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NFL Power Rankings: Vikings Drop After Opening Loss to Buccaneers

During last year's regular season, the Vikings found themselves involved in numerous close games. Each time, the team relied on its trust in one another and overall mental fortitude to rally and go 11-0 in one-score contests.

Minnesota opened its 2023 season on Sunday against Tampa Bay and found itself in a similar position. Unlike a season ago, however, the Vikings made crucial mistakes on offense and couldn't get the necessary defensive stop when they needed it most.

The Vikings ultimately fell 20-17 to the Buccaneers, and as a result, dropped back in this week's Power Rankings, ranging from 17 to 26. Minnesota will now have to reset quickly, as it faces a familiar Week 2 opponent: the Philadelphia Eagles in a prime-time road trip.

Here's a look at where the Vikings rank going into Week 2:

No. 17 (down 2 spots): Eric Edholm –

For all the encouraging signs Brian Flores' undermanned defense showed against Tampa, the Vikings still couldn't take the ball away or get a crucial stop late. In the end, three offensive turnovers cost them dearly. Perhaps it's a sign that this year's Minnesota squad won't have the same fortune as its 2022 counterparts, who thrived in close-game situations. But then, the Vikings almost won a game in which they were minus-3 in turnovers; teams who were minus-3 or worse in regular-season games in 2022 went 1-37. This was not a great Week 1 showing, but I am not ready to write this team off either. It's just that there are enough tough games upcoming that it's hard not to be somewhat uneasy.

No. 17 (no change): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report

The Vikings entered the 2023 season aiming to repeat as NFC North champs, prove that last year's 13-win season wasn't a fluke and improve defensively over last year's 31st-place finish.

Strictly in terms of yards allowed, the Vikings accomplished that last goal against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs had only 242 total yards and went 6-for-17 on third down.

However, the Vikings offense let them down in critical moments. Quarterback Kirk Cousins racked up 344 passing yards, but he also committed three turnovers, including a goal-line interception.

After the game, Head Coach Kevin O'Connell stood up for his quarterback while speaking to reporters.

"Didn't mind the decision," O'Connell said about Cousins' goal-line interception. "We'll take a look if location could've been better. I want him to be aggressive. We fit that ball in there and score, and everyone thinks it's great execution."

Still, it's hardly the start to the season Cousins and the Vikings were looking for. They're now headed to Philadelphia on a short turnaround to face an Eagles team that destroyed them last year.

No. 24 (down 3 spots): Pete Prisco – CBS Sports

[The Vikings] 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.

No. 22 (down 5 spots): Josh Kendall – The Athletic

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.

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Eagles.

No. 26 (down 8 spots): Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News

What was that? The Vikings did more of what they did last season, getting lost a little when Justin Jefferson wasn't doing his thing. The sloppiness replaced last year's fourth-quarter magic in what will be a regression to mean season in Minnesota.

No. 20 (down 2 spots): Frank Schwab – Yahoo! Sports

Last season, the Vikings had plenty of games in which they were outplayed but they ended up winning close. On Sunday they outplayed the Buccaneers for the most part but fell short in a close game. When people talked about the Vikings regressing this season, that's what it looks like.