(This is a quick postgame post. My actual column will appear in the paper and on startribune.com later.)
The Vikings beat a historically bad team on Sunday morning in London, giving them a victory that was rarely picturesque but was desperately needed.
With a 33-16 victory over the Browns at Twickenham Stadium, they move to 6-2 on the season entering the bye, with time to figure out whether they want Case Keenum to remain their starting quarterback in the second half of the season.
That second half, by the way, will test the Vikings far more than did the first half, when they beat Drew Brees on opening night and then recorded their next five victories against inexperienced or struggling quarterbacks.
The Vikings should be worried that it took them three quarters to pull away from the Browns, who are 0-8 and have lost 26 of their last 27 games and were missing a couple of their best players.
Anthony Barr was strangely absent, and he and Everson Griffen seemed either confused or willing to give up on the play when Isaiah Crowell scored on a 26-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
But the Browns eventually devolved into the sloppy mess that they are, and the Vikings remained atop the NFC North for the forseeable future.
Their next five games, they’ll face five potential playoff teams. They won’t be able to ease into games then.