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NFL Power Rankings: Vikings Rebound After Thanksgiving Win

The Vikings (9-2) won the first home Thanksgiving game in franchise history with a 33-26 victory against the Patriots.

Minnesota has a chance to clinch the NFC North this weekend as the New York Jets (7-4) visit U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Vikings need a win and a loss by the Lions, who are hosting the Jaguars at the same time, in order to secure the division this week.

Here's a look at where the Vikings rank heading into Week 13:

No. 7 (up 2 spots): Dan Hanzus –

The Thanksgiving night win over the Patriots was a crucial one for the Vikings, who were in dire need of a change to the conversation after the embarrassing blowout loss to the Cowboys four days earlier. Justin Jefferson was once again the driver of almost everything good in the Minnesota offense: The Pro Bowl wideout finished the game with nine catches for 139 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets. Jefferson's greatness makes life so much easier for Kirk Cousins, who quieted chatter about his failures in prime-time games until, well, the next time the Vikings play in prime time. Minnesota can clinch the NFC North with a win over the upstart Jets (and a Lions loss to the Jaguars) on Sunday.


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No. 6 (down 1 spot): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report

There wasn't a team in the league in bigger need of a bounce-back performance in Week 12 than the Minnesota Vikings. In Week 11, the Vikings were embarrassed at home by the Cowboys in the franchise's second-worst home loss in six decades. On Thanksgiving night, Minnesota faced another playoff contender in the Patriots.

The Vikings got that rebound victory — and Kirk Cousins exorcised a few prime-time demons in the process.

Long excoriated for his performances on big stages, Cousins was sharp against an excellent defense, throwing for 299 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. After the win, Cousins made a point to thank his teammates and Head Coach Kevin O'Connell for placing him in position to succeed.

"Kevin has empowered me so much. This team has empowered me so much," Cousins said. "At times, it almost brings me to tears the way these guys support me."

After what was undoubtedly Minnesota's worst loss of the season, the Vikings responded with a big win on a short week against a quality opponent.

It didn't eliminate the doubts about the team's viability as a Super Bowl contender. But it was a step in the right direction, and now the Vikes have had extra time to prepare for another challenging matchup against the Jets.

No. 6 (no change): Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News

The Vikings got their offense going again with Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson leading the way against the Patriots. They made a key statement in prime time to quickly rebound from the Cowboys debacle and on the cusp of locking up the NFC North title.

No. 6 (up 1 spot): Pete Prisco – CBS Sports

Kirk Cousins played well in the prime-time victory over the Patriots. That was a heck of a bounce-back for this team.

No. 6 (up 4 spots): Conor Orr – Sports Illustrated

To make the Patriots defense look as silly as the Vikings did at times on Thanksgiving was significant. Bill Belichick has been calling some of the best defense in the NFL this year and saw his veterans get trapped in an accidental triple team.

No. 7 (up 1 spot): Mike Florio – Pro Football Talk

They're not giving up yet on the possibility of being the No. 1 seed.

No. 7 (up 1 spot): Nate Davis – USA TODAY Sports

With a win over the Jets on Sunday, coupled with a Detroit loss, Minnesota will become the first team to win a division title in 2022.

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

The Vikings defense probably isn't good enough to win a Super Bowl. They have given up the second-most yards in the NFL this season. Mac Jones looked like a Pro Bowler against them. It has been a great season for the Vikings, but to make a playoff run they'll need to create a lot of turnovers on defense. They can't count on getting stops.