The Bengals' failures on Monday night offered a reminder:

The NFL does not have many, or any, great teams.

The Patriots come the closest to qualifying, but without Dion Lewis and Julian Edelman, they will be much easier to defend.

The Bengals? Still good, but Andy Dalton looked awful on Monday.

The Panthers? Impressive defense and quarterback play, but do you envision them winning a Super Bowl?

Broncos? Not without a healthy and productive Peyton Manning.

So here's where I think the Vikings fit into today's NFL top 10:


1. New England Patriots: Even without Lewis and Edelman the Pats have enough to cruise into the playoffs and be favored over anyone else in the AFC.

2. Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton is a great player and the Panthers' defense and running game complement him perfectly, even if he doesn't have great receivers at his disposal.

3. Arizona Cardinals: Have scored 302 points. Only New England, at 303, has scored more. Bruce Arians is a great coach. The Cards' point differential is 117.

4. Minnesota Vikings: They have generally been winning close. They were lucky to beat a mediocre Rams team in overtime at home. But five straight victories, a generally healthy roster and strong coaching make them a top-four team.

5. Cincinnati Bengals: They were awful Monday, but are 8-1 with a powerhouse defense and plenty of offensive weapons.

6. Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones is having an amazing season and the Falcons have found a runnin game, but will Dan Quinn be able to continue scheming around defensive holes?

7. Green Bay Packers: If Aaron Rodgers had spotted a wide-open Randall Cobb two weeks ago, the Packers would be 7-2 with a victory at Carolina. But he didn't, so the Pack has lost three straight.

8. New York Giants: Coughlin is making this team competitive again and Beckham is a phenomenon.

9. Buffalo Bills: This is a scary team - excellent defense, physical running game and when Tyrod Taylor is healthy he is dynamic.

10. Pittsburgh Steelers: Even with LeVeon Bell out and Ben Roethlisberger frequently hurt, the Steelers are 6-4 with a point differential of plus-45.


Newest MalePatternPurple from is up at the web site, with Viking Update's Tim Yotter and I breaking down the Packers and Vikings, and offering some of our favorite memories from the rivalry.