The Vikings had another statement win on Sunday.
Minnesota defeated the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons on the road at Mercedes-Benz Stadium 14-9 to secure its eighth consecutive victory.
The Vikings now hold the number one seed in the NFC with just four games to play, starting with another away game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Before we look ahead to the matchup, let’s take a look at the Power Rankings lists as the Vikings are tied with the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles for the best record in the NFL through 12 games (10-2).
The experts released their NFL Power Rankings lists heading into Week 14 on Tuesday morning.
Let’s see where Vikings rank after the victory in Atlanta and how their rank changed from Week 13:
3: (Same Spot) Elliott Harrison – NFL.com
For all those who complained last week that the Vikings were too high at No. 3 (many of whom were Steelers fans), hope you saw that quality road win in Atlanta. The Vikings' defense didn't produce a gaggle of sacks and interceptions -- rather, the unit put forth solid team defense while yielding just nine points (on three field goals). Also of note: Pat Shurmur and Case Keenum's use of the running backs, flipping the offensive script Sunday on the defending NFC champs, who did that to so many opponents last season.
Had he not gotten hurt, *Dalvin Cook *might have been the rookie to talk about in Minnesota, but how about center *Pat Elflein? He has started all 12 games for the Vikings and leads all rookies in snaps played.*
Case Keenum keeps proving to be the perfect complementary quarterback to their dominant defense.
This week: at Panthers
If Minnesota wins at Carolina on Sunday, a 14-2 season is looking like a strong possibility. The Vikings play vs. Cincinnati, at Green Bay and vs. Chicago in their final three games. My guess is most people haven’t yet thought of the Vikings as a possible 14-win team yet.
It's the little things Case Keenum does, like the fact no QB is harder to sack. He's gone down just nine times in 369 dropbacks (2.4 percent) this season.
2: (Up 2 Spots): MMQB Staff – Sports Illustrated
*Last Week’s Rank: 4*
*Points in MMQB Power Poll: 454*
*Highest-Place Vote: Second (7)*
*Lowest-Place Vote: Fifth*
*Last Week’s Result: Win at Atlanta, 14-9*
*Week 14 Opponent: at Carolina*
4: (Up 1 Spot): Mark Maske – Washington Post
Case Keenum is for real. He’s not quite an MVP candidate but he’s not that far away from that. The Vikings are for real. The defense was terrific Sunday in Atlanta. Minnesota is as good as anyone in the NFC. That guarantees nothing come playoff time. But there’s a chance the Vikings could win a Super Bowl while playing all their postseason games at home.
Last Week's Ranking: 3
Hopefully everyone realizes that this Vikings team is a legitimate Super Bowl contender. It's certainly checking all the boxes. Awesome defense? Check. Dynamic offense? Check. Strong running game? Check. Quality quarterback play? Check.
If you don't think this team can win the Super Bowl by now, you might as well give up and stop watching football. At least, don't watch the Vikings anymore.
Minnesota has an extremely balanced offense. It can control the line of scrimmage up front and make big plays in the run game and in the pass game — and please shut up about bringing in Teddy Bridgewater. Case Keenum is playing great. He had a bit of a down game (just 227 yards) against the Falcons and was still 25 of 30 with two touchdowns and zero turnovers.
The Minnesota defense, as we know, is special. It shut down the Atlanta passing attack and managed to do it without sacking *Matt Ryan. That just tells you how special the secondary can be in coverage. Heck, Julio Jones only had 24 yards against it.*
The Vikings are for real, and they're one of the best teams in football.
2: (Up 1 Spot) Manish Mehta – New York Daily News
Mike Zimmer's team is a riddle wrapped in a mystery. Case Keenum continues to [quiet] to naysayers. Defense evidently travels. Next up: A third consecutive road game against the Panthers.
Just when it looked like *things were coming together for the Falcons, the Vikings *came to town and imposed their will. Atlanta was held to just nine points and had a season-low 15 first downs.
3: (Up 1 Spot) Brad Biggs – Chicago Tribune
There’s talk of the Vikings possibly playing in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.
**3: (Up 1 Spot) Mike Florio – Pro Football Talk
When does “win one more and we’ll believe” finally become “OK, we believe”?