After a 4-1 record and a successful preseason, we take a look across the web to see where various sites and experts have the Vikings slotted in their weekly power rankings heading into the 2015 season.
ESPN, Mike Sando
Teddy Bridgewater* finished his rookie season with a flourish (seventh in QBR in Weeks 13-17), but the feeling around the league is that he has the physical skills to develop into only a slightly better-than-average starter. "I question his accuracy," one personnel director says. That's not saying a team can't win with Bridgewater, only that a strong ground game and defense will be part of the equation. The Vikings could be in luck if RB Adrian Peterson returns to form and Mike Zimmer's defense can make a big jump after ranking 19th in EPA his first season as head coach. Xavier Rhodes also made a nice jump at corner last season -- Richard Sherman singled him out as a youngster on the rise -- but Minnesota is a ways from catching Green Bay in the NFC North.*
FOX Sports, Dan Schneier
Teddy Bridgewater has progressed much faster than expected and the offense has looked great this preseason without unveiling its biggest weapon -- Adrian Peterson. Mike Zimmer has an excellent scheme in place, but his defense could take more time to gel.
Yahoo!, Frank Schwab
Rookie defenders Trae Waynes and Eric Kendricks played well in the preseason finale. They might not make a huge impact right away, but they both should at some point this season.
Bleacher Report, Tyler Conway
Probably the team most likely to make me look like a total doofus in a few months. The Vikings are loaded with young talent. Teddy Bridgewater appears to be on the cusp of a true breakout after a strong rookie season, *Adrian Peterson is back and ready to prove people wrong and the addition of Mike Wallaceshould give Bridgewater a true top target.*
There are questions on the offensive line and the secondary, but there's a clear path to yearly contention here. It'll all depend on the team's development curve. Bridgewater was much closer to solid than spectacular in Year 1; he'll have to flip that script in Year 2. Peterson had never rushed below 970 yards or scored under 10 touchdowns before last season; he'll need to return to at least his 2013 form to make a real impact. On defense, it's time for corner Xavier Rhodes to step up after only picking off one pass in his first two NFL seasons. It would also help a ton if rookie Trae Waynes is everything Minnesota hoped he would be at No. 11. Add in contributions from Eric Kendricks, Sharrif Floyd and Everson Griffen on the front seven, and the under-30 talent here is booming. Unfortunately, promise does not necessarily equal production. The Vikings are still a ways away from proving they're capable of competing with Green Bay and Detroit atop the NFC North. Still, come December, our tune may be changing.
Pro Football Talk, Mike Florio
On paper, these Vikings should be a lot better than they were last year. Now they have to prove it. At a time when many presume they will, there's still a chance they won't.
CBS Sports, Pete Prisco
I still think they are a year away. But watch out in 2016. They might sneak in as a wild-card team.