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Monday Morning Mailbag: Dominating On 'D'

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Great game, great win. Contributions from all facets of the team to produce another W. Do you think our current level of play is good enough to beat the Packers next week? I'm sure that after three losses in a row, they will be looking to take their frustration out on somebody. -- Brian  Britton SD

As a team that has won five straight and is now atop the division, the Vikings are now a hunted team as opposed to a team only doing the hunting. That means they will get their opponent's best shot on a weekly basis. Could the Vikings effort from Sunday in Oakland be good enough to win next Sunday against Green Bay? Maybe. But the Vikings shouldn't count on that. They should aim to improve upon this performance and continue improving every week. As coach Zimmer said after Sunday's win: It's not where you are right now, it's where you finish.

Do you believe we have the best defense in the NFL? -- Mike Castellino @MikeCastellino

There are several very good defenses in the NFL, including Carolina, Cincinnati, Denver, New England and Seattle, just to name a few. But I would put the Vikings right up there with those teams. The Vikings have the NFL's No. 1 scoring defense (17.1 points per game allowed), the No. 3 3rd down defense and the No. 4. red zone defense. There are a lot of ways to measure a defense and therefore a lot of different defenses you could point to as the League's best, but you'd be hard-pressed to have find a defense playing better than the Vikings right now.

What a great game. I think one of the huge reasons we won this is because of our offensive line. I don't care who you have at halfback, if you don't have an offensive line that can push guys around, Adrian's not getting lose for an 80-yard TD and 203 yards. Skol Vikes! -- Jackson Schell

Adrian Peterson is the type of running back who can elevate the game of those around him, including offensive linemen. But there's no question that the offensive line is doing a great job of paving the way for Peterson and the running game. Opposing defenses know that the run is coming, and yet the Vikings run blocking continues to be dominant. A lot of credit goes to the Vikings offensive line for that, particularly given the fact that this group just started playing together as a starting five right before Week 1. The group that worked together all of the offseason, training camp and preseason is not the same group that is out there now. Two starters – RT Phil Loadholt and C John Sullivan – had to be replaced right before the season. The guys up front are doing a great job and need to continue improving as the season progresses.

We have a really great defense but the offense, especially Teddy, hasn't shown up as much as we expected before the season started. Do you think that will cost us later in the season and especially trying to make a deep run in the playoffs? -- Simon Ruiz Bogota, Colombia

No, and actually I feel it's to the contrary. That the Vikings are winning games now is a testament to the defense, running game and special teams. Bridgewater is still a young and developing player who is learning and improving every time he's out on the field. That's why it's fair to expect the passing offense to improve and eventually start chipping in significantly, and once that happens the Vikings will be an even more complete team. We know they're capable of playing well and carrying the team – just look at how Bridgewater and the offense played at the end of the game in Soldier Field this year.

Just wanted to say a couple things. One thing I wanted to say the most is I'm extremely happy and stoked for how our team has been triumphant these last five weeks and I'm looking forward to a good next five weeks. Secondly, how do you feel about the grinder this team is going to be facing for the next month? -- Gabe Coon Rapids, MN

Every week is a grind in the NFL. There are no easy games and, therefore, no easy schedules. Looking ahead at the next quarter of the season, the Vikings have games against four quality opponents in the Packers, Falcons, Seahawks and Cardinals. Not making things any easier is the fact that the Seahawks and Cardinals games, which will both be very physical, are separated by just three days. It will be a challenging stretch for the Vikings but also a good test for a team that has ambitions of playing well into the new year.

Can Teddy win us a game by his arm? -- Michael Seyoum @mickeysey

The Vikings have won games in a lot of different ways this season. They are all team wins, of course, but sometimes one particular phase steps up when other phases are having a tougher day. The passing numbers haven't been gaudy this season, but that doesn't mean Bridgewater can't take control of a game and win it. In fact, Bridgewater did just that in Chicago this year, guiding the Vikings to 10 points in the final two minutes to win the game. He put together a seven-play, 84-yard TD drive to tie the game and then drove the offense 48 yards in four plays to setup Blair Walsh for the game-winning FG. So, yes, Bridgewater and the passing game can help lead to the Vikings to victory.

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