Sunday’s game felt especially meaningful for the Vikings; coming off a bye, with the first half of the season in the rearview mirror, Minnesota had a successful squad that hadn’t yet been greatly tested. It looked like an improved and well-rounded team, but there was no way to know if the success was due mostly to their own competence or their relatively soft, home-heavy schedule to that point.
The Redskins game looked to be a good test of this — a solid team, on the road, in a difficult environment. Many, including me, saw this as a stage for a possible letdown. A loss to Washington would have put a dent in the notion that the Vikings are legitimate NFC contenders, and probably bring on a tidal wave of concerns about another second half collapse. It was an important game, for morale as much as the standings.
With their 38-30 win at Washington, the Vikings answered a lot of questions, and solidified themselves as one of the elite teams in the NFC. And this is in large part because of the way their roster is constructed; deep, balanced, and talented. Rick Spielman has had an up and down tenure as the Vikings’ general manager, and opinions on him range widely. I’ve always been of the belief his personnel decisions have been more positive than negative, but no matter your personal feelings, it’s hard to argue that the 2017 Vikings aren’t his finest work yet.