As it turns out, the Vikings aren’t a bad team after all.
Their 2-0 start didn’t tell the full story as they were ruined by penalties, brief defensive mistakes and self-inflicted wounds at the end of two dramatic games in Cincinnati and Arizona.
Mike Zimmer and his team stayed confident, kept working and showed what they can do with a 30:17 win over the Seahawks on Sunday. Playing at home helped, but this was just one case where the Vikings finally put it all together. Kirk Cousins and the entire offensive continued to shine, the special teams were good and Zimmer’s defense turned things big after a weak start.
Let’s see what the victory meant for the Vikings’ positioning in this week’s national power rankings, and whether or not analysts invest in a potential resurgence.
Greg Bishop, SI.com: No. 16 (Up 8 places)
Here’s what I like about the Vikings: The hot beginnings of Kirk Cousins (we’re not going to argue about his today Vaccine attitude), Minnesota’s offensive weapons (Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, etc.), and the number of young talent on the list. The victory over the Seahawks – a team that traditionally chases the Vikings – was impressive. Their losses (against the Bengals and Cardinals) were both close. I could see the Vikings on the verge of the playoffs, and I believe health – for Cousins, Cook, Thielen and so many others – will be the driving factor.
Dan Hanzus, NFL.com: No. 16 (Up 8 places)
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer called it the best offensive game of his Vikings time. Kirk Cousins led Minnesota on three touchdown drives in the first half and then constructed a trio of field goal marches in the second half that more than a 30-17 win over the Seahawks at the rough US Bank Stadium Consumed 20 minutes of playing time. Cousins was one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks for three weeks. “It was a different Kirk,” said wide receiver Adam Thielen. “He’s just locked up and on time, he trusts it.” This applies to both the forever tested cousins and Klint Kubiak, an offensive coordinator in the first year, who immediately found a groove.
Bleacher Report Staff: No. 21 (Up 4 places)
The Minnesota Vikings entered in Week 3 and desperately needed a win and a short star deficit from Dalvin Cook. The Vikings took that win against the Seahawks – and in large part because Alexander Mattison took a big step forward in running back. Mattison wasn’t the only player for the Vikings who had a day against Seattle’s battered defense. Veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 323 yards and three scores, and young wideout Justin Jefferson abused Seattle high school with nine catches for 118 yards and one score. But it was Mattison’s 171 yards on 32 touches that set the tone for the Vikings’ offensive – and possibly saved Minnesota’s season. Mind you, this is a Vikings team that ran into overtime in Week 1 against the Bengals and was a missed field goal by beating the Cardinals in Week 2. However, going back to .500 won’t be easy. Not with the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers coming out in the next three weeks.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: No. 18 (Up 8 Seats)
They saved their season with an impressive home win against the Seahawks. The offensive has really clicked in the last two weeks, but improving the defensive will be crucial in the future.
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sport: No. 22 (Up 4 places)
Alexander Mattison had a day that opened his eyes with a total of 171 yards. Dalvin Cook has some shelf life issues and it seems the answer is to have more of a common backfield. You’re both pretty good players.
Vinnie Iyer, Sports News: No. 23 (Up 3 Places)
The Vikings recovered from two narrow losses to good teams (Bengals, Cardinals) en route to crush another quality team (Seahawks) at home. Kirk Cousins is playing well again with a lot of help from the running game.
Nate Davis, USA today: No. 18 (Up 7 places)
Beating Seattle for the first time since 2009 … without RB Dalvin Cook … while starting an important three-game home game, the Wikes season might have gotten back on track.
Mike Florio, PFT: No. 18 (Up 6 places)
Defeating Seattle means nothing if they don’t give the Browns everything they can.
Danny Kelly, The Ringer: No. 20 (Up 6 Places)
ESPN employees: No. 20 (up to 6 places)
Kirk Cousins was the light of the day for the Vikings in the best three-game start of his career – eight passing touchdowns to zero interceptions and a completion rate of 73.9%. His fifth straight multi-touchdown game led Minnesota to his first win of the season against Seattle, and he did it by playing to his strengths. Cousins was 24 of 28 for 273 yards and three touchdowns when not pressured. (He’s averaged 8.27 yards / try without pressure in his career, fifth best in the NFL since joining the league.) He dominated against the lightning. (In the past three seasons, he has had 26 TDs to two interceptions if flashed.) And he continues to have success with Justin Jefferson, who hit 20 of 30 passes for 254 yards and two TDs. – Courtney Cronin
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