(Photo courtesy: www.gamedaygold.com)
After a bye week, the Vikings enter a brutal six-game stretch to finish the 2012 season. At 6-4, are they playoff contenders or pretenders? That's the primary question to be answered in the weeks ahead, starting this Sunday in Chicago -- a game quarterback Christian Ponder calls "the most important" of his career.
How does the rest of the world see the Vikings situation? For a glimpse, here's how the various Power Ranking list-makers see Minnesota in the latest 1 through 32 rankings:
FoxSportshas the Vikings at No. 16 this week, down one spot from Week 11. Author Brian Billick says it'll be hard for the Vikings to find two wins the rest of the way.
CBS Sportsis a believer, saying Minnesota is in "the thick of a playoff race" --- as long as Christian Ponder plays well. CBS has the Vikings at No. 15, the same spot as Week 11.
SB Nation has the Purple unchanged from last week, at No. 14. Their take: "Now comes the fun part."
The Bleacher Report also has the Minnesota at No. 13 -- the same as last week. They agree with CBS, saying No. 7 is the key: "Ponder has looked great at times and maddeningly bad at others."