Arguing w/ the Editors: What Dustin Baker & Josh Frey Get Wrong in their Power Rankings

Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) prepares to snap the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the first quarter of a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

At Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD, we like to encourage (hopefully healthy) discourse and debate. Have a strong opinion and be charitable toward the other side as you make your case. That’s the goal, folks.

In pursuit of that goal, I humbly submit a piece where I air my grievances with the Dustin Baker and Josh Frey power rankings (the managing editors for VT and P/PTSD, respectively).

A power ranking is inherently subjective. Most will agree on the major points – Kansas City is good, Houston is not – but there’s a ton of grey in between the simple answers.

Jan 7, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) prepares to take the snap against the Las Vegas Raiders in the second half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Toward the beginning of May, Dustin and Josh offered their own version here and here. Predictably, there are some points of disagreement. Upon initial glance, there are two that stand out:

  1. The placement of the New York Giants.
  2. The placement of the New York Jets.

First off, the Giants. Brian Daboll’s team was responsible for crushing purple dreams back in January. After all the rumblings about being frauds and DVOA disasters, the Vikings didn’t overcome the doubt, instead succumbing to a thoroughly average New York team.

Dustin puts the G-Men at 11th and Josh has them sitting at 13th. To my mind, they should be closer to 20th.

Last season, Daniel Jones threw for 15 TD passes – an average of less than 1 per game – and a modest 3205 yards. He then signed an extension that comes with a … $40 million per year average. Of course, the yearly average number in the NFL can be so inaccurate that it’s basically meaningless. However, it’s certainly notable he’ll have a $21,750,000 cap charge in 2023 and $45,000,000 hit in 2024


Saquon Barkley and the Giants have yet to resolve the contract conundrum. The ultra-talented RB played wonderfully last season, but it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see him put forth a more modest 2023. Don’t forget that he battled injury and ineffectiveness in 2020 and 2021.

Jan 1, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence (97) celebrates a defensive stop with running back Saquon Barkley (26) during the second half against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants share a division with the Eagles and Cowboys. In short, I’m not a believer in New York, a team that finished 9-7-1 last season. Don’t be shocked if that record morphs into 7-9-1.

Meanwhile, the Jets come in at 7th in both the Dustin Baker and Josh Frey power rankings. Take a look at Dustin’s rationale: “This Aaron Rodgers thing will work. Pairing a defense-first coach with a Hall of Fame (but old) quarterback has the makings for an 11-6 or so record. The Jets just have to keep pace with the Bills — a daunting task.”

Yes, exactly. The Bills aren’t to be overlooked. And neither are the Dolphins, a team that’s also in the division. The 39-year-old Aaron Rodgers will need to face last season’s 2nd overall defense (the Bills) twice a year. Miami wasn’t very good last season – 24th in the NFL – but they’re now boasting Jalen Ramsey and Xavien Howard in the same secondary.

In 2022, Rodgers averaged just 6.8 yards per attempt, leaving him in a tie with … Daniel Jones (among a couple others).

Also on the Jets’ schedule: Cowboys, Chiefs, Eagles, Chargers, and Browns. Rodgers is sensational and the defense is likely to be very good. I’m taking a wait-and-see approach, though. A top-10 spot may be too high.

Finally, let’s finish off with the Purple & Gold.

3 Glaring Problems the Vikings Must Fix in 2023
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell looks on before a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Josh has them at 14th and Dustin has them at 9th. Take a peak at what Mr. Frey has to say: “In Kevin O’Connell’s first year as head coach, the Vikings offense turned into a well-oiled machine and bringing Jordan Addison into the fold should make this group even more of a mismatch. However, the defense is still extremely questionable, particularly in the secondary.”

Truth be told, the Vikings are a hard team to predict. Kicking them down closer to 20 is far too skeptical but climbing high in the top 10 also isn’t quite right. In other words, the editors are in a good range.

Both sides articulate questions about the defense. Far too often, Ed Donatell has been viewed as the sole reason for struggle, but let’s not forget that Minnesota’s defense has finished 29th, 24th, and 28th in points allowed from 2020-22. So, we’ve got a bit of a longstanding issue.

Let me humbly propose a Vikings team that should sit at 12th overall. Yes, the defense likely hasn’t fully arrived, but the offense looks lethal. And that may be the point, folks. The defense isn’t excellent but doesn’t need to be. The offense will be so good and so masterful at holding onto the ball (and scoring) that the defense will be burdened with less responsibility.

The best defense? A good offense. Even Patrick Mahomes can’t toss TD passes if he’s sitting on the bench.

Think all of us are wrong? Let us know over on Twitter.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece.