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NFL.com: NFC 'Wide Open' at Season's Midpoint

NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal recapped all of Week 8's action, including Monday night's loss by the Vikings against the Bears.

Rosenthal wrote that the "Chicago Horror Picture Show" was a "reminder of how young this season remains, how tenuous our assumptions are, how wide open the NFC looks."

Losing convincingly to the Bears does not equate to a Norse funeral for this Minnesota squad, just a stark realization that no wins are guaranteed with offensive line issues this pronounced. The Vikings have shown too much mental toughness and talent on defense to count out, even if giving up 403 yards to Jay Cutler and friends is a concern. The Vikings were never a squad set to sail to a 14-2 record, something that's true for the entire conference.

Minnesota is one of three teams in the NFC with five or more wins heading into Week 9.

Dallas is 6-1, and Atlanta is 5-3. There are six other teams in the conference with four wins: the Seahawks are 4-2-1, Giants, Eagles and Packers are all 4-3, the Redskins are 4-3-1, and the Lions are 4-4.

Add it all up and we should be headed for a mad dash for playoff spots and seeding in the NFC. It's a season where teams with flaws should look around, quietly be unimpressed with their surroundings and think, "Why not us?"

SI: Could Vikings push tempo more?

Sam Bradford was sacked five times in Monday night's 20-10 loss in Chicago. That came on the heels on the Vikings quarterback getting sacked six times against the Eagles.

With Minnesota facing a strong pass rush on a consistent basis, Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated suggested the Vikings push the pace on offense.

Burke wrote:

Cranking up the pace could be of some help. Even when they were down multiple possessions in the second half, the Vikings took their sweet time in between plays. Facing a 20-3 deficit late in the third quarter, they embarked on a deliberate, five-minute drive that resulted in a punt from midfield. 

Merely playing up-tempo does not turn a mediocre offense into a great one, but Bradford has had success with such an approach before. He excelled in college in an up-tempo offense and was better than he's given credit for under Chip Kelly last season.

*If nothing else, a little urgency combined with an emphasis on getting the ball out of Bradford's hands quickly would help drain the relentless pass rushes Minnesota has seen. *

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