NFC North power rankings: Packers close gap, Lions uncertainty after playoff meltdown

Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers / Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
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The Green Bay Packers or Detroit Lions should be playing in the Super Bowl. Both teams had the San Francisco 49ers on the ropes but failed to put the game away.

Green Bay missed multiple opportunities to pull away in the divisional round, and a missed field goal proved costly. Detroit threw away a 17-point halftime lead to suffer an NFC title game defeat on par with the Packers' famous loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

But both teams can look back on excellent seasons with pride. There is excitement for the future.

Where do things stand in the NFC North entering a fascinating offseason? What's next for the Chicago Bears? Can the Minnesota Vikings bounce back? Here are the updated NFC North power rankings now that all four teams are eliminated.

4. Minnesota Vikings

How different would things have gone if Kirk Cousins hadn't suffered a season-ending injury? The Vikings won their third straight game by defeating the Packers at Lambeau Field when Cousins got hurt, and they still came close to a playoff berth without him.

But Minnesota faces an uncertain offseason. Cousins is a free agent in March, leaving the Vikings with a massive decision. Star pass rusher Danielle Hunter is also a free agent—he made 16.5 sacks, 22 quarterback hits, and a league-best 23 tackles for loss this season.

Where do the Vikings go from here? Run it back or rebuild? An offseason of uncertainty awaits.