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NFL Power Rankings: Vikings Land in Back Half of Top 10

The Vikings (10-3) missed out on a chance to clinch the NFC North after falling to the Lions 34-23 on Sunday.

Minnesota will aim to bounce back and wrap up the division against Indianapolis (4-8-1) on Saturday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Here's a look at where the Vikings rank heading into Week 15:

No. 7 (down 1 spot): Dan Hanzus – NFL.com

The Vikings quest to clinch the NFC North is on pause for another week. A trip to Ford Field proved to be as difficult as advertised for Kevin O'Connell's team, which struggled to slow a roaring Lions offense in a 34-23 loss. Kirk Cousins did his best to keep Minnesota alive, delivering on-target throws all afternoon in his best performance of the season. His top receiver? Justin Jefferson, of course, who piled up a franchise-record 223 yards on 11 catches. Still, questions will continue about this team as the defense continues to get torched regularly. Minnesota will enter Week 15 dead last in football in yards allowed. This is not the recipe for postseason glory.

No. 7 (down 3 spots): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report

It seems odd to say that a 10-3 team has problems. But the Minnesota Vikings have very real problems.

Sunday against the Lions, Minnesota's beleaguered defense allowed a whopping 464 yards of offense. It marked the fifth consecutive game that the Vikings have allowed over 400 yards — the longest streak in franchise history. After the latest collapse, the Vikings have the worst defense in the entire NFL.

After the defeat, Vikings Head Coach Kevin O' Connell told reporters that changes could be coming on that side of the ball.

"I think it's a combination of some things," O'Connell said. "But I think we need to take a look at what we can do to potentially help our guys be in a position to make more plays, be a little bit more aggressive possibly, but ultimately I think we need to generate more [pass] rush, however we do it. And then just try to limit explosives. And what that looks like, it's a variety of things, but I think if we're doing our jobs effectively, we've got to take a look at it to try to improve our football team."

Gary Davenport thinks it may be too little, too late.

"The Vikings have been living dangerously for some time," he said. "It's rare for a team to have a record as good as Minnesota's while being outscored and outgained. It's also probably not sustainable, and we're starting to see that. The Vikings are going to win the NFC North. But their defensive deficiencies are going to keep them from making a deep run in the postseason."

No. 8 (down 3 spots): Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News

The Vikings defensive woes have been lingering all season and they showed up in a big way in an atypical non-close game in Detroit. They still should win the NFC North soon, but there's less confidence they will make much noise in the playoffs beyond the Wild Card round.

No. 7 (down 2 spots): Pete Prisco – CBS Sports

The defense is a major problem for this group. It can't stop the opposition, which puts so much pressure on its offense. At 10-3, are the Vikings good or not?

No. 9 (down 3 spots): Conor Orr – Sports Illustrated

We are now at five straight games in which the Vikings have surrendered more than 400 total yards. Hopefully, their fan base now understands why so many of us professional power rankers were so hesitant to buy Vikings stock. I get it; the entire season has been frustrating, because you win 10 games and everyone keeps talking about how hollow those victories are and ignoring the good. Every loss is apparently the indictment of how flawed the team really is. And yet, deep down, it makes some sense, especially after losing to the favored 5–7 Lions.

No. 8 (down 2 spots): Mike Florio – Pro Football Talk

A blowout loss in the Divisional Round has never felt more certain.

View game action photos from he Vikings vs. Lions Week 14 game at Ford Field on Dec. 11, 2022.

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

For the first time in their 62-season history, they've allowed 400 yards in five consecutive games – among the unusual number of issues facing team likely to be seeded second or third in the NFC Playoffs bracket.

No. 7 (down 1 spot): Frank Schwab – Yahoo! Sports

The Vikings are an oddity, a 10-3 team with a negative point differential and pretty much every other negative advanced stat you can think of. I still don't believe the Vikings are bad. They're just not as good as your typical 10-3 team. What is concerning is the defense. Minnesota has given up at least 400 yards in five straight games. That will cost the Vikings in the playoffs if they don't clean it up.

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