The Vikings are heading into the NFL Playoffs as the No. 6 seed in the NFC.
As Minnesota gets set to take on the New Orleans Saints this weekend in the Wild Card round, let's check in on this week's NFL power rankings:
11 (Down 2 Spots): Dan Hanzus – NFL.com
With nothing to play for in Week 17's loss to the Bears, the Vikings made the prudent move in resting their starters, but let's be honest here: No team in The Final 12 enters January with less juice than Minnesota. If nothing else, Sunday was an opportunity to wash out some of the bad taste of that egregiously awful Monday Night Football performance against the Packers. They chose a different path, and now they'll travel to New Orleans to face a Saints team that's a mortal lock to stack points on Sunday. Sean Payton's squad averaged 40 points per game in its final four contests of the season. Contrast that with the Vikings, who managed seven first downs against Green Bay in their final regular-season game of consequence. Sports are weird, and it's certainly possible Kirk Cousins and friends emerge from their stupor to go punch-for-punch with the mighty Saints ... but you'd understand if doubt has crept into the building.
9 (Same Spot): Frank Schwab – Yahoo! Sports
Dalvin Cook should be back this week and that's obviously huge for the Vikings offense. They have a really tough assignment playing at a 13-3 Saints team in the first round, but Minnesota is as good of a No. 6 seed as you'll find.
8 (Same Spot): Pete Prisco – CBS Sports
It's all about Kirk Cousins in the playoffs. Can he win a big game? It won't be easy at New Orleans.
8 (Same Spot): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report
Week 17 Result:Lost vs. Chicago 21-19
Minnesota's Week 17 loss to the rival Bears meant nothing. After last week's home loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Vikings were locked into the NFC's No. 6 seed and knew they would be hitting the road in the Wild Card round.
The larger question is whether the Vikings will be able to do anything in the postseason. And frankly, the odds aren't good.
This season, the Vikings have played three games on the road against teams that will still be playing next weekend: the Green Bay Packers in Week 2, the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9 and the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13.
Minnesota lost all three games.
"The Vikings have no shortage of talent, whether it's Dalvin Cook and Stefon Diggs on offense or Danielle Hunter and Harrison Smith on defense," Gary Davenport said. "But Minnesota just doesn't seem to be able to get over the hump on the road against good teams. Kirk Cousins is a convenient scapegoat for those struggles, but it goes beyond just one player. Minnesota's season will end this weekend."
9 (Same Spot): Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News
The Vikings beat only one playoff team (the Eagles) all season, so they probably will be overmatched quickly. At least they have a good foundational defense with their front seven and an effective power running game with a healthy Dalvin Cook.
The big questions are about Kirk Cousins rediscovering his career-best efficiency and the downfield pass defense holding up in the playoffs. The Saints are a bad matchup for them in the Wild Card round.
10 (Same Spot): Nate Davis – USA TODAY Sports
Not to worry, Kirk Cousins, your playoff opener is at [12:05 p.m. CT] on Sunday ... not Monday night. Also, Dalvin Cook should resurface.
8 (Same Spot) Courtney Cronin – ESPN.com
Most notable 2010s event:Signing Kirk Cousins in free agency, March 15, 2018
Two months after losing the 2017 NFC Championship, the Vikings signed Kirk Cousins to a historic three-year, $84 million, fully guaranteed contract. The Vikings were searching for a franchise quarterback for years, and Cousins was viewed as the missing piece toward its ultimate goal. While the Vikings have been careful as to not utter the exact phrase "Kirk Cousins was brought to Minnesota to win a Super Bowl," the QB is very much viewed as this franchise's way to bridge the gap from where it left off in its quest for a Lombardi trophy.