The 10th-worst team in football — that’s ESPN’s perception of the 2022 Minnesota Vikings, a lowly mark for a franchise attempting to rectify back-to-back losing seasons.
ESPN released its preseason power rankings on Tuesday, and the Vikings were situated at #23.
The list also features one player on the “hot seat” for each team. Unsurprisingly, that was center Garrett Bradbury. ESPN’s Kevin Seifert mentioned about the Vikings center, ” […] Bradbury’s deal will expire after this season, giving him one final chance to convince the team he can be its long-term answer.”
The 23rd-in-the-league ranking for Minnesota is a continuation of opinion from the spring. Here and there, the Vikings are nominated as a “dark horse” or “sleeper” team by various individuals. But when media entity’s power rankings are unveiled, the Vikings general hover around 20th or so. This ESPN batch is an appendage to all the rest, even sinking Minnesota to the bottom 10.
Thankfully, power rankings — no matter who writes them — mean nothing. Absolutely nothing. They can be useful to gauge the court of public opinion and reveal “what people are saying” about the franchise. But, on the whole, power rankings are only a thermometer.
A handful of former football players are high on the Vikings, however. Back in the spring, ex-Detroit Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky called the Vikings a sleeper team heading for the 2022 postseason.
In July, former cornerback Will Blackmon labeled the Vikings as his dark-horse team for 2022.
And on Monday, ex-Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals CB Bryant McFadden — a cousin to Vikings corner Patrick Peterson — declared Minnesota an NFC title-game shoo-in.
Folks are all over the board on this brand of Vikings led by Kevin O’Connell in his first year as a head coach. Vegas sportsbooks have settled on 9.5 wins for Minnesota, a total that would land the Vikings on the fringe of wildcard playoff contention.
The Buffalo Bills (#1) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (#2) topped the ESPN list. The Houston Texans (#31) and Atlanta Falcons (#32) were called the league’s worst teams.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).