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NFL Power Rankings: Vikings Hold Steady After Win Streak Ends

The Vikings saw their three-game win streak come to an end Sunday against the Cowboys.

Minnesota is now 4-6 with 6 games remaining and faces an uphill climb to make the postseason.

The Vikings are at home for Sunday's game against the 4-7 Panthers.

Here's a look at where the Vikings rank before Week 12:

No. 16 (same spot): Dan Hanzus –

On Sunday against the Cowboys, Kirk Cousins played his best game of the season, Dalvin Cook ran for 100 yards, Justin Jefferson had another long touchdown and Adam Thielen added two scores of his own ... but it all went for naught, because Mike Zimmer's defense took a huge step back. The Cowboys have been one of football's worst offenses since Dak Prescott's season-ending ankle injury, but Andy Dalton had no issues finding open receivers, while the Minnesota run defense allowed Dallas to pile up 180 yards on the ground. The Vikings kicked away a golden opportunity to move within a game of the Cardinals in the NFC Wild Card race and now put themselves in a position where they might need to win out to extend their season. Not an ideal circumstance.

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

No. 18 (down 2 spots): Frank Schwab – Yahoo! Sports

Kirk Cousins threw for 300 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions (140.1 passer rating), and [the Vikings] still lost to a 2-7 Cowboys team at home. That's really, really hard to do. According to Football Perspective, that's just the fifth time in NFL history a quarterback has posted a rating of at least 140 with 30 pass attempts and his team lost.

No. 16 (same spot): Pete Prisco – CBS Sports

Losing to the Cowboys at home is a damning blow to their playoff chances. The defense let them down in a big way.

No. 19 (down 1 spot): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report

Over the past several weeks, the Minnesota Vikings have built up a decent head of steam. Sunday's tilt with the Dallas Cowboys offered the Vikings a chance to win a fourth straight game and get back to .500.

Instead, many of the same issues that plagued the Vikings during the team's 1-5 start manifested again in a three-point loss.

Offensively, the Vikings played well. Dalvin Cook had another 100-yard rushing effort, quarterback Kirk Cousins had a nearly flawless 314-yard, three-touchdown effort and Adam Thielen caught eight passes for 123 yards and two scores.

But Cousins and Cook each lost costly fumbles, and the Minnesota defense struggled mightily, allowing 376 total yards, 31 points and conversions on five of 11 third-down attempts.

No. 16 (up 1 spot): Conor Orr (The MMQB) – Sports Illustrated

The Vikings had virtually no margin for error if they were going to make the playoffs, and the home loss to Dallas likely does them in. Mike Zimmer's defense has overachieved this year considering the turnover at cornerback and loss of Danielle Hunter, but they gave up too many plays in the fourth quarter of that Cowboys loss.

No. 19 (down 1 spot): Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News

What was that? The Vikings overlooked the resting Cowboys and their pass defense went back to being burned all over the field, all throughout the game. It's such a waste, given what Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson are all doing offensively.

No. 21 (down 3 spots): Nate Davis – USA TODAY Sports

Decent chance WR Justin Jefferson can become sixth Minnesota player named offensive rookie of the year during the Super Bowl era, which would be most of any franchise.

No. 19 (same spot): Courtney Cronin –

Note: ESPN's pollsters looked at what each team is thankful for this time of year. Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin went with Minnesota's linebacker duo of Eric Kendricks and Eric Wilson.

These two are the glue that has held the Vikings defense together. Kendricks is having another All-Pro-type season while Wilson has emerged in the absence of Anthony Barr and leads all NFL linebackers with three interceptions. Minnesota's defense has experienced constant ups and downs given injuries and the youth/inexperience on the defensive line and in the secondary. Kendricks and Wilson are critical factors in maintaining stability, and Wilson's play on special teams (he blocked an extra point against Dallas) is worth noting, too.

No. 18 (down 2 spots): Mike Florio – Pro Football Talk

It was fun while it lasted.


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