New Power Ranking Puts the Vikings Among the Worst NFL Teams
ESPN has released their first power rankings since their rankings following the 2022 NFL Draft. These rankings were formed by polling all the writers covering each NFL team this year. Once again in this power ranking, the Vikings find themselves among the worst NFL teams, landing at No. 23. This is the same placement that was given to them in the previous power rankings. They find themselves sandwiched between the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 22 and Seattle Seahawks at No. 24.
Curiously, the teams around the Vikings are going through much more uncertainty with their rosters than Minnesota is. Both teams had to replace their quarterbacks this offseason while Minnesota is running it back with largely the same offense. Granted, the Vikings have a new coach in Kevin O’Connell and his staff, but this move should only improve the Vikings on the offensive side of the ball.
Additionally, the Vikings have made intriguing acquisitions on the defensive side of the ball with multiple veterans and a few promising rookies. Za’Darius Smith joins Danielle Hunter at EDGE to potentially form one of the most fearsome duos in the league. Jordan Hicks also joins Eric Kendricks at linebacker to patrol the middle of the field. Meanwhile, the Vikings secondary has seen draft picks Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth Jr. contribute thus far into training camp and preseason.
The ranking feels low for this team on paper, but the Vikings have been underwhelming in recent years, so it’s understandable to be hesitant. That said, I wouldn’t put them below the Cleveland Browns (No. 17) or the Washington Commanders (No. 20) at this point.
In addition to the power rankings, the writers also named “hot seat” starters for each team. ESPN’s pick will come to no surprise to anyone who has been following the Vikings for at least a couple years. The group of writers put starting center Garrett Bradbury on the hot seat heading into the 2022 season.
Bradbury has hardly lived up to the hype early in his NFL career. Especially in pass protection, he has had a difficult time carving out a role for himself. This offseason, the Vikings have brought in a couple options to compete with him for that starting spot, and most recently, his biggest competitor has been Austin Schlottmann.
Schlottmann has exclusively been a guard throughout his NFL career to this point, but after a couple strong preseason games, he has to be in the mix for the starting spot. It will be very interesting to see how this battle between Bradbury and Schlottmann finishes up. Perhaps we’ll see a new center in the Vikings September 11th matchup with the Green Bay Packers.