The Vikings eight-game winning streak came to an end on Sunday.
Minnesota was defeated on the road 31-24 by the Carolina Panthers.
The Vikings (10-3) currently hold the No. 2 seed in the NFC and would be in line for a first-round bye in the playoffs. Minnesota returns home this weekend to take on the Cincinnati Bengals in the first of three remaining games.
The experts released their NFL Power Rankings lists heading into Week 15 on Tuesday morning.
Let’s see where Vikings rank after the victory and how their rank changed from Week 14:
3: (Same Spot): Elliott Harrison – NFL.com
The Vikings remain in the No. 3 spot despite a tight road loss to the Panthers. Minnesota simply couldn't stop Cam Newton when it mattered. Actually, the Panthers QB posted putrid passing numbers, but those 62-yard runs kinda count, you know? All in all, Carolina put up 216 rushing yards on Mike Zimmer's defense. Still, I'm keeping the Vikings at No. 3 because that was their first loss since Oct. 1, and it came at the end of an extremely tough stretch where they played the Redskins on the road, returned home to face the Rams, then had three straight roadies against teams that currently boast winning records (Detroit, Atlanta and Carolina). So there you go, Minnesotans -- you happy? No fan base has complained about its team's ranking more than Vikes supporters, as evidenced by the YouTube comments of the "NFL Power Rankings" show. Honestly, at least half the section each week consists of Minnesota fans saying they're getting no respect and should be ranked higher. Well, in order to be No. 2, you gotta beat No. 8.
4: (Down 1 Spot): Mike Florio – Pro Football Talk
Glass half full, the Vikings never gave up on Sunday. Glass half empty, the injuries are piling up.
5: (Down 2 Spots): ESPN.com
There's no bigger breakthrough for the 2017 Vikings than Case Keenum. Even after Sunday's loss to the Panthers, Keenum still ranks third league-wide in Total QBR and has led Minnesota to an 8-3 record in his starts. He entered the season with a career 9-15 record as a starter.**
4: (Down 1 Spot): Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News
The Vikings had a big hiccup in Carolina as their main strengths — running the ball and stopping the run — didn't manifest. They can't afford any more lapses as they try to take advantage of the Eagles' situation and steal back the No. 1 seed.
This week: vs. Bengals
4: (Same Spot): Frank Schwab – Yahoo Sports
Nobody wants to see an injury, of course. However, the team that benefits the most from Carson Wentz’s torn ACL is this one. The Eagles would have likely won out against that remaining schedule with Wentz, but perhaps if [Nick] Foles stumbles the Vikings can steal the No. 1 seed. And while the Vikings defense is very good and might have beaten Wentz anyway, the most obvious statement of the season is the Vikings would rather see Nick Foles in January than Wentz. The NFC has some tough teams, and it won’t be easy, but there’s a possibility we’ll finally see a team play a Super Bowl in its home stadium.
Who would have suspected battle for home-field advantage in NFC might come down to whether Case Keenum could outgun Nick Foles down the stretch?
2 (Tie): (Same Spot?): MMQB Staff – Sports Illustrated
*Last Week’s Rank: 2*
*Points in MMQB Power Poll: 330*
*Highest-Place Vote: Second (6)*
*Lowest-Place Vote: Sixth*
*Last Week’s Result: Loss at Carolina, 31-24*
*Week 15 Opponent: vs. Cincinnati*
Case Keenum remains the starter at QB despite throwing two interceptions in the loss at Carolina. Keenum’s performance against the Panthers was an issue. So, too, were the performances of an offensive line that allowed Keenum to be sacked six times, and a defense that permitted the Panthers to run for 216 yards.
2: (Up 1 Spot) Chris Simms – Bleacher Report
*Last Week's Ranking: 3*
The Minnesota Vikings are still one of the best teams in the NFL. They've gone through a tough schedule in recent weeks: Rams, Falcons, Panthers. Did I expect them to go 3-0 in that stretch? No. Therefore, I don't think a loss in Carolina is cause for panic.
Case Keenum, who had two interceptions, has had better days. Vikings receivers dropped passes, and Minnesota never got the run game going. The defense had some untimely penalties as well.
When you have untimely penalties, have three turnovers and miss field goals on the road, it's hard to win. Yet, the Vikings had a tied ballgame in the fourth quarter before Cam Newton ripped off a long run to set up the winning score.
Make no mistake: The Vikings are still Super Bowl material.
4: (Down 2 Spots) Manish Mehta – New York Daily News
Case Keenum might be what we thought he was all along after all. The journeyman quarterback committed three turnovers (after having five in his first 11 starts) to help snap Minnesota's eight-game winning streak. How short of a leash does he have now?**
It wasn’t the greatest week for the teams at the top of the power rankings. Three of the teams in the top five a week ago — the Patriots, Vikings, and Rams — all lost in Week 14.
Playing three consecutive road games was tough, but going 2-1 in that stretch is impressive.
6: (Down 3 Spots) Brad Biggs – Chicago Tribune
Seemingly ageless DE Julius Peppers is up to 9.5 sacks. To think he considered retirement after last season.**