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NFL Power Rankings: Vikings Get Big Bump After 1st Win

The Vikings are 1-2 and looking to build off their first win of the season.

Minnesota continues a three-game homestand Sunday against Cleveland (2-1). Kickoff is set for noon (CT).

Here's a look at where the Vikings rank heading into Week 4:

No. 16 (up 8 spots): Dan Hanzus –

Vikings [Head Coach] Mike Zimmer called it the best offensive game of his Vikings tenure. Kirk Cousins led Minnesota on three touchdown drives in the first half, then engineered a trio of second-half field-goal marches that chewed up more than 20 minutes of game time in a 30-17 win over the Seahawks at raucous U.S. Bank Stadium. Cousins has been, to be blunt, one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL through three weeks. "It's been a different Kirk," wide receiver Adam Thielen said. "He's just locked in and on time, he's trusting it." Credit is due, both to the forever scrutinized Cousins and Klint Kubiak, a first-year offensive coordinator who has found an instant groove.

No. 22 (up 4 spots): Frank Schwab – Yahoo! Sports

Alexander Mattison had an eye-opening day, with 171 total yards. Dalvin Cook has some durability issues, and it seems the answer is to start having more of a shared backfield. They are both pretty good players.

No. 18 (up 8 spots): Pete Prisco – CBS Sports

They saved their season with an impressive home victory over the Seahawks. The offense is really clicking the past two weeks, but it was the improvement by the defense that will be key going forward.

No. 21 (up 4 spots): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report

The Minnesota Vikings entered Week 3 in desperate need of a win and short star tailback Dalvin Cook. The Vikings got that win against the Seahawks — and did so in large part because running back Alexander Mattison stepped up in a big way.

Mattison wasn't the only player for the Vikings who had a day against Seattle's struggling defense. Veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 323 yards and three scores, and young wideout Justin Jefferson abused the Seattle secondary to the tune of nine catches for 118 yards and a score.

But it was Mattison's 171 total yards on 32 touches that set the tone for the Vikings offense — and may have saved Minnesota's season.

Mind you, this is a Vikings team that fell in overtime to the Bengals in Week 1 and was a missed field goal from downing the Cardinals in Week 2.

Getting back to .500 won't be easy, though. Not with the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers coming up in the next three weeks.

View the best photos from the Vikings home opener against the Seahawks in Week 3 by Vikings team photographers.

No. 16 (up 8 spots): Conor Orr – Sports Illustrated

Here's what I like about the Vikings: Kirk Cousins' hot starts (we won't argue, for today, about his vaccine stance), Minnesota's offensive weaponry (Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, etc.), and the amount of young talent on the roster. The victory over the Seahawks — a team that traditionally haunts the Vikings — was impressive. Their losses (to the Bengals and Cardinals) were both close. I could see the Vikings on the playoff fringe, and I believe health — for Cousins, Cook, Thielen and so many others — will be the driving factor.

No. 23 (up 3 spots): Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News

The Vikings recovered from two close losses to good teams (Bengals, Cardinals) on the road to rout another quality team (Seahawks) at home. Kirk Cousins is playing well again with plenty of help from the running game.

No. 18 (up 7 spots): Nate Davis – USA TODAY Sports

Beating Seattle for the first time since 2009 ... without RB Dalvin Cook ... while starting a key three-game homestand might just have put the Vikes' teetering season back on track.

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Browns.

No. 20 (up 6 spots): Courtney Cronin –

Note: ESPN looked at how each team's quarterback is playing. ESPN Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin broke down Cousins' hot start.

Kirk Cousins has been lights out for the Vikings in the best three-game start to his career — eight passing touchdowns to zero interceptions and a 73.9% completion percentage. His fifth straight game with multiple passing touchdowns led Minnesota to its first win of the season versus Seattle, and he did it by capitalizing on his strengths. Cousins was 24-of-28 for 273 yards and three touchdowns when not pressured. (He has averaged 8.27 yards/attempt with no pressure in his career, fifth best in the NFL since he entered the league.) He dominated against the blitz. (Over the past three seasons, he has 26 TDs to two interceptions when being the blitzed.) And he continues to find success with Justin Jefferson, connecting on 20 of 30 passes for 254 yards and two TDs.

No. 18 (up 6 spots): Mike Florio – Pro Football Talk

The win over Seattle means nothing if they don't give the Browns everything they can handle.