NFC North: Vikings-Jaguars
A big part of winning on the road, or in any NFL venue, is accepting every gift your opponent offers. In a not insignificant development, Minnesota did just that in a 30-12 victory at Jacksonville.
The Jaguars committed two turnovers in the first 20 seconds of the game, which the Vikings converted into the earliest 14-0 lead you could imagine. Jacksonville placekicker Josh Scobee missed two of his three field goal attempts, and so you didn't have to look far to find where the Vikings' 18-point margin of victory came from.
The Vikings hardly put on an offensive show, converting four of 13 third-down attempts and finishing with 226 total yards. But in a tight division race, the Vikings protected their lead and hoarded their gifts. It's a significant achievement for a team that hasn't always understood how to finish games in recent years.
Although they have some work to do -- quarterback Gus Frerotte needs to cajole his body through another five weeks, and there are some lingering questions about tailback Adrian Peterson's health -- the Vikings can feel proud about winning a game that few observers were counting on when the schedule was released.