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NFL Power Rankings: Final Rankings Before Playoffs Start

The Vikings (13-4) closed out the regular season strong with a 29-13 win against the Bears.

Minnesota will square off again with the New York Giants (9-7-1) in the first round of the playoffs on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Here's a look at where the Vikings rank heading into Wild Card Weekend:

No. 10 (up 1 spot): Dan Hanzus –

All the handwringing about the Vikings can officially cease. You can take them seriously the way you would most 13-4 division winners ... or you can disregard their success as the product of a fluke regular season. The truth is that none of it matters anymore. The postseason has a way of shaking out the pretenders from the contenders, and it all starts for Minnesota on Sunday against the Giants. The Vikings could be one-and-done disappointments, or they could deliver elite playoff drama across multiple rounds. They're a hard team to get a handle on, which makes them a great team to have around. Our own version of a Knives Out Mystery.

No. 7 (up 1 spot): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report

There isn't a harder team to figure out in this year's playoffs than the Minnesota Vikings.

On one hand, the Vikings are a 13-win division champion. Those 13 wins tied for the franchise's most since their magical 15-1 campaign in 1998. Minnesota set an NFL record this year with 11 one-score victories and fields the league's seventh-ranked offense in yards and eighth-ranked offense in points.

On the other hand, the Vikings were blasted in blowout losses to the Packers, Cowboys and Eagles. Only the Detroit Lions were worse defensively in terms of yards allowed entering Week 18, and only three teams allowed more points.

Brent Sobleski acknowledged he's not quite sure what to make of these Vikings, though his confidence in the team's ability to pull off a deep postseason run is shaky at best.

"How good are the Vikings really? It's a legitimate question despite Minnesota being the NFC North champions, because it's a team that's gotten away with plenty this year," he said. "In fact, the Vikings are 11-0 in one-score games this season. Yes, a team must possess a certain amount of poise and fortitude to perform so well in tense situations. Yet, the same squad required an NFL-record 33-point comeback against the lowly Indianapolis Colts and just had their hats handed to them by the Green Bay Packers in Week 17. A 5-3 record down the stretch might be a better indicator of Minnesota's status than its 8-1 start."

In some respects, the playoff draw was a blessing to the Vikings. For next week's Wild Card Round, Minnesota drew a Giants team they just beat in Week 16.

But Minnesota's defensive deficiencies aren't going to make it easy to get past the 49ers or Eagles in the Divisional Round.

No. 10 (down 2 spots): Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News

The Vikings (+3000) needed until Week 18 against a shell of a Bears team to get their first blowout victory since Week 1. They have overcome a terrible scoring defense with the required offensive points, going 11-0 in one-possession games. They're battle-tested in the first season under offensive-minded Kevin O'Connell, but it doesn't bode well the Eagles and Cowboys were among the teams that routed them. The Vikings are volatile right from the Wild Card Round.

No. 7 (no change): Pete Prisco – CBS Sports

They bounced back from that horrible showing at Lambeau last week to beat up the Bears. The defense will be what decides if they can make a run in the playoffs.

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

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

They'll beat the Giants by 2-4 points or lose by 20-40.

No. 7 (no change): Frank Schwab – Yahoo! Sports

The Vikings have to feel good about getting the Giants in the Wild Card Round. They're not guaranteed to win or anything, but that matchup isn't bad for them.