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Lunchbreak: Vikings Land at No. 18 in ESPN's Preseason Power Rankings

Preseason power rankings have arrived, as ESPN recently released its annual list that stacks all 32 teams together in numerical order.

ESPN will transition to weekly rankings once the regular season arrives, but where did the Vikings land with Week 1 still two-plus weeks away?

Minnesota came in at No. 18 overall, with ESPN Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin opining that the 2021 season will be a crucial one for Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and Head Coach Mike Zimmer.

Cronin wrote:

Both Spielman and Zimmer are in the first year of three-year contract extensions, but that job security could wane if the Vikings don't make the playoffs. The team has not missed the postseason in back-to-back years since Zimmer arrived in 2014, and the head coach's influence was apparent with the defensive additions the team made this offseason.

ESPN's power rankings are compiled by a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities.

Minnesota came in as the second-highest ranked team in the NFC North.

Green Bay was at No. 4, with Chicago (No. 22) and Detroit (No. 31) below Minnesota.

Boyd focused on consistency at cornerback

Kris Boyd is one of the chattiest players on the Vikings, as the third-year cornerback can routinely be seen having a good time in practice and games.

He's been backing that up with his recent play, too, as Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Saturday night that Boyd's consistency has caught the eye of the coaching staff.

Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press caught up with Boyd earlier this week to ask about what he is focused on with the preseason slate nearing its end.

Tomasson wrote:

Boyd actually has been playing rather well lately. He had Minnesota's highest defensive Pro Football Focus grade — 74.8 — in the Aug. 14 preseason opener against Denver and came away with a still decent 64.5 rating in last Saturday's game against Indianapolis.

Vikings starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland lauded Boyd's play on Monday, and Co-Defensive Coordinator Adam Zimmer did too on Tuesday. But Boyd remains unimpressed.

"I'm doing OK," he said after Tuesday's practice. "I've got a long way to go. … I'm hard on myself. I feel like every play that comes my way, I should make. … I'm my biggest critic."

Boyd said he's not worried about where he's at on the depth chart, but is instead trying to learn all he can from veterans such as Patrick Peterson and Breeland.

Tomasson wrote:

Boyd said he has been "sponge" as he's seeking to pick up knowledge from Peterson, an 11-year veteran who is bound for the Hall of Fame, and Breeland, an eight-year veteran who started in the past two Super Bowls for Kansas City.

Boyd has been singled out by both starting cornerbacks for his attitude. He is known for perhaps being the most gregarious player on the team.

"I try to keep a smile on everybody's face," said Boyd, a native of Gilmer, Texas, who played at Gilmer High School. "That's just something that I kind of grew up on. My head coach in high school was Jeff Traylor, who's now at (Texas-San Antonio), and he told me, 'You're either breathing life into people or sucking it out.' … So I want to breathe life into people and have positive vibes and smile and everything."

Tomasson's full story on Boyd can be found here.