The Sports Ramble is the weekly sports blog of Erik Ritland. The St. Paul, Minnesota journalist and musician is the founder of Rambling On. Learn more about us on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or our website.
They are who we thought they weren't anymore
I, like many people who have watched the Vikings this year, thought things were different. They were winning close games instead of blowing them and beating division rivals (and on the road, even). Where Vikings teams of old would have faltered in the past they flourished in 2015.
Defense supposedly wins Super Bowls, and theirs was statistically one of the best in the league. Then there's Adrian, a decent (but overrated) receiving group, and an average-to-above-average quarterback. Things looked like they were trending in the right direction.
And they still are, even if they looked like garbage against the Packers. Don't fool yourself, either - they looked terrible. Was the officiating suspect? Yes, but for both sides (refs have been even worse than usual all year). For every Bridgewater face mask there was an Adrian taking his helmet off. The Newman pass interference was Rodgers being savvy and taking advantage of a situation. After all, Barr did have illegal contact after five yards.
That being said, just because the Vikings are improved, and are improving quicker than they should be, doesn't mean that they won't have games like this where everything seems to go wrong. Hell, they even still have one (or more?) chances this year to prove that they can beat the Packers, as I predicted they would.
A word on my friends, your enemies
After three abysmal games Green Bay looked like the team everybody thought they were. Through craftiness, good game planning (especially by their suspect defense), and the resurgence of their running game they thoroughly dismantled the surging Vikings.
Will it last, though? If Eddie Lacy can continue his dominance, yes. Teams need to be afraid of the run so the below average Packer receivers can get open. Their defense is still a question mark, but how they adapted for the Vikings proves that coaching and game planning can make up for lack of talent. Whether they can do that against better offenses will play a large part in how many more games they win this year.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling Onfeatures commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He was also Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik's music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.