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NFL Power Rankings: Inconsistent Vikings Rise Again After Chaotic Win

The Vikings are 6-7 following a Week 14 win.

Minnesota is now in the midst of a long week before it travels to Chicago for a Monday Night Football tilt in Week 15. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. (CT) from Soldier Field.

Here's a look at where the Vikings rank heading into Week 15:

No. 17 (up 2 spots): Dan Hanzus – NFL.com

Why can't the Vikings just be normal? It's a simple question with a complicated, perhaps unknowable, answer. The Vikings jumped out to a 29-0 third-quarter lead at home against the Steelers on Thursday Night Football, and somehow still ended up playing another game that came down to the final snap. Credit the Vikings' defense for getting that last stop, but it's become obvious that Mike Zimmer's team is affected by the knowledge that it always lets opponents back into games. It's become the Vikings DNA, a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it's aging the entire state of Minnesota in dog years. Said Zimmer: "That team that played in the first half could probably beat anybody. That team that played in the second half could probably get beat by anybody."

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

No. 19 (up 3 spots): Frank Schwab – Yahoo! Sports

The Vikings aren't dead yet. In a bad NFC Wild Card race, they're actually very much alive. The problem is, do you trust the Vikings to not blow games down the stretch? They tried their best to screw up that Steelers win last week.

No. 18 (up 3 spots): Pete Prisco – CBS Sports

They always seem to make it interesting in the end. But they found a way against the Steelers last Thursday, which keeps them in the playoff mix.

No. 20 (up 1 spot): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report

The Minnesota Vikings played arguably their most dominant half of football Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They then turned around and let the Steelers right back into the game, which speaks to the problems they've had this season.

Running back Dalvin Cook gashed Pittsburgh for over 200 rushing yards, but quarterback Kirk Cousins completed less than half of his passes. The Vikings completely shut down the Steelers offense in the first half, but they allowed touchdowns on three straight drives in the second half.

Linebacker Anthony Barr told reporters afterward that all of the close games are taking a toll on his psyche, but he's glad to be on the right side of one after last week's crushing loss to Detroit.

"It is frustrating having to come down to the last second. It's taken a few years of my life this season, but it's good to be on this side of a close one," Barr said.

The Vikings have a chance to get back to .500 next week against the rival Bears. But with the Rams and Packers on the schedule after that, making a playoff push will be equal parts difficult and unlikely.

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Jan. 5, 2022.

No. 20 (up 3 spots): Conor Orr – Sports Illustrated

Mike Zimmer's defense blew a last-second touchdown to the Lions and nearly blew one of the largest leads in NFL history on Thursday night. A team once destined for the seventh seed needs help, and much more consistency, down the stretch.

No. 20 (up 2 spots): Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News

The Vikings had a statement win mostly against the Steelers with Dalvin Cook returning to dominate in the running game and Kirk Cousins avoiding another total fourth-quarter meltdown. They need to avoid the Bears road trap game on Monday night, once again in prime time in Week 15.

No. 18 (up 3 spots): Nate Davis – USA TODAY Sports

WR Justin Jefferson's 2,688 receiving yards since the start of 2020 ... are second to no one. The Jefferson-Ja'Marr Chase debate might just rage for a few years.

No. 21 (up 2 spots): Courtney Cronin – ESPN.com

Note: ESPN looked at the league-wide rankings for offense, defense and special teams. ESPN Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin analyzed Minnesota's offense (10th), defense (26th) and special teams (20th).

Minnesota has played in 10 consecutive one-score games, which is reflected in its defensive FPI rating. The Vikings have been beaten four times on their opponent's final drive, and they nearly allowed the largest comeback in NFL regular-season history by almost squandering a 29-point lead against Pittsburgh. The offense has been a top-10 unit in large part due to Kirk Cousins' league-best TD-interception ratio (27-5) and the production it has seen from Justin Jefferson after Week 10. The Vikings struggles to put together a complete game on offense and defense (along with some ups and downs in the kicking game) have them on the outside looking in at the playoffs entering their final four games

No. 16 (up 6 spots): Mike Florio – Pro Football Talk

They still have a decent chance to blow a double-digit lead and lose in the Wild Card round.

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