I think we can all agree, thanks to the Green Bay Packers, we can stick a fork in the Minnesota Vikings.
They’re dead. Their season is officially over after the Packers thoroughly dominated them and old man Brett Favre in a 31-3 victory at the Metrodome.
None of us thought it would be as easy as it was, but the Packers not only showed they’re one of the best teams in the NFL, but that the Vikings have either given up or are so dysfunctional they can’t compete on the highest level anymore.
Nowhere was the disparity between the two teams more evident than at the quarterback position, where Favre was terrible and Packers signal caller Aaron Rodgers was masterful, after a first quarter where he couldn’t quite find his groove.
Rodgers finished 22-of-31 for 301 yards and four touchdowns, while old man Favre was more or less the complete opposite. Favre missed more than his share of open receivers and finished 17-of-38 for 208 yards and an interception.
While Favre was overthrowing Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin, Rodgers was connecting with Greg Jennings seven times for 152 yards and three touchdowns.
Jennings has become the Packers’ offensive difference maker that everyone expected tight end Jermichael Finley to be before he went on injured reserve.
Similarly, James Jones seems to be taking over Donald Driver’s role as the Packers’ No. 2 receiver, if he hasn’t already. Jones finished the day with three catches for 51 yards and a beautiful one-handed grab for a touchdown at the end of the second quarter.
The Packers didn’t do much running on the day, but they didn’t have to.
Perhaps the only flaw the Packers had on offense was allowing Aaron Rodgers to get sacked three times. Although one of the sacks was Rodgers’ fault for holding onto the ball for an eternity, rookie right tackle Bryan Bulaga again had trouble in pass protection. Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards had two sacks on the day and at least one of them was Bulaga’s fault.
The offense was so efficient after the first quarter, it seemed like the defense was hardly on the field. The Packers held the ball for 33:16, while the Vikings’ lackluster offense had it for only 26:44.
As you would expect from a Brett Favre-led team, the Packers came up with two turnovers. The first came on a beautiful strip by Charles Woodson on running back Toby Gerhart that was recovered by A.J. Hawk. The second came on a Tramon Williams interception, after Williams made a great read and stepped in front of a Favre pass.
Let’s be clear, both the Packers’ corners are playing like Pro Bowlers, but Williams is playing like an All Pro. Woodson recorded seven tackles on the day in addition to the forced fumble and was a disruptive force all over the field. Williams had only one tackle, but played his usual brand of lockdown coverage.
I think it’s time Tramon Williams got an island named after him.
The other defensive star for the Packers was, of course, Clay Matthews, who had five tackles and a sack.
Most impressively, the Packers defense was able to hold Adrian Peterson in check. The Vikings running back finished with 72 yards and was never able to establish a rhythm, which is in evidence in the time of possession.
Perhaps the most encouraging thing to come out of the victory is the fact Brett Favre will not have a winning record against the Green Bay Packers and the Packers beat him down and beat him up in the final two games against his former team.
It’s only fitting.
The question for the Vikings, who are a complete mess, is what happens first? Do they fire coach Brad Childress or does Favre get benched? You certainly can make a case for both.
As for the Packers, they remain tied atop the NFC North with the Chicago Bears at 7-3, heading into what will be one of the biggest games of the season, next week at Atlanta.