16. NFL Power Rankings: Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings attempted a rebuild on the fly and actually came out of it in a decent position thanks to very shrewd drafting. The decision to trade Stefon Diggs to Buffalo yielded four draft picks, which Minnesota was able to leverage into more picks, allowing the team to fill holes vacated by the cap-necessitated releases of key defenders like Xavier Rhodes and Everson Griffen.
The NFC has gotten tougher since last season with Tampa Bay improving while teams like Atlanta and Dallas are potential rebound candidates, but the Vikings have enough in the tank to make another run at a wild card. The key will be how quickly Mike Zimmer’s coaching staff can make all of the new pieces fit together.
15. NFL Power Rankings: Atlanta Falcons
This is the other team that got off to a 1-7 start only to go 6-2 down the stretch. Unlike the Jets, who beat up on a bunch of bad teams, the Falcons scored wins over the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers as part of their hot finish.
People are sleeping on the Falcons since Brady joined Tampa Bay and that could be a massive mistake since Atlanta is a deep team that is just a few years removed from going to the Super Bowl. A fast start will be key for the Falcons since they don’t get to face either New Orleans or Tampa Bay until the second half of the season.