Packers win leaves Vikings with opportunity

The Vikings still have to take care of their job Sunday, but they could have an opportunity to lead the division if they can win on the road.

The Vikings watched on with interest Thursday night as the Bears and Packers had the latest installment in their division rivalry, which seemed to have the same amount of trash talking and animosity that the Chicago-Green Bay rivalry typically has. But, what came out of that game was pretty important – both for the teams involved and the Vikings.

Green Bay was on the brink of starting the season 0-2, losing both at home and having a loss in hand to both San Francisco and the Bears. After getting knocked all over Lambeau Field by the 49ers, the Packers were exposed as being vulnerable to power running teams. When they face a team like the Bears, who suddenly believe they can be a passing juggernaut, the Packers looked much better.

On the other hand, the Bears looked awful almost the entire game. Jay Cutler had the slumped shoulders and hound dog expression that have typified his bad games as a member of the Bears. Everything looked bad for the Bears – Cutler took a beating, Matt Forte got hurt, Brandon Marshall dropped passes (including one that would have been a touchdown) and the Chicago defense gave up big plays too often.

Where this could impact the Vikings is that the same team that looked like it might get shut out by the Packers was the team that rolled up 41 points on the Indianapolis Colts, the Vikings' opponent on Sunday. That speaks more to the problems the Colts have on defense, not so much that the Bears have an offense that strikes fear. If the Vikings needed any encouragement that they can beat the Colts on the road Sunday, the Bears' Thursday collapse four days after rolling the Colts has to be an encouraging sign.

The scenario that was theorized earlier this week in which the Vikings could end the week alone atop the NFC North came one step closer to fruition Thursday night. The Packers and Bears now both sit at 1-1. Detroit heads into San Francisco Sunday night, where the 49ers are favored. If San Francisco holds it ground on its home field, the Lions will drop to 1-1, which would end up leaving the Vikings in first place all by themselves at 2-0 if they can win on the road.

While NFL teams can differ greatly from one week to the next – looking like world-beaters in one game and bums in the following game (see Chicago) – the Vikings have the opportunity to take advantage of the current situation and get off to the best start for the team since 2009, albeit against non-playoff competition.

FRIDAY NOTES

  • Jared Allen shrugged off accusations made by Jaguars tackle Eugene Monroe that Allen was a dirty player for hitting Blaine Gabbert on a play in which Allen was called for an offside penalty, Allen defended his actions and dropped the gauntlet with Monroe.

    "I don't read the papers, so I don't know what he said," Allen said.

    When informed what Monroe said, Allen responded, "He's just an O-lineman whining about getting his quarterback hit and upset they lost. I ain't got time for that. I'm not worried about them. You know what? They got a free play. First of all, I don't think I was offsides, but (the officials) didn't blow the whistler until after his guy got sacked. So it happens."

  • The final injury reports will be released this afternoon with the projections as to whether injured players will be ruled out or listed as doubtful, questionable or probable.

  • According to early reports out of Indianapolis, LB Dwight Freeney will not play and WR Austin Collie will be doubtful.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.


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