Vikings Hit New Low in 2023 Power Rankings


Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) warms up before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Folks knew it wouldn’t be pretty in the court of public opinion after the Minnesota Vikings lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1, but even the fruition of Minnesota’s placement was a bit jarring.

Vikings Hit New Low in 2023 Power Rankings

Kevin O’Connell’s team entered 2023 with low expectations per sportsbooks and NFL experts, while the Vikings fanbase remained steadfast that the team could remain prosperous and contend for the NFC North.

But after one game, oddsmakers and pundits are strutting a victory lap.

Vikings Hit New Low
Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell comes off the field after the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Sporting News published Week 2 power rankings after the New York Jets toppled the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football, and the Vikings checked in at No. 26 — also known as the seventh-worst team in football.

Dropping eight spots from No. 18 and sandwiched between the Denver Broncos (No. 25) and Carolina Panthers (No. 27), Sporting News‘ Vinnie Iyer explained the Vikings placement at No. 26, “What was that? The Vikings did more of what they did last season, getting lost a little when Justin Jefferson wasn’t doing their thing. The sloppiness replaced last year’s fourth-quarter magic in what will be a regression to mean season in Minnesota.”

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings fan reacts during the third quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota was plagued by three turnovers in Week 1 — while forcing none — and could not find any momentum in the 2nd Half versus the Buccaneers. After halftime, the Vikings effective defense from the 1st Half was “figured out,” as Baker Mayfield and Co. dinked and dunked their way to victory.

And it gets no easier for the Vikings, traveling to Philadelphia for a date with the Eagles on Thursday Night Football.

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

CBS Sports, another power-ranking outfit, also sank the Vikings by a few ladder rungs to No. 24, and Pete Prisco opined, “They turned it over three times in the loss to Tampa Bay, which isn’t a good way to start the season. Now they head to Philadelphia to play the Eagles on a short week, which is a challenge.”

The Athletic cratered Minnesota from No. 17 to No. 22 with this explanation: “We have to get Justin Jefferson to a coast. His talents are being wasted in the Midwest. Jefferson had nine catches for 150 yards Sunday and became the fastest player to 25 games of 100 or more receiving yards in a game along the way, but Minnesota left all of its one-score-game miracle dust in the 2022 regular season.”

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) stiff arms Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis III (24) in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings still have time to get back on track in O’Connell’s second season; the next task in Philadelphia just feels daunting. If Minnesota finds no turnaround on Thursday Night Football, it will have 10 days to soul search and encounter a quasi-desperation game at home versus the Los Angeles Chargers on September 24th.

Minnesota is 2-2 in its last four matchups with the Eagles, including the ill-fated 2017 NFC Championship.

Sporting News named the San Francisco 49ers the NFL’s new top dog entering Week 2 at No. 1.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.





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