NFC North Wide Open For Minnesota Vikings
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Minnesota finds themselves a mere one game behind Green Bay and tied at 3-2 with Chicago within their division. With two home games in three weeks and a short trip to Detroit, the hay’s in the barn for the Vikings.
With their convincing win in New York, the Vikings are in position to move right back where they want to be, on top of the NFC North division.
Yeah , the Packers played well with a big win at Dallas on Sunday. But, let’s face it, there’s a tear showing in that Cowboy leather of late. They sure can’t stop the run–or much of the pass.
Aaron Rodgers, curse him, was masterful even without his ace WR in Davante Adams, and his running back Aaron Jones is reminding a few folks of Ahman Green. Still, with a disappointing loss against the Eagles last week in Lambeau, there remains a vulnerability in the Pack that I just can’t shake.
I think it gets proven with loss at home to Detroit next week.
The Bears lost a stunner to the Raiders in England. Why in England? I don’t know. Ask Roger Goddell. We’re cultivating global interest in the National Football League by playing it internationally. I don’t see a lot of big Cricket games being played in the States. Greedy.
Still, the Bears loss is not good for them. They’re in the absolute basement in offensive rankings and get the surging New Orleans Saints next week. Another loss and they’re not going to be playing with the confidence they did last year.
Also, Chicago’s Pro Bowl defensive tackle Akiem Hicks may be lost for several weeks with a severe elbow injury suffered on Sunday.
Vikings on The Move
Meanwhile, not disrespecting the Detroit Lions, the Vikings got the get well game they wanted in the Big Apple on Sunday, playing as a team from whistle to whistle. There are those who would discount the New York Giants’ as a pushover, but viewers of the contest saw something of a solid young leader in QB Daniel Jones, and I think the Giants will play well in the remaining regular season, though they need a reasonable running game while Saquon Barkely is sidelined.
Running back Dalvin Cook is, without question, now playing better than we have ever seen him; in 2018, as a rookie, or even when he was torching top college defenses as a Florida State Seminole. When the Vikings won 11 of 12 games to end up at 13-3 in 2017, there didn’t have anything close to Cook as a home-run hitter on offense.
In the locker room after the game, Vikings’ coach Mike Zimmer presented a game ball to Viking owners Mark and Zygi Wilf, both New Yorkers, who grew up New York Giants’ fans. It was a gesture of both celebration and reassurance that their team remained in good hands, despite the conflagration of critical and political press last week.
Still, Zimmer was a bit short with reporters in his post-game talk after Sunday’s game. He didn’t elaborate on Stefon Digg’s status and was deft with his “satisfaction” in the balance of the Minnesota offense. He smarted a bit when speaking about his defense–knowing there were plays they missed–but it’s hard to argue with only ten points allowed in an away game.
In his way–a coach’s way–he seemed pleased, but ready to move on to next week.
Northern Road Ahead
Minnesota gets after a Philadelphia Eagles team next Sunday in nearly their exact position in the NFC East. At 3-2, they cannot afford to lose ground to a Cowboy team with the same record, while the Giants remain just a game behind them.
In the Vikings’ last two games against the Philadelphia Eagles, no one is likely to forget the Eagles’ profound NFC Championship Game victory in January of 2018, nor the Vikings defeat of Philadelphia the very next regular season, both in Lincoln Field. The rubber match is on.
From there, the Vikings will face the Lions (now at 2-1-1) in Detroit, and then return home to take on a pretty awful Washington Redskins team at US Bank Stadium. It would be in their best interests to play well during October, as on November 3rd they travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs and then follow with a trip to Dallas to take on the Cowboys.
For now, those games need to be out of mind for Mike Zimmer’s team. They’ve got both Eagles to ground and ground to make up.
It seems they’re starting to understand things like that.