They were so close.
The Vikings continued to beat the Seahawks for the first 35 minutes of Sunday night’s thrilling game and then came back from a disastrous trajectory to regain the lead and give themselves a chance to deliver a knockout blow. The rest of course is history. Alexander Mattison was full on the fourth and centimeter, Russell Wilson converted two fourth downs to DK Metcalf and the Vikings left Seattle with their heads hanging after another missed opportunity dropped them to 1-4 in the season.
As a result, the Vikings are in a weird place right now. They are clearly not a terrible team as the first two games of 2020 suggested. After three consecutive solid runs, they are ranked 11th in the Football Outsiders DVOA rankings, ahead of a number of teams with winning records. But the record is what it is, and no one is going to feel sorry for them for going through an extremely difficult schedule. Even if they are a great 1-4 team, they are still 1-4 and fall short against the Titans and Seahawks, which means they are almost certainly out of the playoffs.
As we do every week, let’s look at the national power rankings and see where the Vikings fall. After being ranked between 17th and 25th last week, I don’t expect too much change based on their primetime performance.
SI MMQB: No. 16 (2 places up)
Sometimes you put together the perfect game plan, execute it right, make the right situational decisions, and fall short because your guy slipped and took the wrong quarter-and-inch hole while their man plucked a rainbow down the sidelines despite well covered on the fourth and tenth. Or because the football gods sometimes decide that they want to point and laugh at you. Sorry, Mike Zimmer.
Full power is here.
ESPN.com: No. 21 (unchanged)
Biggest Weakness: Block pass
Minnesota gets great play from Riley Reiff and Brian O’Neill tackles, but the pass protection on the inside of the offensive line remains an issue. The Vikings are in 22nd place in winning a pass block and therefore cannot set up an effective dropback game. Sunday in Seattle, Kirk Cousins was hit almost every time he let go of football from the shotgun in the second half. The QB’s fumble in the third quarter after being fired (a turnover that allowed Seattle to score twice later) was the direct result of porous pass protection.
Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic: No. 18 (2 places down)
Minnesota is in a 1-4 hole, but this is an improving team. The Vikings had 31 first downs and 449 yards offenses. The defense also played well for most of the game. I’m not counting them out for a wildcard berth just yet.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: No. 24 (1 place down)
They are 1-4 and have big problems, but they played well in Seattle. Dalvin Cook’s injury isn’t a good thing for the run-based attack.
Dan Hanzus, NFL.com: No. 19 (2 places down)
The Vikings got just about everything right on Sunday night, but they couldn’t shut down the Seahawks in a 27-26 loss that will haunt them. The last two minutes of the game were poignant: Minnesota failed to convert a fourth-and-1 from Seattle’s 6-yard line and then couldn’t do anything to stop Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf while Seattle was 94 yards away marched for the winning touchdown. Minnesota held the ball for nearly 40 minutes and showed resilience in regaining control of a game that appeared to be slipping when Seattle scored three touchdowns in 1:53 of play in the third quarter. In fact, the Vikings controlled 55 of the 60 minutes of the game and were still beaten. It is almost impossible.
Bleacher report: No. 20 (2 places down)
Minnesota’s 1-4 record is somewhat misleading as the Vikings’ last two losses occurred while giving up scores with less than two minutes to play. Zimmer’s squad has the talent to win, but fails to close matches. With the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers holding a combined 8-1 record, it’s hard to imagine the Vikings changing the season completely. An upcoming game against the Atlanta Falcons, who have just fired their head coach and general manager, could put Minnesota back on track.
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sport: No. 20 (1 place down)
It’s easy to criticize Mike Zimmer after the fact for going fourth down for it. It didn’t work and Russell Wilson drove off the field to beat them. It wasn’t a bad decision to go for it. Maybe he should have performed a quarterback sneak, which is practically automatic. Later in the game, he absolutely should have used his timeouts when Seattles’ attack came within the 20-yard line. That’s a blatant clock management flaw. But going for it, trying to keep the ball away from Wilson, was no mistake.
Nate Davis, USA Today: No. 22 (2 places down)
They needed 1 yard in fourth place deep in Seattle to take a massive victory on the road. I did not get it. Whatever. Mike Zimmer made the right decision.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: No. 22 (unchanged)
The Vikings try to duct tape their young defenses with zone-heavy approach combined with blitzing, and it works a little better. Unfortunately, despite the rash dominance of the offense, they make a few too many mistakes there.
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk: No. 25 (unchanged)
They wasted their best chance of beating Seattle without any assistance from Blair Walsh.
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