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NFL Power Rankings: Vikings Nudge Up and Down During Bye Week

The Vikings have won six of their past seven games and are coming out of their bye week as the NFL enters Week 13.

Minnesota moved to (8-3) following a comeback victory over the Denver Broncos at U.S. Bank Stadium during Week 11 and holds the same record with the Green Bay Packers (8-3) at the top of the NFC North.

The experts released their Power Rankings lists heading into Week 13 where the Vikings will take on the Seattle Seahawks (9-2) on Monday Night Football at CenturyLink Field.

Here’s a look at where the Vikings rank:

6 (Up 1 Spot): Dan Hanzus – NFL.com

The Vikings hit the bye at 8-3, including a 6-1 mark since Week 5. They're legit Super Bowl contenders in the NFC, and their offense has been a key part of their success, no matter what all the Kirk Cousins Haters at your Thanksgiving dinner table tell you. Dalvin Cook's admission into The Superstar Club has unlocked hidden potential in Minnesota's attack, but Cousins has absolutely held up his end of the bargain in the second season of his three-year pact with the Vikings. _With Cook gashing defenses on the ground and Cousins carving up secondaries through the air, the Vikings_have piled up 88 "big plays" — which NFL Media Research constitutes as runs of 10-plus yards or passes of 20-plus yards — this season. The Vikes led the NFL in that category entering Week 12.

6 (Up 1 Spot): Frank Schwab – Yahoo! Sports

The Vikings got to rest, and watch the Packers get blown out to give them a share of first place in the NFC North. That’s a heck of a bye week.

7 (Down 1 Spot): Pete Prisco – CBS Sports

They come off their bye with a tough road game at Seattle. It really is a big game for Kirk Cousins.

7 (Up 1 Spot): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report

In most seasons, the 8-3 Minnesota Vikings would be considered among the leading Super Bowl contenders in the conference. But in a year where the NFC is positively stacked with good teams, the Vikings entered Week 12 as the No. 6 seed if the playoffs began today.

There are reasons for a measure of concern with the Vikes. Minnesota had to stage a furious rally last week to defeat a flawed Denver Broncos team, and the Vikings have struggled away from U.S. Bank Stadium — all three losses came outdoors.

However, they also have the makings of a formidable squad. Quarterback Kirk Cousins is playing well. The cadre of skill-position talent at his disposal is deep and talented. The defense has talent at all three levels.

Minnesota has little margin for error given its road struggles. It's much easier to imagine this team makes a deep playoff run if it can catch the Packers in the NFC North than if it has to travel on Wild Card Weekend.

7 (Same Spot): The MMQB Staff – Sports Illustrated

Previous rank: 7

Points in poll: 210

Highest-place vote: 5 (2 voters)

Lowest-place vote: 8 (3 voters)

Last week’s result: Bye

This week: at Seattle (Mon.)

And without having to lift a finger, the Vikings are back in the mix for a first-round bye. They can improve their Plan B path through the playoffs with a win over the Wild Card-leading Seahawks on Monday night.

7 (Same Spot): Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News

The Vikings enjoyed their bye with the Packers falling into a virtual tie with them. Now they have to keep up their strong offensive play around red-hot Kirk Cousins right away with Russell Wilson and the Seahawks next on the schedule.

9 (Down 1 Spot): Nate Davis – USA TODAY Sports

They'll be hard pressed to cough up two-game lead for final NFC playoff berth, but two West Coast trips in next three weeks don't help.

6 (Up 1 Spot) Courtney Cronin – ESPN.com

What they're thankful for: A revamped offense.

Mike Zimmer waxes poetic anytime Gary Kubiak is mentioned. Kirk Cousins has been lights out since Week 5, and the Vikings potent rushing attack is a threat no matter who they're playing. The overhaul of Minnesota's offense from a year ago has the Vikings with the league's eighth-best unit, putting up numbers that rival some of the NFL's top playoff contenders. The offense has carried its weight (and bailed out the defense, too) through the majority of the season, which is a welcome departure from years past.

6 (Up 1 Spot) Peter Botte – New York Post

The Vikings sat back on their couches during their bye week and moved into a first-place tie in the NFC North with the Packers getting smoked Sunday night against the Niners. Kirk Cousins has totaled 18 touchdown passes over Minnesota’s last seven games, winning six of them entering this week’s NFC showdown with Seattle.

6 (Up 1 Spot) Mike Florio – Pro Football Talk

A win in Seattle, as unlikely as it would be, would propel the Vikings into the [postseason] bye-week conversation.

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