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NFL Power Rankings: Where Do the Vikings Rank Heading into Week 1?

The time has finally come.

The Vikings will take on the Atlanta Falcons at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday to open the 2019 regular season.

The experts released their Power Rankings lists heading into the NFL's 100th season on Tuesday morning.

Here's a look at where the Vikings rank:

12: Elliot Harrison – NFL.com

A quick recap of Kirk Cousins' debut season with the Vikings, generally remembered as a bust: 16 starts (fourth straight season without missing game), 70.1 percent completion (career best), 4,298 yards (second-most of his career), 30 TDs (career best), 10 INTs (fewest in his four years as a starter), 99.7 passer rating (second-best). Yes, counting numbers don't tell the whole story of a quarterback, but that's not bad! (Yeah, yeah: Cousins' 5-25 career record against winning teams is bad, but let's set that aside for the time being.) In Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, Cousins has two Pro Bowl-caliber wide receivers. In Dalvin Cook, he has a talented young running back who looks primed for a breakout season. In Gary Kubiak and Kevin Stefanski, Cousins has an impressive brain trust behind the scenes. If the Vikings get improved offensive line play, they have the potential to field a top-five offense this season. Top three if you're feeling frisky. No. 1 if you're fearless. Skollllllllll.

14: Pete Prisco – CBS Sports

The defense will be back to its 2017 form, and I am a big believer in Dalvin Cook. But can Kirk Cousins win big games?

16: NFL Staff – Bleacher Report

At this point a year ago, the Minnesota Vikings were the No. 1-ranked team in these rankings.

That worked out not even a little.

By now there's plenty written about Minnesota's disappointing 2018 season. Quarterback Kirk Cousins put up decent stats but came up short in big moments. With tailback Dalvin Cook banged up for much of the season, Minnesota's run game was among the worst in the league.

This year's Minnesota team is essentially the same as that 8-7-1 club that missed the playoffs, but there are a couple differences that could loom large. The biggest is a healthy Cook, which should go a long way toward providing offensive balance. A healthy, motivated Everson Griffen opposite Danielle Hunter at defensive end should boost a pass rush that was hit-or-miss at times in 2018.

The key, though, is Cousins. If he plays like the quarterback the team thought it was getting when it handed him a fully guaranteed $84 million contract, Minnesota could challenge for the NFC North crown.

If he goes MIA in big games again, we'll see a repeat disappointment — and possibly some big changes in the Twin Cities.

14: MMQB Staff – Sports Illustrated

Previous rank: 15

Points in poll: 208

Highest-place vote: 8 (1)

Lowest-place vote: 16 (2)

2018 season result: 8-7-1, second place in NFC North

Week 1 matchup: vs. Falcons

If the Vikings can return to 2017 form — and snap the regression they saw last year — the team could be a contender in the NFC.

12: Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News

The NFC North will be the NFL's best division in 2019, and no one will be shocked to see Packers, Vikings or Bears win it. Kirk Cousins did his best with what he had last season, offensive line- and play-calling- wise. He will get a boost from upgrades up front and a healthy Dalvin Cook. The defense is getting longer in the tooth, but it still has plenty of bite.

5: Nate Davis – USA TODAY Sports

If you weren't excited about them heading into preseason, maybe now-healthy RB Dalvin Cook's 85-yard TD run changed your mind?

10: Mark Maske – Washington Post

Kirk Cousins needs to do more than just post empty numbers in Year 2 in Minnesota. He needs to make the big throws in clutch moments to win games. He needs to avoid the colossal mistakes. He needs to find a way to beat competent teams. In short, he needs to be the quarterback the Vikings paid him to be.

12: Courtney Cronin -– ESPN.com

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