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NFL Power Rankings: Experts Rank the Vikings Heading into Week 1

The NFL season is finally here.

The Vikings will open the season against the San Francisco 49ers at noon (CT) Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Experts from across the internet listed their power rankings, heading into the new season and placed the Vikings near the top.

Everyone — or, at least, every Vikings fan of the variety that obsesses over things like centers and guards — is freaking out about Minnesota's offensive line. The front didn't look too bad in the preseason, although trying to accurately assess O-line quality in August is like trying to tell the difference between pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie without touching. The preseason has devolved to the point where teams are afraid to have their starters even perform a hamstring stretch. What we can glean is the strength of Mike Zimmer's personnel. The defense carries more oomph than the Patriots' D at all three levels. (The acquisition of former Bengals safety George Iloka only added to Minnesota's enviable defensive depth.) The wide receivers are superior to New England's, and backfield is even. That's why the top AFC team sits where it does for now, with the Vikings at the cleanup spot.

I'm sticking with them at No. 1, because I like what's around the line and I'm being stubborn. But I'm nervous about what we'll see from the Vikings' line the first few weeks. It could absolutely sink their season.

High: 1

Low: 3

Last Week: 1

Well, this is it. The end of the line. Bleacher Report's No. 1 team as we begin this NFL season.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that it's the Minnesota Vikings.

More so than any team in the league, the Vikings don't have a weakness for opponents to exploit. Kirk Cousins is an accomplished veteran quarterback. The talent at running back, wide receiver and tight end is as good in totality as anyone's.

Defensively, the Vikings possess arguably the most loaded front four in the league—Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph, Sheldon Richardson and Danielle Hunter. Only Hunter hasn't already been named a Pro Bowler, and his future inclusion is inevitable.

The linebackers and defensive backs are nothing to sneeze at either.

Toss in one of the most underrated head coaches in the NFL in Mike Zimmer, and you have all the ingredients for a juggernaut.

The Vikings came one game from the Super Bowl last year without Cousins. And Richardson. And Dalvin Cook.

It's fixing to be quite the season in the Twin Cities.

They signed Kirk Cousins to liven up the offense. If he can improve it by a bunch, they could be a Super team with that defense.

The pressure is on quarterback Kirk Cousins after the Vikings used a fully guaranteed, three-year, $84 million deal to add him as the presumptive final piece to a Super Bowl puzzle. Will he really play all that much better for the Vikings this season than Case Keenum did last season?

Who's on top?

Heading into the season, the Eagles remain at top of the power rankings and their Super Bowl opponent, the New England Patriots aren't far behind. But we're not giving the Patriots the No. 2 spot. After a tumultuous offseason, New England is ranked third, right behind the Vikings and the new quarterback in Minnesota, Kirk Cousins. The Vikings' defense looks even more impressive this year than last and with Cousins under center there's a lot to like about that team.

2017 playoff teams like the Rams, Jaguars, and Steelers rank closely behind those top three teams, and even with Le'Veon Bell's hold out continuing, the Steelers are still among the AFC's biggest threats​.

Don't be surprised if Dalvin Cook's return actually has more profound effect on 11th-ranked offense than Kirk Cousins' arrival.

_Minnesota was one win from the Super Bowl in 2017. With Kirk Cousins at quarterback and a loaded 53-man roster backed by the league's No. 1 defense, the Vikings have their eye on capturing the franchise's first Lombardi trophy. Minnesota ponied up big money ($84 million fully guaranteed) to land who it believes is this team's missing piece and has surrounded Cousins with everything he needs to win now: a healthy running back in Dalvin Cook, the NFL's top receiving duo in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs and Pro Bowl tight end Kyle Rudolph. -- Courtney Cronin_