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NFL Power Rankings: Vikings Make Massive Leap Entering Bye Week

The Vikings will get some well-deserved time off this weekend.

Minnesota likely needs the break after a chaotic six weeks that have led to a 3-3 record.

Here's a look at where the Vikings rank heading into Week 7:

No. 14 (up 1 spot): Dan Hanzus – NFL.com

The Vikings have no idea how to play a normal game. For the second straight week, Mike Zimmer's team blew a two-score lead in the final minutes against an inferior opponent, and for the second straight week, Minnesota managed to survive an epic near collapse. Greg Joseph set off a celebration with a long field goal in Week 5; on Sunday, it was Kirk Cousins' 27-yard dime to K.J. Osborn to seal a 34-28 overtime win over the Panthers. The Vikings are strange. They feel like a team that can beat anyone ... or lose to anyone. As such, 3-3 feels about right heading into their bye. Minnesota is inconsistent, maddening ... and intriguing.

No. 16 (up 9 spots): Frank Schwab – Yahoo! Sports

The Vikings are the NFL team that is a few plays from being 1-5 and a few from being 6-0. Every game but their win over the Seahawks has been tight in the final minutes. You can make a good argument that the Vikings are secretly pretty good, but it would be nice if they weren't trying to blow every game.

No. 15 (up 7 spots): Pete Prisco – CBS Sports

They've won two straight to get to 3-3 after beating the Panthers in overtime. The offense got back on track after a few so-so games, which is a good sign.

No. 22 (up 1 spot): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report

It hasn't been an especially attractive start to the season for the Minnesota Vikings. But after outlasting the Carolina Panthers in overtime in Week 6, the Vikings have rebounded from a 1-3 start to get back to .500 and in a tie for second place in the NFC North.

The engine for Sunday's win was a Vikings offense that piled up a whopping 571 yards. Quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 373 yards and three scores, while running back Dalvin Cook gouged the Panthers for 140 yards on 29 carries.

Head Coach Mike Zimmer told reporters after the game that he thought the latter played a big part in the former's success against the Panthers.

It was an impressive offensive effort, and the Minnesota defense played one of its better games of the year heading into the bye week. But there's still plenty to tighten up over the off week. The Vikes face a brutal four-game gauntlet (Dallas, at Baltimore, at the Chargers, Green Bay) when the team returns to action [in Week 8].

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Nov. 23, 2021.

No. 13 (up 7 spots): Gary Gramling – Sports Illustrated

I don't know why they insist on being so conservative on offense, keeping games close that shouldn't be close — maybe Mike Zimmer just needs to feel something again. But at this point, the Vikings are a coin flip on a weekly basis, and a few strategic tweaks from being a 10-win team.

No. 16 (up 7 spots): Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News

The Vikings have three OK wins (Lions, Panthers, Seahawks) to balance out three tough losses (Bengals, Cardinals, Browns) in a difficult early schedule. They get a Week 7 bye before they face the Cowboys, Ravens, Chargers and Packers (yikes) over the next month.

No. 14 (up 4 spots): Nate Davis – USA TODAY Sports

They've returned to relevance after winning three of four. They could graduate to legitimately dangerous once a running game that has the fewest TDs (2) in the league starts humming.

No. 16 (up 7 spots): Courtney Cronin – ESPN.com

Note: ESPN gave a current confidence rating compared to what it was in Week 1. ESPN Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin, who gave the Vikings a 5.0 rating to start the season, said the current rating is a 4.5.

It's difficult to figure out what this Vikings team is. In Week 2, they took Arizona, the league's only remaining undefeated team, to the wire in a 34-33 loss. It was the only game in which Kyler Murray has thrown two interceptions. Weeks later, they played down and allowed a winless Detroit to hang around until the final moment, and then they did the same with Carolina in Week 6. The Vikings have done good things with terrific quarterback play from Kirk Cousins, but until they prove themselves in the five-game stretch they have coming out of the bye, it's difficult to consider them a sure thing.

No. 15 (up 1 spot): Mike Florio – Pro Football Talk

The next two games (Cowboys, Ravens) will go a long way toward determining whether this team can get to the playoffs.

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