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NFL Power Rankings: Experts Rank Vikings with 4 Games to Play

The Vikings hung tough with the best team in football on Thursday night.

Minnesota lost to the 11-1 Dallas Cowboys 17-15 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 13.

The Vikings (6-6) are now two games behind the Detroit Lions (8-4) in the NFC North and one game out in the race for a NFC Wild Card spot.

Minnesota will travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars (2-10) on Sunday.

Let's see where the experts placed the Vikings on their power rankings lists for Week 14.

*Tough loss for a team trending in the wrong direction. Once again, the offensive line said ole! time and again, as Kyle Rudolph was under fire for most of the night. That's bullfighting "ole!" not Oil of Olay, although Bradford could've used the latter on that wicked hands-to-the-face on the failed two-point conversion. In fairness, Bradford airmailed the football in anticipation of a rush that had been coming steadily in his face all night, not because of the blow to the head. That said, it was a badly missed call. The official right there couldn't see the arm that hit Bradford in the head, but this is a hurting team that sorely needed the crew to get it right. *


There's no better cure for your ills than a game against the Jaguars, and that's exactly what the Vikings have this week. Since Week 7, Minnesota is averaging 16.3 points per game, which ranks third worst in the NFL.

Vikings #15ESPN

The Vikings hung tough with the Cowboys on Thursday night, but they gave the game away with a fumble on a punt return, essentially handing Dallas a free touchdown. If not for that blunder, they easily could have won that game. Alas, they did not and are now squarely on the outside looking in.

 Vikings #17FOX Sports

Minnesota's defensive-minded head coach couldn't roam the sidelines, so his special teams coach took his place. Yet those two phases — defense and special teams — cost Minnesota a chance to upset the NFC's current No. 1 seed. It'll pay the price come playoff time.

Minnesota's front seven did a bang-up job containing Ezekiel Elliott. But come crunch time, the secondary couldn't do the same on two plays: a Dez Bryant catch on a slick double move and a 3rd-and-13 Dak Prescott scramble. Both plays were backbreakers.

So was Adam Thielen's muffed punt return. Factor that out, and maybe Sam Bradford doesn't need to mount a game-tying drive (and a referee's call) at the end of regulation.

*Looking forward: It'll be tough sledding for the Vikes against Jacksonville's defense. But that secondary? Against Blake Bortles? C'mon.*

Vikings #20*Bleacher Report*

One thing that would help the Vikings over the rest of the season – other than turning around this miserable skid and somehow making the playoffs – would be to get first-round pick Laquon Treadwell a little confidence going into the offseason. He has one catch for 15 yards all season. The Vikings already traded their first-round pick next season, and it's tough to get nothing out of the first round over a two-year stretch. It's not too late for Treadwell though, even though he hasn't shown anything yet.

Vikings #17Yahoo Sports

*That fast start looks like it was a long time ago. They just don't do enough on offense. *

Vikings #17CBS Sports

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