Saturday, September 10, 2022

Minnesota Vikings Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2022 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Minnesota Vikings in our consensus 2022 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 23

Who's on the hot seat: C Garrett Bradbury

Bradbury was an immediate starter at center after the Vikings drafted him No. 18 overall in 2019. But he was benched briefly last season, and new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah decided not to pick up the fifth-year option on his contract. That means Bradbury's deal will expire after this season, giving him one final chance to convince the team he can be its long-term answer. -- Rank: 20

Will this defense get enough stops? We don't worry about the offense. Kirk Cousins will do his Kirk Cousins thing (streaky production that lands with around 35 touchdowns, 4,000 yards and a 100 passer rating), and the power trio of Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook stacks up against any Big Three in the sport. We like the defensive front led by Danielle Hunter and Za'Darius Smith, too, but the cornerback group is worrisome. Two rookies -- Andrew Booth Jr. and Akayleb Evans -- are in line for significant roles in Minnesota's new scheme, while Chandon Sullivan joined as a free-agent acquisition. A Week 1 assignment against two-time reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers will serve as an immediate gut check.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 12

New coach Kevin O'Connell has a different style from Mike Zimmer, which players say is refreshing. The defense has to be better than a year ago because the offense should be explosive.

The Athletic -- Rank: 16

The good news: Coming off a season in which they were the most decidedly average team in the league (16th in offensive and defensive DVOA), it shouldn't take much improvement around the edges to bump the Vikings into the playoffs. Kevin O'Connell should be expected to help the offense take a step forward, and there are enough new pieces on defense to be bullish about that side of the ball. With the league's 16th-easiest schedule, the Vikings should at least let us know this year if they're decidedly good or decidedly bad.

The bad news: Early-round picks Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth Jr. were supposed to help upgrade a mediocre secondary, but neither appears ready to contribute right away.

Nugget to remember: To date, Kirk Cousins is 59-59-2 as a starting quarterback. Only Jim Plunkett (72-72) and Eli Manning (117-117) played more games with a precise .500 record.

The Ringer -- Rank: 11

New head coach Kevin O'Connell will live and die by how much he can maximize the habitually average Kirk Cousins at the helm of an offense chock-full of talent. Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook are both among the elite at their respective positions, and 32-year-old veteran Adam Thielen is drawing comparisons to his former dominant self in training camp. An influx of 11 personnel, creative route concepts, and early-down passing should be just what the doctor ordered for a Minnesota team desperate for postseason success going into the fifth year of the Cousins era.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 19

Kirk Cousins is set up well for a big season under new coach Kevin O'Connell. But it's funny: No matter how good Cousins is, your opinion on him won't change unless Minnesota somehow wins a Super Bowl.

PFT -- Rank: 22

Ding dong the Zim is dead. That alone could be enough to get the Vikings to the playoffs.

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