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NFL Power Rankings: Vikings Creep Up Lists After Consecutive Wins

The Vikings (10-2) completed a sweep of the AFC East by beating the Jets 27-22 last Sunday.

Minnesota has another chance to clinch the NFC North this weekend as it travels to face the Detroit Lions (5-7) at Ford Field.

The Vikings need a win or tie to secure the division this week.

Here's a look at where the Vikings rank heading into Week 14:

No. 6 (up 1 spot): Dan Hanzus –

The Vikings astounding success in one-score games (9-0) continued Sunday with another narrow win, this time a 27-22 conquest against a stubborn young Jets team. The Vikings won because their defense stood strong in the red zone, holding New York to one touchdown in six trips inside the Minnesota 20. You can't argue with the Vikings record, but Kirk Cousins will need to play better if Minnesota is to be taken seriously as a Super Bowl contender. The veteran missed some layups against the Jets and continues to perform at levels below his career norms. Does that mean a hot streak is coming for one of the NFL's most consistent producers? We wouldn't bet against it.

No. 4 (up 2 spots): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report

The Minnesota Vikings like to keep things interesting.

Their season has been a high-wire act. One-score games. Late-game heroics. A goal-line stand. If the game goes down to the wire, the Vikings win — Minnesota is a staggering 9-0 in one-possession affairs. If things get away, though, it's probably a loss — Minnesota's only double-digit win was in its season opener, and the team's two losses came by a combined score of 64-10.

That much living on the edge might appear harrowing. But after safety Camryn Bynum closed out the Jets with a goal-line interception, he told reporters the team has grown used to it.

"It feels like any other play," Bynum said. "I know pressure's on us. We're in the red zone, fourth down, one play to lose the game or win the game, but to us that's normal football."

One more win (or a Lions loss [or tie]) will clinch the NFC North for the Vikings. Kevin O'Connell's first season as head coach has been a roaring success, but Gary Davenport still can't get behind the Vikings as a Super Bowl team.

"To their credit," Davenport said, "the Vikings have beaten the Bills, Patriots and Jets. But Minnesota has also been stomped by the Cowboys and Eagles. Its pass defense remains a liability as well, and I can't shake the feeling that the leaky secondary will be its undoing in the postseason."

Maurice Moton, however, is a believer.

"At some point, the analytics community has to let go of the DVOA argument and just acknowledge that the Vikings are good," he said. "No, they don't rank atop major statistical categories on defense, but they have found ways to win. The Vikings have the fourth-most takeaways after they added two more. Minnesota also scored 27 points against the Gang Green defense, which had ranked in the top five in yards and points allowed before Sunday."

View postgame celebration photos of the Vikings following their 27-22 win over the Jets at U.S. Bank Stadium.

No. 5 (up 1 spot): Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News

The Vikings continue to be disrespected because they do have defensive issues with an inconsistent yet sometimes explosive offense. It's true they tend to win a lot of close games, home or away, including the Jets contest, but that's a testament to their tougher and more confident mental makeup under rookie coach Kevin O'Connell.

No. 5 (up 1 spot): Pete Prisco – CBS Sports

They are 10-2, but there are still questions about this team. The defense has to be better.

No. 6 (no change): Conor Orr – Sports Illustrated

When the Vikings are completing deep YOLO balls to Jalen Reagor against one of the best secondaries in the NFL, you know it might be their year. In all seriousness, what has become clear to me is that you have to play the Vikings almost perfectly in order to beat them, and there are only a select few teams in the NFL with the right scheme and personnel. AND … even then, they can still find a way to get Justin Jefferson into a good matchup once and throw a quick touchdown on the board.

No. 6 (up 1 spot): Mike Florio – Pro Football Talk

They keep finding a way when it matters most.

No. 7 (no change): Nate Davis – USA TODAY Sports

The AFC East might be the NFL's best division, but Minnesota went 4-0 against it. Beat Detroit this Sunday, and rookie HC Kevin O'Connell will not only wrap up the NFC North crown, he'll be riding a three-week winning streak over teams he played for (Patriots, Jets).

No. 6 (up 1 spot): Frank Schwab – Yahoo! Sports

The Vikings are an interesting case. Analytics think they're average. Their point differential is only +10. They're 9-0 in one-score games, tying the 2019 Seahawks for the most one-score wins in the first 12 games since 1940, via NFL Media. On top of that all, they're underdogs against the Lions in Week 14. Yet, they keep winning, and 10-2 is impressive no matter how it happens. Are you buying the Vikings?