Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Power Rankings: No. 27 Minnesota Vikings
By Ben Goessling
A weekly examination of the Vikings' ESPN.com Power Ranking:
Preseason: 17 | Last Week: 28 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002
A wild road loss to the Baltimore Ravens, coupled with the woes of a few teams around them, actually moved the Vikings up a spot in this week's Power Rankings. The Oakland Raiders skidded down four spots in the standings after their loss to the New York Jets, which helped the Vikings move up.
They'll have to dig deep to coax another win or two out of their final three games of the season, however; all three games are against teams currently leading their divisions (Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Detroit), and it appears the Vikings may play this week without running back Adrian Peterson, who sprained his right foot Sunday in Baltimore. The Vikings could also be without backup running back Toby Gerhart because of a strained hamstring, and though coach Leslie Frazier said the Vikings won't shy away from the run even if Peterson and Gerhart sit out, they could be forced to ask for more from their passing game if they want to keep up with Nick Foles and the Eagles' high-scoring offense.
Frazier hasn't announced who will start at quarterback on Sunday, and all three of his quarterbacks could make a case this week. Christian Ponder is back from a concussion and played well against the Green Bay Packers in his last full game before getting hurt. Matt Cassel relieved Ponder against the Chicago Bears, directed a comeback victory and threw for 265 yards on Sunday in Baltimore -- the most by a Vikings quarterback this season. And Josh Freeman, who hasn't played since a dreadful Monday night performance on Oct. 21, could get another look now that the Vikings, at 3-9-1, have officially been eliminated from the playoff race.