1. Sam Bradford flashed the kind of skill set that justifies the bold trade to acquire him. The Vikings wisely waited until he was ready enough before throwing him out onto the field. But once he was, they did not have the liberty of easing him in. Bradford threw 23 passes in the first half and 31 overall, completing 22 of them for 286 yards and two scores. He has been known to dink and dunk throughout his career, but he was not afraid to let it loose against the Packers, attacking the intermediate areas and going deep a few times. Bradford threw a beautiful ball to Stefon Diggs on their 44-yard connection in the second quarter and he showed his teammates something when he was willing to take a hard hit while throwing a rocket up the numbers to Diggs on his second touchdown pass. Bradford left his new teammates in awe of his poise and toughness on that big play.
2. These Vikings defenders certainly do not fear Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Many players would quiver when faced with the prospect of having to stop Rodgers not once but twice to escape with a win. Not this group, though. They have been through this before and seemed to relish getting another opportunity to shut down the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback. In last year’s season finale, the Vikings defense was on the field for most of the second half as Rodgers tried to rally the Packers back. But the defense stood tall in that division-clinching victory, just like they did last night. With the Vikings leading 17-14, defensive end Brian Robison ended one drive by spiking the ball out of Rodgers’ hands and fumble luck finally went the Vikings’ way. Then, after the two-minute warning, Trae Waynes made a heck of a play to pick off Rodgers and seal the win.
3. The new-look Vikings offensive line was officially a mess in its first two games together. That fivesome was more or less given a pass for its poor run-blocking performance in Tennessee because they prevented Shaun Hill from getting sacked. But in the win against the Packers, the struggles in the running game persisted and Bradford was sacked four times while getting hit hard on several occasions. The numbers are troubling. Based on the performance of the linemen the past two weeks, they are on pace to allow 224 pressures in 16 games, according to Pro Football Focus, and before getting injured last night Peterson averaged about 7 inches — yes, that’s inches, not yards — this season before getting hit by a defender. This group still has plenty of time to come together before the playoff push. But at this rate, will Bradford still be standing by the time it happens?