Vikings Get Modest Spot in The Athletic Power Ranking

Oct 10, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Armon Watts (96) warms up before the game against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

Following free agency and the draft, NFL writers commonly turn to power rankings as a method of gauging the current league outlook. Teams, for the most part, have assembled their rosters. How do they stack up? According to Lindsay Jones and her power ranking, the Vikings aren’t looking too good.

She has Minnesota coming in at a modest 20th overall:

The biggest change in the Vikings’ building came immediately after the season, with the hiring of general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell. The roster returns largely unchanged, save for the addition of free-agent pass rusher Za’Darius Smith (who comes from rival Green Bay) and draft picks led by safety Lewis Cine. That means the outlook for 2022 depends on the same thing it has the last four years: How well will Kirk Cousins play?

Truth be told, I find it hard to fault her too much for this ranking. There haven’t been too many clear improvements throughout the offseason even though Chris Reed and Harrison Phillips look like underrated deals. Coming off consecutive below-.500 seasons, that’s concerning.

Where I may push back a little on Jones’ assessment of the Vikings is with some of the other teams in her power ranking. The Eagles, Patriots, and Cardinals are all listed above Minnesota, and it’s not difficult to see why since they all had a better record last year. Nevertheless, it’s quite plausible that the Vikings end up being better than all three. How confident are we in Jalen Hurts? The Cards have an issue at QB, and DeAndre Hopkins will be out the opening six weeks. Do the Pats have enough talent?

At the end of the day, power rankings mean very little. All they are are educated guesses about the current NFL. The issue, of course, is that no one can tell the future. Plus, the NFL and its teams aren’t fixed objects. Like water trickling down a stream, NFL teams are constantly moving. Sure, the location of the stream may be fixed, but the water is seldom the same.

In other words, we look at teams now and do our best to predict. By the time the season arrives, though, teams will be different due to cuts, injuries, trades, and signings. Jones offers a fair, reasonable assessment in her piece. Indeed, Minnesota’s modest lot in the power ranking gives us some sense of where the Vikings find themselves, but it ought not be taken as gospel.