The Vikings will try to get back to .500 on Sunday in the first Border Battle of the season.
Minnesota earned a 27-20 road win against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 10 and will now host Green Bay in Week 11. Kickoff is at noon (CT) from U.S. Bank Stadium.
Here's a look at where the Vikings rank heading into Week 11:
No. 14 (up 7 spots): Dan Hanzus – NFL.com
The Vikings offense needed to start taking chances again. The attack had become increasingly conservative in recent weeks, with Kirk Cousins repeatedly throwing short of the sticks. That changed in Sunday's win over the Chargers, a critical victory in which Justin Jefferson re-established himself as the most explosive playmaker on the team. Jefferson was uncoverable at times, finishing with nine catches for 143 yards, including the crucial 27-yard catch late in the fourth quarter that helped Minnesota run out the clock to seal the win. Per Next Gen Stats, Cousins was 5-for-6 for 114 yards when targeting Jefferson more than 10 yards downfield. It's a trend that must continue with a critical showdown against the Packers on tap.
No. 15 (up 4 spots): Frank Schwab – Yahoo! Sports
Justin Jefferson needs more targets. The Vikings are 3-1 in games in which he gets 10 targets, and should have been 4-0 (the loss was at Arizona when Minnesota missed a 37-yard field goal at the end). That means they're 1-4 in games that Jefferson doesn't get double-digit targets. The one win was a last-second win over the winless Lions. This is not a coincidental trend: The Vikings first priority each week needs to be getting Jefferson the ball as often as possible, because he's one of the best receivers in the NFL. It shouldn't be that hard to figure out.
Angeles Chargers. This game is streaming live on the Yahoo Sports mobile
No. 19 (up 2 spots): Pete Prisco – CBS Sports
That was an impressive road victory over the Chargers. But now they face a big one at home against the Packers. It's a big game for Kirk Cousins.
No. 17 (up 5 spots): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report
For the Minnesota Vikings, the theme of the 2021 season had been close but no cigar. Over the first nine weeks of the year, Minnesota played seven games that were decided by one score. The Vikings were 2-5 in those games.
Sunday's trip to Los Angeles was another close one. Only this time, Minnesota was able to seal the deal.
Thanks to 294 passing yards and two scores from quarterback Kirk Cousins and 118 total yards from running back Dalvin Cook, the Vikings earned a seven-point victory that got Minnesota to within a game of .500 for the season.
After the game, Head Coach Mike Zimmer talked up the resiliency of a squad that has gone down to the wire just about every week this season.
"I told the team it takes a lot of courage to fight through adversity when everybody's shooting arrows at you," Zimmer said. "They came here to work and they fought like crazy all week, like they always have, and it finally paid off."
The win keeps the Vikings in the hunt for a Wild Card spot in the NFC, but there's no time for rest or attaboys. On Sunday, the Vikes play host to the NFC North-leading Packers.
View the Vikings in "Big Head Mode" as the team defeated the Chargers in Week 10 at SoFI Stadium.
No. 17 (up 1 spot): MMQB Staff – Sports Illustrated
This week, the Vikings ended up on the right side of a one-score game. Mike Zimmer clearly listened to The MMQB Monday Morning Podcast's questioning of his decision not to go for the win at the end of regulation last week against Baltimore and this week went for it on a fourth-and-2 to ice a big win against the Chargers that keeps them in the playoff mix.
No. 17 (up 3 spots): Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News
The Vikings are doing better with the one-possession games and their offense is at its best when Dalvin Cook's power running and Justin Jefferson's downfield receiving set the tone. They are developing back into pesky NFC Wild Card hopefuls.
No. 11 (up 7 spots): Nate Davis – USA TODAY Sports
Eight of their nine games have been decided by one score, but Minnesota has won three of the past five to close the gap to a half-game for the final NFC playoff spot.
View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Nov. 23, 2021.
No. 19 (up 1 spot): Courtney Cronin – ESPN.com
Note: ESPN gave their pick on the most important game left on the schedule. ESPN Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin went with Sunday's home game against Green Bay.
The Vikings are currently No. 8 in the NFC playoff picture and only a half-game behind seventh-seeded Carolina — who they beat in Week 6. At 4-5, the Vikings must string together wins to stay in the fight for one of the final two Wild Card spots. Plus, remember when Aaron Rodgers told Chicago Bears fans. "I own you"? He has an even more compelling case against Minnesota, having thrown 50 touchdown passes to seven interceptions in his career — a 7-1 ratio that is the best by any QB versus a single opponent, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The Vikings are far behind the Packers in the NFC North pecking order, but games like this always carry more weight.
No. 15 (up 6 spots): Mike Florio – Pro Football Talk
The dream of a 9-8 finish, the No. 7 seed, and a quick exit from the postseason survives.