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Vikings move to the top of the heap

We are now at the quarter point of the 2011 NFL season (if you can believe that) and it is time to separate the contenders from the pretenders for No. 1.

The No. 1 pick in the draft, of course.

Some team might be down in the dumps right now but, with a stroke of luck, could end up with that top pick and quickly be a contender for the Super Bowl in coming years.

Big week for the alternative rankings considering that last week's Impossa Bowl (Minnesota at Kansas City) is being followed by the Impossa Bowl II (Kansas City at Indianapolis) this week. Just like that, the Chiefs could really take themselves out of this thing.

Also receiving votes: New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles (we're watching you), Denver Broncos.

And without further ado ...




The Jaguars have been flying low on the radar, but any team that has scored just 39 points in four weeks, and has been outscored by 46 points this season deserves some recognition. Now some might say that the Jags would have no use for the No. 1 pick because they have Blaine Gabbert, but Jimmy Clausen probably thought the same thing, too. Up next: vs. Cincinnati.




The Chiefs had everything going for them with Matt Cassel and Todd Haley, but let it all slip away with an unfortunate victory over the Vikings. Sometimes the other team just wants it more, and it was clear that Minnesota clearly wanted that L. Cassel and Haley did give it a go with their sideline blowup, but it was not enough to earn the loss. If the Chiefs miss out on No. 1, they have nobody to blame but themselves. They have another chance to disprove themselves this week. Up next: at Indianapolis.




St. Louis could be building a perfect storm for a team looking to capture the top spot. A decent enough team that has a knack for falling behind early, credit St. Louis for resisting Rex Grossman's attempts to give it the game. A better team would have taken advantage and actually won. But St. Louis stayed strong in defeat. Up next: bye.




Well, now it's all becoming clear why the Colts kept Curtis Painter on the bench, with his knowledge of the offense and his teammates admiration, Painter actually gave the Colts a chance to win Monday night. The Colts actually rallied around him -- and that's not good if you want to be bad. Expect to Colts to rush Kerry Collins back on to the field, otherwise Painter could do just enough to keep the Colts from being No. 1. Up next: vs. Kansas City.




Playing a Norv Turner-coached team early in the season is a recipe for a trap game for team looking to get out of San Diego with a loss. Credit backup quarterback Matt Moore for playing unspectacularly enough to give the Dolphins the big "L." The Dolphins move up from No. 4 this week, because while they have talent, coach Tony Sparano has them underachieving enough to make a serious bid for No. 1. Up next: bye.




The Vikings were really pressing their luck early in the season, jumping out to big leads before rallying for defeat to keep hope alive. The Vikings decided not to risk it by holding out for another second-half collapse, but instead choosing to collapse in the first half. And if the Vikings can hang on, Bernard Berrian deserves some consideration for Least Valuable Player. Up next: vs. Arizona.

Agree or disagree, contact Rank on both via Twitter or via Facebook. Be sure to catch the latest on the Dave Dameshek Football Program.

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