When Teddy Bridgewater went down for the season, you, like most, probably buried the Minnesota Vikings.
When Adrian Peterson went down for an extended period of time, even with Sam Bradford acquired to play quarterback, you threw more dirt on top of them.
Now after five weeks, the Vikings have surprised a lot of people and remain the only undefeated team in the league at 5-0. That puts them atop my Power Rankings, a perch few imagined them owning at this point of the season.
The Vikings blew out the Houston Texans on Sunday, again showing off their powerful defense, which has given up the fewest points in the league. The offense still isn't potent by any stretch, ranking 13th in scoring, but 30th in total offense.
The good news is the Vikings aren't turning the ball over and they are taking it away. They lead the NFL with a plus-11 ratio, getting 12 takeaways and losing just one fumble. Sam Bradford has not yet thrown an interception, taking care of the football while making timely throws.
When you play this style of football, the margin for error is thin, which is why the turnover numbers are so important, as are their special-teams scores. If the Vikings can continue that style, they will continue to win and could be a real Super Bowl contender.
The Vikings have a bye this week, and come out of it with a tough road game at Philadelphia. After that, they have just three games left with teams that have a winning record. Does that mean an undefeated season is possible? It's not out of the question because if they get by the Eagles in two weeks, the only real tough road game left is at Green Bay on Christmas Eve.
Yes, it's far too early for undefeated talk, but it's not out of the question either since the schedule is soft. For now, the Vikings are the best team in the league, which is why they are on top of the rankings.
|Winning without much offense speaks volumes about the defense. Mike Zimmer is the Coach of the Year right now.||1||13-4-0|
|Tom Brady comes back. Tom Brady is the same Tom Brady. Did we expect anything different?||2||8-9-0|
|They haven't really clicked on offense, and yet they are 3-1. They face a tough game with Dallas this week.||--||8-9-0|
|That was an impressive road victory at Denver. The surprising part was how well the defense played.||7||7-10-0|
|Who knew they would miss Trevor Siemian so much? Paxton Lynch wasn't as good as some expected. Now they have to play a game without Gary Kubiak.||4||5-12-0|
|With that offense, they will be a tough team to beat every week. Getting Le'Veon Bell back makes a big difference for the passing game.||--||9-8-0|
|They come off their bye with the Falcons coming to town. That won't be easy. But they have the talent to slow that offense.||--||9-8-0|
|They head to Green Bay to face the Packers, their first big-time road game. We will find out a lot about Dak Prescott.||--||12-5-0|
|They lost for the first time, which means their bye came at a bad time. The defense didn't look as good against the Lions.||4||14-3-0|
|They're 4-1, but they have some major defensive issues that need to be fixed. Teams are moving the ball easily on that unit.||--||6-11-0|
|Brock Osweiler was bad at Minnesota. That's not a good sign going forward.||2||3-13-1|
|They come off their bye with a big division road game against the Raiders.||5||14-3-0|
|They've won three straight games to put their slow start in the rear-view mirror. They play a tough game with the Eagles this week.||5||8-8-1|
|At 3-2, they've really turned their season around. LeSean McCoy is running wild.||5||13-3-0|
|At one point do they think about playing Jared Goff? They just aren't good enough with Case Keenum.||1||5-12-0|
|After their fast start, they've dropped two tough home games to fall to 3-2 as they ready to face the Giants. Will firing Marc Trestman impact the offense?||4||10-7-0|
|They won without Carson Palmer last Thursday and now should have him back against the Jets and former coordinator Todd Bowles.||5||4-13-0|
|Is Marvin Lewis in trouble if they don't get it going? It won't be easy to get it started at New England this week either.||5||12-4-0|
|They're back home this week after two brutal prime-time road games against the Vikings and Packers. They spent a lot of money in free agency to be 2-3.||4||9-7-1|
|They come off their bye with a division game against the Panthers. Neither team can afford a loss with Atlanta playing so well.||4||7-10-0|
|That was a big victory at Carolina heading to the bye. Now they need to get many of the injured back.||7||8-9-0|
|Now 2-3, that just might have been a season-saving victory against the Eagles. Can they build on it?||8||9-8-0|
|In a bad division, they are far from done. That doesn't mean they are a team without issues. It's a big one with Houston this week.||4||4-12-1|
|There sure aren't people talking up coach Todd Bowles now. A 1-4, their season is going bad quickly.||4||7-10-0|
|They come off their bye with a road game at Chicago and a division that's wide open. When does the offense get it going?||1||9-8-0|
|So Exotic Smashmouth can work when you play a bad team. It just can't work all the time. But here comes the Browns this week.||5||7-10-0|
|Can you believe they are this far down in the rankings? They are playing for their season this week in New Orleans.||11||7-10-0|
|Mike McCoy look finished. They just keep blowing leads.||7||10-7-0|
|So now it's Brian Hoyer who should start over Jay Cutler? Wasn't that Josh McCown a few years ago? When will the Bears learn?||4||3-14-0|
|This is a team in need of a talent overhaul. They just don't have enough of it.||7||9-8-0|
|When do they make a quarterback change? It's coming. It should be Colin Kaepernick time soon.||2||13-4-0|
|What is it with all the quarterbacks getting hurt? Can one team be this snake-bitten?||--||7-10-0|