The Vikings have everything right in front of them in the next couple of weeks.
Minnesota is now 5-3-1, and the team will take on the Chicago Bears (6-3) on Sunday Night Football at Soldier Field for first place in the NFC North.
The Vikings will play a second consecutive game in front of a national audience in Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers, again appearing on Sunday Night Football on Nov. 25.
Minnesota was off this past weekend for its bye week. as both the Bears and Packers defeated their opponents.
Chicago defeated the Detroit Lions 34-22 at home on Sunday as second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky picked up his first career division victory. Green Bay defeated the Miami Dolphins 31-12.
Experts from across the internet updated their power rankings, heading into the Vikings prime-time matchup.
Last Week's Rank: 8 – **Elliot Harrison, NFL.com**
The Vikings were off last week, providing a couple of stars with a chance to catch their breath and ease back into the swing of things. Minnesota has been without the services of Dalvin Cook and Everson Griffen for the bulk of the season. Both will be significant factors in determining whether the Vikings can survive a robust NFC playoff field. Cook only received 10 carries against the Lions in Week 9. Expect that load to fatten up real quick.
Last Week's Rank: 8 – **ESPN.com**
Defining stat: 25.7. The Vikings aren't far off from reaching the all-time mark for defensive efficiency on third down (25.2) that they set last season. Minnesota's defense ranks No. 1 in third-down stops (just 26 of a total 101 allowed), a testament to the effectiveness of a pass rush that has generated 31 sacks, which is tied with three other teams for first in the NFL. Nine of those sacks came on third down. – Courtney Cronin
Last Week's Rank: 8 – **YAHOO! Sports, Frank Schwab**
Who would have thought that Minnesota's game on Sunday at Chicago might be the biggest in the NFC North this season? That's a pretty good Sunday night matchup.
Last Week's Rank: 8 – **Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk**
A dark horse Super Bowl contender still lingers in the NFC.
Last Week's Rank: 8 - **Bleacher Report Staff**
It's already been a wild ride for the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings entered the 2018 season as a Super Bowl favorite in many eyes and the No. 1 team in these power rankings. The latter lasted as long as it took the Vikings to lose at home to Buffalo. After losing to the Rams the following week, Minnesota ended September a disappointing 1-2-1.
However, of late, the Vikings appear to be figuring it out. Minnesota's 15-point win over the Lions in Week 9 was the Vikings' fourth win in five games, with the only blemish being a Week 8 setback against the Saints. Three of those wins were by double digits.
Even more importantly, as the Vikings prepare to meet the Bears in Chicago in a huge NFC North showdown, one of their best offensive playmakers is back in the fold. Tailback Dalvin Cook returned to action in the Lions game after a lengthy absence, gaining 109 total yards on 14 touches.
With the additional week off to rest, Cook should be at or near 100 percent for the Bears game.
Last Week's Rank: 8 – **_Sporting News_, Vinnie Iyer**
The Vikings during their bye did not get the help they needed to sneak back into first place, but their running game and defense both are built to serve them better down the stretch. Expect a lot more Dalvin Cook to take the pressure off Kirk Cousins.
Last Week's Rank: 8 – **Pete Prisco, CBS Sports**
Vikings come off their bye with a monster game against the Bears. First place is at stake.
Last Week's Rank: 8 – **Nate Davis,** **_USA TODAY_** **Sports**
Better be rested out of bye because they only have two home games before Christmas. First stop — at Chicago in battle for NFC North lead.
Last Week's Rank: 8 – **_Sports Illustrated, MMQB Staff_**
Points in poll: 213
Highest-place vote: Fourth (2)
Lowest-place vote: Ninth (2)
Last week: Bye
Next week: at Chicago
Rank: 7 - **theScore**
Previous Rank: 8
Coming off their bye, the Vikings' time to pounce is now with a prime-time game against the division-leading Bears. - Srinivasan