We've written this before, and we'll write again now: Without Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers are essentially the Minnesota Vikings.
We had plenty of evidence before, but the point could not have been driven home more beautifully than it was Sunday, with the rarest of NFL rarities: the tie.
Both teams leaned heavily on the run game Sunday, with the two best players on the field offensively being Adrian Peterson and Eddie Lacy.
Both teams have flawed defenses that are capable of giving up huge chunks of yards at any given moment.
Both teams had quarterbacks who made plays and kept them in the game -- just not enough plays to win the game when it mattered most. Christian Ponder and the relieving Matt Flynn, in fact, both had numerous chances with the ball in their hands to win the game. Ponder couldn't make a couple of first downs to seal the game. Flynn and the Packers settled for a field goal to tie late. Ponder couldn't do anything in a hurry-up drive at the end of regulation. Flynn misfired on a third-and-goal pass in overtime, as the Packers settled for a field goal. Ponder and the Vikings marched back down but had to settle for the same.
It was a stark reminder of just how important great QB play is in the NFL. If Rodgers would have played Sunday, there is no chance the Packers fall behind, and there is no chance they lose. End of story.
If there is some solace for Vikings fans, it is this: the purple kept the Packers from creeping back into a tie in the NFC North on a day the Lions and Bears lost. At the end of the year, a tie can be as good as a win or as bad as a loss. We'll see which it is for Green Bay.
Speaking of the QB of the future ... the Vikings with a loss would have moved into a four-way tie for the worst record in the NFL -- and likely would have held the tiebreaker for the No. 1 pick based on this. Instead, they sit in 4th place in the draft order at 2-8-1, and they didn't even get the satisfaction of a victory.
Classic Vikings, even as they remind us of the Packers and vice-versa.