It was a fair rating. After all, the Vikings were coming off a season where they matched the most losses in franchise history with 13. Their biggest moves in the offseason included three players pegged as potential starters—all who missed last season due to injuries.
Then there was the devastating knee injury suffered by Adrian Peterson in Week 16 of last season. After having surgery in January, there was no way he could be effective in 2012. The Vikings' starting quarterback was coming off a 2-8 record as a starter with a 70.1 passer rating.
Yup, there's no way the Vikings were going to do much this season. The best I had them finishing on the season was 6-10. The only thing they were going to be battling for was to stay out of the basement of the NFC North.
It's amazing what one win can do for the outlook of an NFL football team.
With their 24-13 win over the 49ers on Sunday, the Vikings have moved up in 12 power rankings I found by an average of eight spots to around 18th in the NFL. There were a couple of rankings that actually had the Vikings in the top half of the league.
Almost all of the rankings that provided any insight to the Vikings improvement credited Christian Ponder. This season Ponder is playing with a lot more poise. He's doing so behind an improved offensive line anchored by rookie left tackle Matt Kalil and with only two true targets to throw to—wide receiver Percy Harvin and tight end Kyle Rudolph.
Here are links to the 12 power rankings I found in order of highest to lowest rankings for the Vikings.
Marc Jenkins from Rantsports.com has the Vikings ranked 14th heading into Week 4. This is up 12 spots from his previous ranking.
From NFL.com, Elliot Harrison has the Vikings at 16th. Like Jenkins and Banks he had them at 26 the week before.
In the first of four rankings from B/R, Richard Langford has the Vikings 17th in his power ranking.
One of the sites I refer to quite often, WalterFootball.com, must be a Green Bay fan. In his ranking he refuses to list the Packers at 1-2, and has ranked sixth. He also has the Vikings ranked 17th, up from 26th the previous week.
Bob Glauber from Newsday.com gives Ponder and Peterson credit for the Vikings upset against the 49ers. He moved the Vikings up from 25th to 17th in his ranking.
B/R correspondent, Torey Ziska has the Vikings ranked 20th, up from 26th. He points out that a win at Detroit will keep the Vikings in first place of the division.
ESPN.com has the Vikings rising from 29th, the lowest previous ranking I found, to 21st. They noted the upset as Ponder's best game of his career.
Matt Miller, NFL Lead Writer for B/R, also has the Vikings 21st, up from 28th in his power ranking. He makes a good point, that while the Vikings are still not playoff bound, they will have a few more surprises in them this season.
An unlikely source for an NFL power ranking comes from Tony Manfred of Businessinsider.com. Manfred points out that Minnesota is in the top 10 for total defense. Still, he only moved the Vikings from 27th to 24th.
The final power ranking comes from B/R featured columnist Ian Hanford. He also has the Vikings ranked 24th. He described Ponder's win over the 49ers as a signature-win.
If the Vikings can win in Detroit this week, their ranking should continue to rise. It won't be an easy task, though. Minnesota is on a three-game losing streak to the Lions, their longest since they lost the first five meetings between the two franchises.