A lot can happen over the course of a month.
The Vikings stumbled out of the gates to begin the 2023 season, as turnovers and missed opportunities led to a winless September – with all three losses coming by a one-score margin.
The tight contests carried over into October, but Minnesota regained its footing. The Vikings limited their turnovers and rattled off four victories in five games, including a current streak of three straight. During this past month, Minnesota finished tied for the best record in the NFC and the second-best mark in the league.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins stayed hot in "Kirktober" fashion, rookie receiver Jordan Addison reached the end zone in four consecutive games in the absence of Justin Jefferson, and the defense found its identity under Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores.
But Minnesota's 24-10 victory at Green Bay on Sunday came with a somber finish. Cousins suffered a non-contact ankle injury during the fourth quarter, and the team confirmed Monday that he will be out for the remainder of the season with a torn Achilles.
Tomorrow, the calendar flips to November. While Minnesotans have to deal with the first snowfall of the season, the Vikings have to march forward while continuing to support Cousins in his recovery.
Despite moving to 4-4 on the season, Minnesota fell in the majority of this week's Power Rankings. Here's a look at where the Vikings rank heading into Week 9:
No. 19 (up 1 spot): Eric Edholm, NFL.com
The Vikings find themselves in a similar place to the Jets: nominally in contention but facing some hard questions at quarterback. Kirk Cousins' devastating Achilles injury opens up the possibility that he's played his final game for the club, and it puts the Vikings into a fascinating short-term quandary, as they currently sit in the No. 7 playoff spot in the NFC. It doesn't feel like there's a Brett Favre-like answer just waiting for the phone to ring, even if everyone knows whom Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell once backed up as a Patriots player. More likely, it's Jaren Hall or Sean Mannion or Nick Mullens, or some combination of them. If this is it for Cousins in Minnesota, it's a cruel twist of fate. He'd been playing some really good football. Neither he nor Vikings fans deserved this.
No. 23 (down 4 spots): Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
With Kirk Cousins out for the year, [the Vikings] are done, which is why they are down this far. He was playing outstanding football before tearing his Achilles against the Packers. There is no quarterback who can save them now who would be available or who is on the roster.
No. 24 (down 8 spots): Josh Kendall, The Athletic
Cousins was playing perhaps the best football of his career before suffering a torn Achilles on Sunday. He is second in the league in passing yards per game (291.8), and that will end up being the second-highest single-season number of his career. Rookie Jaren Hall finished the game Sunday.
No. 21 (no change): NFL Staff, Bleacher Report
This should have been a week for celebrating in Minnesota – the Vikings not only beat the rival Packers at Lambeau Field, but after an 0-3 start to the season, they have peeled off four wins in five games to get back to .500.
Instead, there's despair in the Twin Cities – because any chance the Vikings have of a playoff run likely just went up in smoke.
The cold, hard truth is that with Cousins done for the season, the Vikings are done right along with him.
And it's fair to wonder if Cousins' time in Minnesota could be done along with it.
"Minnesota might technically be in the thick of things with a 4-4 record and three straight victories," [Bleacher Report NFL analyst Brent] Sobleski wrote. "But the team isn't in position to build on its recent success after Cousins suffered a torn Achilles tendon."
No. 15 (up 3 spots): Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News
The Vikings have rallied to win three consecutive games to erase an 0-3 start and get right back into the NFC Wild Card race.
No. 23 (down 4 spots): Nate Davis, USA Today Sports
The most Pyrrhic of victories Sunday at Green Bay, quarterback Kirk Cousins tearing his Achilles in the latter stages of Minnesota's walkover win. So now what?
No. 24 (down 9 spots): Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports
We have to judge the Vikings for what they are now, and without Kirk Cousins the rest of the season they are probably going to struggle. Next up is probably fifth-round rookie Jaren Hall.