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NFL Power Rankings: Vikings Move Up Following Week 1

The Vikings are on to Week 2 of the season.

Minnesota defeated the Atlanta Falcons 28-12 on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium to open the 2019 slate.

The Vikings will hit the road to take on the Packers for an early battle for first place in the NFL North at Lambeau Field.

The experts released their Power Rankings lists heading into Week 2.

Here’s a look at where the Vikings rank:

7 (Up 5 Spots): Dan Hanzus – NFL.com

Pretty much a perfect start to the season for the Vikings. Suffocating defense, a punishing ground game, and Kirk Cousins asked to be a facilitator rather than hero. Cousins threw just 10 passes against the Falcons, as Minnesota coasted to the finish line after building up a 28-0 lead in the third quarter. The hype around Dalvin Cook this offseason was absolutely warranted: The third-year running back piled up 111 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries, looking very much like the missing piece for Minnesota's offense. Backup Alexander Mattison also ran with purpose for a Vikings team that finished with 172 yards on the ground. Safety Anthony Harris starred on D with two interceptions and a fumble recovery. This is a well-balanced team that is going to make noise if it can stay healthy.

8 (Up 6 Spots): Pete Prisco – CBS Sports

The defense really dominated against the Falcons and Dalvin Cook was special. That’s the Mike Zimmer formula for success.

12 (Up 4 Spots): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report

Last year, Minnesota had one of the worst rushing attacks in the league. But the Vikings racked up 172 yards and three touchdowns on 38 carries against the Falcons, which took pressure off Cousins.

Minnesota’s defense deserves some of the credit, too. Although the Vikings gave up 345 yards of offense, they forced three Falcons turnovers (including two Matt Ryan picks) and sacked Ryan four times.

“I’m still a little skeptical of these Vikings,” Gary Davenport said. “I have my doubts as to whether that throwback game script will hold up in the long term. But there’s no denying that Minnesota got the start to the season it wanted. The question now is whether the Vikings can keep it going next week at Lambeau.”

Brad Gagnon, on the other hand, is onboard with the run-first approach.

“Love the new offensive approach from Minnesota,” he said. “It can’t be easy to essentially take the ball away from your big-money quarterback, but the reality is Kirk Cousins is better used in a low-pressure role, and it appears the Vikings have smashmouth ingredients. We know they have the defense, and if they can keep winning like this, they’ll be a tough out in January.”

7 (Up 7 Spots): MMQB Staff – Sports Illustrated

Previous rank: 14

Points in poll: 251

Highest-place vote: 5 (1 voter)

Lowest-place vote: 10 (1 voter)

Last week’s result: Beat Atlanta, 28-12

This week: at Green Bay

Impressive win over Atlanta. Early showdown with division-rival Packers could set the tone for the season in the North.

7 (Up 5 Spots): Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News

Mike Zimmer has re-established the identity he wants. Smash with offense, with Dalvin Cook and the running game behind a stronger line. Smash with defense, with all their accomplished veteran playmakers on every level. That sure makes Kirk Cousins' job a lot easier, doesn't it?

3 (Up 2 Spots): Nate Davis – USA TODAY Sports

Suffocating defense and a relentless run game with QB Kirk Cousins almost in a complementary role — exactly the type of team that Mike Zimmer wants.

9 (Up 3 Spots) Courtney Cronin -– ESPN.com

8 (Up 3 Spots) Mike Florio -– Pro Football Talk

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