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Lunchbreak: Where are Vikings in Early 2021 Power Rankings?

The 2020 season is officially in the books after the conclusion of Super Bowl LV on Sunday night.

The focus now fully shifts to the 2021 offseason, as the new league year and free agency is set to kick off on March 17, followed by the 2021 NFL Draft in late April.

The Vikings front office has been hard at work over the past month to learn from a disappointing 7-9 season and ensure that Minnesota gets back to the postseason this year.

But where do pundits have the Vikings in their way-too-early 2021 power rankings?

ESPN tabbed the Vikings smack in the middle of the league with the No. 16 spot.

ESPN Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin opined that Minnesota needs to become a more well-rounded team in 2021.

Cronin noted that the Vikings offseason goal should be to "return to contention." She wrote:

Although the Vikings offense was the most explosive unit Mike Zimmer has had in seven seasons, the defense soured in 2020. Minnesota needs to find some balance so the defense can carry its weight. That'll require more pass-rushers, more defensive backs and carrying this year's experience forward.

The cap-strapped Vikings don't look like a team that can make a big splash in free agency, but now's the time to get creative (i.e., with a trade) if they want a serious upgrade at any position – whether it's on defense or even quarterback. With all the movement going on across the league, why wouldn't Minnesota consider all possible moves, no matter how aggressive, to get back in contention?

Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News is a little lower on Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's squad, as he had Minnesota ranked 22nd in his own power rankings.

View the best photos of Vikings QB Kirk Cousins from the 2020 season.

Iyer wrote:

The Vikings have become more of an offensive team with Dalvin Cook and Kirk Cousins, but their defense will require a continued overhaul for Mike Zimmer.

Minnesota's offense ranked fourth in the league in yards per game at 393.3 in 2020, but the Vikings defense gave up the exact same number to rank 27th among all teams.

Allen misses out on HOF on 1st try

Jared Allen missed out on the Pro Football Hall of Fame on his first try.

The former Vikings defensive end was one of four first-ballot players, but he was the only one of the four who did not make the cut.

Quarterback Peyton Manning, defensive back Charles Woodson and wide receiver Calvin Johnson all made it in in their first year of eligibility.

Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press recapped the events from Saturday.

Also making it were safety John Lynch, guard Alan Faneca, wide receiver Drew Pearson, a senior nominee, Tom Flores, a coach nominee, and scout Bill Nunn, a contributor nominee.

"As far as I feel about not making it this year, gotta get better," Allen wrote in a text message to the Pioneer Press. "Ha ha ha. Honestly, it's such a great honor to be a finalist. Lucky for me, Jesus, my wife and kids still love me. I survived 38 years without being a hall of famer, so I'm sure I'll survive till if/when it happens. Lol."

View photos of Vikings Legend Jared Allen during his career with the team. He will be inducted into the 2022 Vikings Ring of Honor Class during halftime of the Week 8 Vikings-Cardinals game.

Allen ranks 12th all-time with 136.0 career sacks. He began his career with Kansas City with 43.0 sacks in four seasons, but he flourished even more after being traded to Minnesota in 2008.

Allen racked up 85.5 sacks in 96 career games over six seasons in Purple. That stretch was highlighted by a 22.0-sack season in 2011 that set a Vikings single-season record but just missed out on the all-time NFL record of 22.5.