All things must come to an end. That includes the Vikings' five-game winning streak, which went by the wayside in Denver on Sunday night thanks to three Minnesota turnovers and a go-ahead touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Courtland Sutton with a minute to play.
There's no need for panic in Vikings land. The path to catching the Lions in the NFC North just got a lot tougher, but Kevin O'Connell's team is still in great position to secure a wild card spot in the postseason. Outside of two games against Detroit, the Vikings' four other remaining games are against the Bears, the Raiders, the Joe Burrow-less Bengals, and the Packers.
If they can clean up the turnovers, the Vikings should still be a dangerous team. The defense continues to play well, and on offense, Justin Jefferson will likely be back after the bye to serve as Josh Dobbs' No. 1 option.
Let's take a look at this week's power rankings to see if the Vikings fell at all.
Conor Orr, SI.com: No. 15 (Down 3 spots)
The Vikings’ five-game winning streak has come to an end, though the team has the Bears, Raiders and Joe Burrow-less Bengals coming up next. I don’t think anyone is catching Detroit, which has a similarly cushy stretch coming up, but I would not be surprised in the least if Minnesota takes steps to set a postseason berth in concrete (and, hopefully with it, an extension for the coach, Kevin O’Connell). Justin Jefferson coming back at some point will diversify this plucky offense.
Josh Kendall, The Athletic: No. 14 (Down 1 spot)
Are they good? Yes
Without Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson, the Vikings are 2-1, and that one loss came Sunday on a late score by the Broncos. Minnesota is within two games of division leader Detroit and still gets to play the Lions twice. We’re not suggesting the Vikings are that level of good, but this team continues to surprise.
Eric Edholm, NFL.com: No. 14 (Down 1 spot)
They had an opportunity to steal one in Denver, but they could only manage three points over their final four possessions, turning it over three times (INT, fumble, downs) in the final 18 minutes of the game. Joshua Dobbs had some moments early, and the run-game duo of Alexander Mattison and Ty Chandler was potent, but Mattison and Dobbs combined for three turnovers. Likewise, the defense took and gave, holding Denver to five field goals before allowing the game-winning TD drive in the final minutes. Kevin O'Connell has done a tremendous job with this team, and the Vikings remain firmly in the playoff race for now, but this was one that got away. They would have been 5-1 on the road had they pulled it off Sunday night.
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: No. 14 (Down 1 spot)
The Vikings gave up the late drive to the Broncos and lost, but the play of their defense was still impressive. The Vikings held the Broncos out of the end zone until the final two minutes. Defensive coordinator Brian Flores, who does a great job sending pressure, has been a really good hire.
Bleacher Report Staff: No. 14 (Up 1 spot)
Josh Dobbs' feel-good story doesn't end simply because the Vikings lost to the Broncos on Sunday Night Football. The quarterback still had his squad in a position to win late in the fourth quarter. But Minnesota's defense finally broke and allowed a touchdown as the two-minute warning neared. Granted, Dobbs committed two turnovers, which led to six points in a one-point loss. However, the fumble came courtesy of what should have been deemed an illegal hit and his arm was hit from the backside to tip the ball for an interception.
ESPN Staff: No. 15 (Up 1 spot)
Preseason hot seat: QB Kirk Cousins
Current temperature of hot seat: Mild
Cousins was making a strong play to return as the Vikings' starter next season when he suffered a season-ending rupture of his right Achilles in Week 8. At the time, he was leading the NFL in touchdown passes, had the league's second-most passing yards and ranked No. 10 in QBR. What happens next is anyone's guess. There are most certainly people in the organization who would like to see him back next season, despite the performance of Joshua Dobbs in his absence. But general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will have to weigh the value of a player who will be 36 next season and coming off the first serious injury of his NFL career. — Kevin Seifert
The Ringer Staff: No. 14 (Up 1 spot)
The Vikings had their five-game winning streak snapped after committing three turnovers in a 21-20 loss to the Broncos Sunday night. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs and running back Alexander Mattison each lost a fumble, and Dobbs threw his first interception since joining the Vikings in a trade on Halloween. That sort of turnover luck hearkened back to the Vikings’ rough start to the season, when they committed 12 turnovers in the first five weeks. Even with the loss, the Vikings remain in the no. 7 spot in the NFC, and if their ball security improves, they should make the playoffs. — Lindsay Jones
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: No. 13 (No change)
They blew a lead to the Broncos on Sunday night because they turned the ball over three times. The defense continues to be special, but they need Justin Jefferson back on offense.
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk: No. 12 (No change)
They can outplay a lot of teams. But they also need to outscore them.
David Helman, FOX Sports: No. 13 (Up 3 spots)
Even when Kirk Cousins was healthy, the Vikings fell into an 0-3 hole because they couldn't hold on to the football. If that's what happens when the starter is available, it's probably not going to get better with a backup. Denver beat Minnesota by one point, having scored nine points off Vikings turnovers. Few teams are capable of overcoming turnover issues, and the Josh Dobbs-led Vikings aren't one of them.
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