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Lunchbreak: Vikings Slotted 14th in ESPN's Early 2019 Power Rankings

With Super Bowl LIII in the rearview mirror, we're onto the 2019 season, still seven months from the next meaningful football games.

The Vikings will spend the offseason focused on free agency and the draft, but where does Minnesota stack up against the rest of the league?

ESPN recently released its way-too-early power rankings for the 2019 season, and slotted the Vikings in the middle of the pack in the 14th spot.

ESPN Vikings beat writer Courtney Cronin gave a reason for optimism for Minnesota, which missed the postseason in 2018 after making it to the NFC title game the year before.

Cronin wrote:

If history is any indicator of a trend, 2019 should be the bounce-back year the Vikings need. Mike Zimmer's teams haven't been able to string together consecutive playoff seasons since he took over in 2014, but the Vikings made the postseason in 2015 after missing it the year before and again in 2017 after a disastrous end to the 2016 season. Living by an "every other year" standard isn't what any franchise wants, but the Vikings have everything they need to regain that "nasty" edge and turn the page after a disappointing season.

The Vikings went 7-9 in 2014, Zimmer's first season in Minnesota, but followed that up with an 11-5 record and an NFC North title. The Vikings then went 8-8 in 2016 before a wildly successful 2017 campaign.

Minnesota endured many ups and downs in 2018 as the Vikings finished 8-7-1 and missed out on a Wild Card spot by a half-game. The Vikings had a chance to make the playoffs with a win at home in Week 17 but fell to the Bears, who won the division.

The Vikings are the second-highest ranked team in the NFC North as Chicago is sixth. ESPN tabbed Minnesota as the seventh-best team in the NFC behind the Rams, Saints, Bears, Seahawks, Eagles and Cowboys.

Looking at Vikings success as a franchise in the Super Bowl-era

The Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl on Sunday, moving into a tie with the Steelers for the most titles by a franchise in NFL history.

The Vikings, of course, have yet to claim the Lombardi Trophy, but that doesn't mean Minnesota hasn't been a successful franchise in recent decades.

Bob Sturm of The Athletic recently released his franchise rankings of the Super Bowl-era, which uses a numerical formula to rate a team's success in the 53 years since the Super Bowl launched.

Sturm's rankings, which can be found here, award a team 11 points for winning the Super Bowl and five points for losing one. A loss in a conference title game is three points, while a playoff appearance is a single point.

Using Sturm's formula, the Vikings are ranked 13th among all franchises with 57 total points.

Sturm wrote:

The Vikings remain an amazing study. Only two franchises (Dallas and Pittsburgh) have been to the playoffs more than the Vikings, but every single team above them in these standings (save for the Rams) has won at least two Super Bowls. You could argue the Vikings are among the most accomplished and consistent franchises in NFL history, but never winning it all keeps them from getting their due here. 2017 looked promising but then ended in a somewhat typical way for the tortured franchise, and in 2018 they were back out of the post-season altogether.

All of the dozen teams ahead of the Vikings have a Super Bowl title, while Minnesota has come up short in four tries (Super Bowls IV, VIII, IX and XI).

The Vikings have an all-time record of 478-397-11 in franchise history, and Minnesota's overall win percentage of .546 ranks sixth among all teams behind Dallas, Chicago, Green Bay, New England and Miami.