After the Vikings rolled to a 31-13 home win over the Texans on Sunday to become the last undefeated team left standing, Marc Sessler of NFL.com put together a number of takeaways from the game. He wrote:
It's time to take the Vikings very, very seriously. [Head Coach] Mike Zimmer's club marched into Sunday without their starting quarterback, running back and wide receiver. None of it mattered, though, as signal-caller Sam Bradford continued to look like an ideal match for [Vikings Offensive Coordinator] Norv Turner's offense […]. This is the finest version of Bradford the NFL community has ever seen, and his capable work through [four starts] can no longer be ignored.
Sessler pointed out a few problems that Houston's offense encountered, including Minnesota's defensive backs.
*One painful issue for [Texans quarterback Brock] Osweiler was a super-sticky Vikings secondary that swallowed up [DeAndre] Hopkins and [Will] Fuller to help unleash a wild Minnesota pass rush that sacked the Texans passer four times, registered four tackles for loss and posted 13 quarterback hits. *
No box score can adequately express how dominant this Zimmer-led defense looked for long stretches on Sunday. The Vikings are playing at a Super Bowl-level on this side of the ball and look just as powerful as last year's Broncos. The sky is the limit.
Finally, Sessler offered credit to the Vikings home crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium. He said the Vikings new digs have already garnered a reputation for being one of the "fiercest, rough-and-tumble playing environments" across the NFL.
The energy around this team – and its glowing, new field – is the best story of the young NFL season. The Vikings own a league-best eight straight wins in the regular season, and nothing about that is a fluke.
ESPN's Dan Graziano: Vikings are the real deal
The Vikings are headed into the bye week 5-0, and ESPN's Dan Graziano says the team is "no mirage." He wrote:
Some will posit the Vikings 5-0 start as one of the early season NFL surprises. The Vikings themselves are not surprised. They have believed, through the entire offseason and after major injuries to their quarterback, star running back and left tackle, that they were built to withstand anything and win a championship. The evidence we've seen so far makes it tough to argue.
Graziano highlighted the trade for Bradford, which he said proved that the Vikings were expecting to compete for a title this season. He said it's the defense, however, that makes Minnesota a contender.
Graziano pointed out that opposing quarterbacks – Marcus Mariota, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Eli Manning and most recently Brock Osweiler – have completed just 55.5 percent of their passes against the Vikings, and they've combined for four touchdowns and seven interceptions. In addition, the Vikings have wreaked havoc with their 19 sacks of talented passers.
Ronnie Hillman says Vikings camaraderie mirrors Broncos
Since the Vikings signed running back Ronnie Hillman three weeks ago when Adrian Peterson underwent knee surgery, he's been working hard to learn Minnesota's offense. While he does that, he's building relationships with his new teammates.
Charlie Walters of the Pioneer Press spoke to Hillman about his transition to Minnesota from Denver, with whom he won the Super Bowl last season.
"The big thing is the camaraderie," Hillman told Walters. "This team plays for each other, and that's the biggest part. This team has the same brotherhood — these guys treat each other like family the exact same [as in Denver], and that's what you need to have a championship team.
"I saw it here right away, how these guys treat each other with respect and without excuses — they're accountable for what they do, and that's definitely a good trait to have as a whole," Hillman added. "The guys are cool."