Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota is the best team in the NFC North, and right now it’s not close.
That’s where I stand after seeing all four division teams play this week. Chicago has played decently since its opening-week loss at Green Bay. But no one has beaten anyone from a physical standpoint as much as the Vikings defeated the Packers on Monday.
Let me correct that. The Vikings didn’t just beat the Packers. They beat ‘em up.
Yes, I know quarterback Brett Favre will grab all the headlines after a sharp -- and emotionally controlled-- performance. Favre finished with a near-perfect passer rating after completing 24 of 31 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns.
But this game was decided just as much by the way the Vikings’ defensive front just absolutely throttled the Packers. Favre protégé Aaron Rodgers finished with some good-looking final numbers, completing 26 of 37 passes for 384 yards and two touchdowns, but the Vikings sacked him eight times and had him dancing in the pocket for most of the game. Defensive end Jared Allen led the way with 4.5 sacks.
It was nothing new for the Packers, who entered Week 4 having given up an NFL-high 12 sacks. There might have only been a seven-point difference on the scoreboard, but there seemed to me to be a much bigger gap between these two teams.