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NFL Power Rankings: Vikings Hold Steady in Top 5

The Vikings (6-1) returned from their bye week with a 34-26 win over the Cardinals.

Riding a five-game win streak, Minnesota holds a firm lead in the NFC North standings.

Here's a look at where the Vikings rank heading into Week 9:

No. 7 (no change): Dan Hanzus –

Patrick Peterson waited a long time to get his opportunity for revenge on the Cardinals. And while the veteran cornerback didn't snag the two interceptions he'd promised all week against his former team, he was active and extremely engaged throughout Sunday's 34-26 win, Minnesota's sixth in seven tries this season. … The Vikings never seem to win comfortably, but they've opened up a comfortable lead over the Packers and Bears in the otherwise-scuffling NFC North.

No. 4 (no change): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report

The Minnesota Vikings are running away with the NFC North.

Less than halfway into the season, the Vikings have opened up a [three-and-a-half-game] lead on the Bears and Packers.

The Vikings used a balanced attack to down the Redbirds. Minnesota piled up 173 yards on the ground, averaging 6.0 a carry. Kirk Cousins wasn't especially prolific through the air, but he was efficient with 232 yards on 24-of-36 passing. And Minnesota's defense forced three turnovers and sacked Kyler Murray four times. However, despite five straight wins and the second-best record in the NFC, the Vikings aren't getting a lot of national run as a Super Bowl contender — a fact that Minnesota edge-rusher Za'Darius Smith has used as motivation.

"It feels good [to win]," Smith told reporters after the game. "I just hate that people still are not talking about us, but it's OK. We'll continue to be the underdogs."

That lack of national respect is largely because Minnesota's lone loss was a blowout against the Eagles in their biggest test of 2022. But the Vikings will get another chance to establish credibility soon enough. After traveling to Washington in Week 9, they head to Buffalo to face the surging Bills.

Win a statement game like that, and the Vikings will get the respect they crave.

No. 4 (up 1 spot): Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News

The Vikings keep getting the job done with just the right combination of scoring and not giving up points in high-leverage situations. Kevin O'Connell is now pushing Pete Carroll and Brian Daboll for Coach of the Year with his offensive scheming to set up a better complementary defense. There's nothing fluky about Minnesota's mighty NFC North lead.

No. 4 (no change): Pete Prisco – CBS Sports

At 6-1, they might not look great all the time, but they keep on winning. That's all that matters.

No. 5 (down 1 spot): Conor Orr – Sports Illustrated

Patrick Peterson's Call of Duty celebration has taken the Vikings from power rankings nuisance to one of our official teams of 2022. You have to respect the attitude, along with the suddenly dangerous, scrambling Kirk Cousins. Cousins made some gritty plays from the pocket, such as the one completion to Adam Thielen that set up (an eventually blocked) field-goal attempt.

No. 5 (up 1 spot): Mike Florio – Pro Football Talk

We'll find out how good this team really is in November; every opponent this month is currently at or above .500.

No. 5 (no change): Nate Davis – USA TODAY Sports

You hate to question the legitimacy of a 6-1 team, but we'll find out a lot over the next two weeks as QB Kirk Cousins returns to Washington for the first time before the Skol Train heads to Buffalo.

No. 6 (no change): Frank Schwab – Yahoo! Sports

Za'Darius Smith has five sacks in Minnesota's [past] two games and is up to 8.5 this season. Everyone mentions Davante Adams' departure from the Packers as a reason they're 3.5 games behind the Vikings in the standings, but don't forget Minnesota stealing Smith from their rival when he was a free agent.