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NFL Power Rankings: Vikings Crack Top 5 Heading into Week 3

Last week the Vikings opened the gates at U.S. Bank Stadium with a gut-wrenching victory over the Green Bay Packers. This week Minnesota will head on the road to take on the Carolina Panthers, the defending NFC Champions.

Let's see where the experts rank the Vikings on their power rankings lists heading into Week 3.

*Boy, that Kyle Rudolph sure made Vikings fans (and Cris Collinsworth) light up like it was 1998 and Randall Cunningham was firing moon shots to Randy Moss. The former Oklahoma standout wowed everybody. The man who deserves more credit: Norv Turner, Minnesota's grizzled veteran of offensive coordinating. Old Norval has pulled this off before — once getting newly acquired Bernie Kosar ready to play in two days of practice with the Cowboys after the Browns had let the quarterback go. Turner won that game back in 1993, too, with Kosar posting a 109.0 passer rating on his 21 throws after relieving Jason Garrett (who was starting in place of an injured Troy Aikman). Actually, Dallas went on to win the Super Bowl that year. Of course, Aikman only missed two games. Can the Vikings pull off the feat with Bradford starting the rest of the season? *

Vikings #7****

Maybe Sam Bradfordis good? Or maybe Stefon Diggs is just that good. Bradford was [9-for-11] for 182 yards when targeting Diggs in his Vikings debut. Bradford will need another big game from Diggs to win at Carolina in Week 3.

Vikings #7**ESPN**

Vikings #5**SB Nation**

No Stefon Diggs? No Adrian Peterson for part of Week 2? No problem. The Vikings have shown exceptional resilience in the wake of two crushing injuries, and they have new quarterback Sam Bradford (and their defense) to thank. Minnesota's victory over the Packers was a statement win and one that has moved them up as the top team in the NFC. Hopefully Peterson can return from his torn meniscus quickly.

 Vikings #4**FOX Sports**

In a new stadium. With a new quarterback. Against an old division rival.

Minnesota had plenty on the line Sunday night. The Vikings responded with a masterful defensive performance that places them in the NFC North driver's seat for now.

Aaron Rodgers' deep passing created plenty of penalties, but not much else. Coach Mike Zimmer's defense swarmed No. 12 before he could pull off something spectacular. Then, it forced him into a few uncharacteristically bad throws.

Sam Bradford looked up to the task of carrying this team. He might have to if Adrian Peterson's knee injury proves serious.

Next opponent:* Carolina Panthers*

Looking ahead:* Bradford looked at home in this offense. He won't be nearly as comfortable versus Carolina's front.*

Vikings #6**Bleacher Report**

*Talk about deep (guts). QB Sam Bradford, who barely speaks Minnesota's language, shredded Green Bay without help from ineffective and injured Adrian Peterson. *

Vikings #4**USA Today**

We'll see where the Sam Bradford era goes, but the first night of it was really good. And it seems obvious that Stefon Diggs is a clear No. 1 target for him to throw to.

Vikings #9**Yahoo Sports**

*Without Adrian Peterson, things will be a lot tougher. But trading to get Sam Bradford was the right move. *

Vikings #11**CBS Sports**

Remember when this season was supposed to be all about Teddy Bridgewater's ability to develop into a reliable QB to complement the running of Adrian Peterson and the defense? Now Bridgewater is out for the season, and Peterson has a torn meniscus in his right knee. The Vikings are fortunate that they were able to trade for QB Sam Bradford and even more fortunate that he played so well Sunday night. The offense now could revolve around Bradford and WR Stefon Diggs.

Vikings #5Washington Post

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