Last week, when looking at the national power rankings prior to Week 1 of the NFL season, I pondered if the Vikings — generally slotted in the 15-22 range — were being underrated. Was that too low for a team with a talented offense, a reloaded defense, and a good coaching staff?
As it turns out: no, it was not too low. The Vikings were properly rated — at least for the time being.
Now, after falling to the Bengals on the road in their opener, Mike Zimmer's team has fallen even further in the power ranks. Let's see just how far they fall and what these national writers have to say about their Week 1 performance and outlook going forward.
Conor Orr, SI.com: No. 24 (Down 4 spots)
This is still an efficient offense with stable quarterback play and excellent options at wide receiver. However, Sunday’s loss to the Bengals reminds us that a pass rush and a secondary are more essential than ever, and a lack of those can be easily exposed.
Dan Hanzus, NFL.com: No. 24 (Down 7 spots)
Let's start here: I'm not sure how game officials and the replay crew in New York stuck with the ruling of that Dalvin Cook fumble in overtime, a questionable call that effectively swung the outcome of the game. But Minnesota also put itself in that vulnerable position with an afternoon of sloppy play against a supposedly inferior opponent. Four of the Vikings' five offensive linemen were charged with holding penalties, and the one who wasn't — Brian O'Neill — had a false start. The rebuilt secondary struggled to contain Joe Burrow, who averaged close to 10 yards per attempt. The Vikings fashion themselves an NFC contender, but they didn't look the part on Sunday.
Bleacher Report Staff: No. 25 (Down 3 spots)
It's not just that the Vikings fell in Week 1. It's that they were beaten by a Cincinnati Bengals team that hasn't had a winning season since 2015. Minnesota's defense allowed 366 yards of offense and 149 yards on the ground to an offense that ranked 29th in the league last year.It's a bad sign for a Vikings team heading into a brutal three-game gauntlet: at Arizona, vs. Seattle and vs. Cleveland.Given how they looked in Cincinnati, a 0-4 start is a real possibility.And at that point, Mike Zimmer's job security could be quite a bit shakier.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: No. 26 (Down 10 spots)
Losing on the road in an opener isn't a disaster, but the defense let them down. They have to be better on the back end. The good news is that nobody else in the division won either.
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: No. 25 (Down 8 spots)
That was a rough way to lose, with Dalvin Cook fumbling in Cincinnati territory late in overtime and then allowing a fourth-and-inches pass that led to a game-winning field goal. The Vikings thought their defense would be much improved, and that's questionable after one week.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: No. 23 (Down 2 spots)
The Vikings' defense got shredded in what was supposed to be a big rebound unit for Mike Zimmer. The offense looked lost and predictable at times with too many critical mistakes outweighing the big-play potential. Minnesota should be teetering around .500 all season.
Nate Davis, USA Today: No. 24 (Down 9 spots)
When you commit a dozen penalties for 116 yards, and your best player (RB Dalvin Cook) fumbles in overtime? Welp. Not harbingers for the campaign you want.
Mike Florio, PFT: No. 24 (Down 6 spots)
It could be another long year for the Vikings, who seem to think they’re better than they really are.
ESPN Staff: No. 25 (Down 7 spots)
Danny Kelly, The Ringer: No. 25 (Down 5 spots)
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