping back below .500 after allowing over 200 yards on the ground.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: No. 20 (Down 4 spots)
When Kirk Cousins needed to make plays against the 49ers, he couldn't make them. Now they can't afford anymore losses.
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: No. 16 (Down 4 spots)
Dalvin Cook is going to miss some time after suffering a dislocated shoulder and torn labrum. He hasn't been ruled out for the rest of the season, but you have to assume he's only going to return if the Vikings are still in the playoff race when he's healthy. Even then it doesn't seem like a sure thing.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: No. 19 (Down 5 spots)
The Vikings lost another one-possession game to a strong team. In other news, Thanksgiving is in November and Christmas is in December. The Vikings' defense is the big concern for Mike Zimmer as they try to maintain playoff status, giving Kirk Cousins and the offense little margin for error.
Nate Davis, USA Today: No. 14 (Down 4 spots)
How long can they continue treading water without Pro Bowl RB Dalvin Cook? At least one week given Vikes' next stop is Detroit.
Mike Florio, PFT: No. 15 (Up 2 spots)
They’ll possibly win just enough games to barely miss the playoffs.
Danny Kelly, The Ringer: No. 16 (Down 1 spot)
ESPN Staff: No. 18 (Down 2 spots)
Minnesota's 34-26 loss at San Francisco dropped its playoff chances from 78% to 40%, according to ESPN's FPI. My confidence rating in Week 12 is a point higher than it was in Week 6 because the Vikings have surpassed the hardest stretch of their schedule and are in good position for the No. 7 seed — with games left against the Lions, a downward-sliding Steelers team and two meetings with the Bears. But even with a manageable stretch to close out the schedule, nothing feels completely stable with a team whose narrative flip flops from playoff contender to a group in need of a complete overhaul with every win and loss, respectively. — Courtney Cronin
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