The Vikings journey toward the NFL mountaintop in 2023 has had its share of stumbles, bumps and bruises thus far.
Minnesota's trek got more strenuous on Sunday after missed opportunities on both sides of the ball kept the Vikings from unseating the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. The loss kept the Vikings without a win at home this season. All five of Minnesota's games have been decided by a one-score margin.
The Vikings (1-4) path is heading to Chicago in Week 6 for a divisional game against the Bears (1-4). It will be followed by a Monday Night Football game against the 5-0 49ers and back-to-back road contests at Green Bay and Atlanta.
Star receiver Justin Jefferson will miss all of those games at the very least after he was placed on Injured Reserve Tuesday because of a hamstring injury suffered against the Chiefs.
Despite those obstacles, Minnesota relatively stayed put in this week's Power Rankings.
Here's a look at where the Vikings rank heading into Week 6:
No. 25 (no change): Eric Edholm, NFL.com
[The Vikings have] lost eight fumbles and allowed every single opponent they've faced to score first, which at least partially explains how they're sitting at 1-4. So, do we take any solace from the fact that they were competitive against the Chiefs? It's very hard to when Justin Jefferson had a tough game and left with a hamstring injury, and it's even harder when the script plays out similarly to previous losses. A fumble on the first play of the game, which no doubt was a point of emphasis all week in practice from [Head Coach] Kevin O'Connell and his staff. Clock and game management errors. Offensive and defensive failures at key moments in winnable games. That's a lot to clean up before facing the Bears on the road. And now the Vikings must move forward without their best player for at least the next four games, as Jefferson is hitting Injured Reserve.
No. 21 (down 4 spots): Josh Kendall, The Athletic
Wide receiver Jordan Addison has been what the Vikings drafted him to be, a solid second option behind Justin Jefferson. Addison has 19 catches for 249 yards. Third-round cornerback Mekhi Blackmon is starting to show some flashes. He's had nine tackles in the last two games he's played and was active against the Chiefs on Sunday.
No. 23 (down 1 spot): NFL Staff, Bleacher Report
In 2022, the Minnesota Vikings lived by one-score games, winning an NFL-record 11 of them.
In 2023, the Vikings are dying by them.
After falling by seven points to the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, all five of the Vikings games have been decided by one score. And in losing four of them, any hopes the Vikings have of making the postseason is circling the drain. It's not hard to see why the Vikings are losing these close ones, either – Minnesota's 12 giveaways lead the league.
Next week's trip to Chicago (in theory) should be a winnable game without Jefferson. But the Week 7 tilt with the San Francisco 49ers is a whole other matter.
And unless the Vikings start stacking wins, like, now, the topic of conversation in the Twin Cities is going to shift to 2024 – and whether [Kirk] Cousins should be part of the franchise's future.
No. 28 (up 1 spot): Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
[The Vikings] competed against the Chiefs, but it doesn't matter. At 1-4, they now start playing division games, which gives them a chance to get back in the race. Or does it?
No. 26 (up 3 spots): Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News
The Vikings magical late-game mojo is gone, replaced with critical costly mistakes and falling just short of finishing.
No. 25 (no change): Nate Davis, USA Today Sports
Why is offensive balance often a virtue? Consider one-win Minnesota, which has thrown more passes (204) than any team in the league while attempting the fewest runs (91). That calculus might have to change with All-Pro Justin Jefferson's hamstring injury forcing him to Injured Reserve.
No. 23 (up 1 spot): Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports
The Vikings were the worst 13-win team ever last season, by plenty of measures. This season, they're clearly the best 1-4 team. That's not even an argument. But 1-4 is a bad place to be in the NFL, and it's starting to feel like an unsatisfying end to the Kirk Cousins era, which has been unsatisfying before this season.