Welcome to the Monday edition of The Cooler, where my boasts of discovering the Internet are easy to disprove with basic facts. Let’s get to it:

*On Wednesday last week, Mike Zimmer was in the midst of some pretty short answers during a press briefing when he latched onto a question about Xavier Rhodes’ penalties early this season to deliver a message.

“I know everybody wants to evaluate everybody after four weeks, but I think if you remember last year or early in the year Xavier had some penalties early in the year. We cleaned them up. This isn’t a time for “woe is me,'” Zimmer said. “If people remember we were 2-2 this time last year. We finished 13-3. We were 5-0 the year before and we finished 8-8. We were 2-2 the year before that and we finished 11-5, so all the predictors, this isn’t a good time to predict.”

It was clearly a message to all those preparing to write off the Vikings, who were 1-2-1 and struggling mightily on defense heading into one of their toughest games of the season at Philadelphia. If it seemed a bit desperate or wishful at the time, it seems more prescient in the wake of Sunday’s 23-21 victory — a game the Vikings led 20-3 at one point and very much controlled for much of the day.

Tom Baker for Star Tribune
VideoVideo (01:40): Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter says the team had a great week of practice before playing Philadelphia, leading to Sunday's 23-21 victory.

Zimmer’s quote had all the facts right about what happened the previous three seasons. The Vikings were sputtering in 2015 through four games, then took off with a five-game win streak starting in Game 5. They were an early Super Bowl favorite in 2016 after starting 4-0 (and eventually 5-0) before offensive line woes contributed mightily to a 3-8 stretch to end the year. And last year, the Vikings were again 2-2 and looked headed for a dead-end year with Sam Bradford injured and Dalvin Cook out for the year. Then Case Keenum took them on an improbable journey to 13-3.

This year, of course, the Vikings had big issues in all three phases of the game — with defensive woes being the most surprising and troubling. They got much of it sorted out Sunday and got a wonderful performance under pressure from Kirk Cousins. Now their record is all square after playing three of their first five on the road against presumed NFC contenders.

The bizarre 27-6 loss to Buffalo still feels like it could negatively impact the season, but turning a potential “L” into a “W” in Philly helps square that. At the very least, it added credence to what Zimmer said last week about judging his teams after four games.

*Speaking of Cousins, Sunday was his best game so far in purple. In particular, his 68-yard completion to Adam Thielen — with the Vikings backed deep in their own territory and Cousins hit as he threw — was a thing of beauty. It was very reminiscent of the play in last year’s NFC title game that shifted momentum permanently: Keenum being hit as he threw to the sideline, leading to a pick-six. Only this time, the outcome was far different.

*Dan Bailey struggled early against Philadelphia, missing two field goals. But the fact that he was able to gather himself and deliver a clutch 52-yarder right down the middle to seal the game late in the fourth quarter was quite possibly the difference between a win and a loss.

Mason Crosby had a similarly day Sunday for Green Bay but couldn’t produce a similarly clutch redemption kick. His 56-yard try with 3:40 left and the Packers trailing by 11 went wide right, leaving the Packers down 31-20 and basically sealing their fate. Had he made that kick, I wouldn’t have bet against Aaron Rodgers getting the ball back and producing a TD/two-point conversion to send that game to overtime.

*The Gophers volleyball team is on a tear. They’ve won seven matches in a row since losing a pair a month ago on the West Coast, including a 3-1 win at Nebraska on Saturday. At least give third-ranked Nebraska this credit: it was able to at least take a set from the Gophers. The rest of their matches during the streak have been sweeps.

*This might be my favorite Linval Joseph oxygen mask take:

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