The Vikings’ 16-0 victory over Green Bay on sloppy turf and during a sloppy game at Lambeau Field on Saturday night positions them to become one of the best regular-season teams in franchise history.
If they can beat the woeful Chicago Bears next weekend at U.S. Bank Stadium, the 2017 Vikings will become the second team in franchise history to win 13 or more games in a regular season.
This team is good enough to play a relatively poor game and still beat its primary rival on the road.
If there was a concern that arose on Saturday night, other than the usual array of worrisome injuries, it was that Case Keenum looked less than sharp.
He threw three or four passes that could have been intercepted. He underthrew Stefon Diggs on one deep pass, and overthrew Adam Thielen on another, although the throw to Diggs enabled a pass-interference call.
The Packers are an injured, shallow, seemingly disorganized mess, and the Vikings struggled to put them away.
The Vikings played their intended starting offensive line together for the first time since October, but the group didn’t stay together long. Left guard Nick Easton left the game in the first quarter with an apparent leg injury. He wasn’t able to support his own weight.
Long-snapper Kevin McDermott left the game in the second quarter, with an apparent arm or hand injury. Left tackle Reilly Reiff limped off the field in the fourth quarter.
Other than that, the Vikings played the way superior teams often play in the NFL: Cautiously.
This game was much more about the Packers’ inability to function without Rodgers than about Vikings dominance. Brett Hundley rarely threw to anyone other than his primary receiver, and on the one promising Packer drive of the first half, he threw into double coverage and was intercepted by Vikings’ safety Harrison Smith.
Smith would add a second interception later in the game, as Hundley appeared to identify him as a primary receiver.
Throughout the game, players slipped on Lambeau’s soggy turf. What was most strange was that it was mostly Packers slipping, particularly Hundley.
In what may turn out to be an historic season, the Vikings can afford to be picky about the way they achieve their victories.
This wasn’t their finest hour, and yet this could become one of their finest seasons.