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2021 NFL Power Rankings: Minnesota Vikings

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Minnesota Vikings rank in terms of average, best and worst:

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Vikings in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 18

People on the hot seat: GM Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer

Both Spielman and Zimmer are in the first year of three-year contract extensions, but that job security could wane if the Vikings don't make the playoffs. The team has not missed the postseason in back-to-back years since Zimmer arrived in 2014, and the head coach's influence was apparent with the defensive additions the team made this offseason. Right now, the outlook for the 2021 draft class isn't great. Of the 11 players Spielman drafted, only one -- fourth-round running back/kickoff returner Kene Nwangwu -- looks to make a considerable contribution early on. That doesn't bode well for Spielman, who needs linemen Christian Darrisaw (first round) and Wyatt Davis (third round) to pan out. -- Courtney Cronin

NFL.com -- Rank: 17

The Vikings are confident their defense will vastly improve with better health and upgraded personnel under Mike Zimmer, but is it too much to expect Minnesota's offense to repeat its top-10 finish of a year ago? The loss of tight end Irv Smith Jr. is significant, the offensive line is inexperienced in key spots and first-year offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak will face a challenge filling his dad's shoes. Minnesota needs its core four on offense -- Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen -- to stay healthy and produce at a Pro Bowl level. The Vikings are built like a Jenga tower on offense.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 16

The defense, which is usually the calling card for Mike Zimmer-coached teams, will be back to playing at a high level after a bad 2020. Couple that with a good offense, and the Vikings should be back in the postseason.

USA Today -- Rank: 15

Given the reinforcements to a defense that embarrassed coach Mike Zimmer last year, Minnesota should rebound to postseason form ... assuming Kirk Cousins, who was unvaccinated as of the start of training camp, doesn't became the latest QB shelved by close COVID-19 contacts.

The Athletic -- Rank: 20

Why they're ranked here: Chad here. We know you probably thought the Vikings would be higher on this list. But our panel seems to still be scarred by last year's defense and the fact that the offensive line will still be poor and the tight end position will be lacking for a team that often leans on tight ends. Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen are good enough to overcome that, but they'll have to stay healthy for a full season.

One big question: Can the offense take the next step? The Cook-Jefferson-Thielen trio is probably better than any other skill-position trio outside of Tennessee. The firepower is there for this offense. But the line could struggle and it has a first-time play caller in Klint Kubiak. After ranking No. 11 in points each of the last two seasons, can the Vikings take a meaningful step forward on offense?

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