Even the most level-headed among us were tempted to write off the Vikings after a 20-3 loss to San Francisco in Week 1 on Monday night. It wasn’t just the loss or even necessarily the score; it was the manner in which the game unfolded, with the Vikings looking confused and overmatched at just about every turn against a team many figured wasn’t going to be very good.
Were the Vikings overinflated, enough so that we should be worried about the entire season? Were the 49ers better than we thought?
As it turns out, at least as of 3:30 p.m. Sunday — less than two weeks after the conclusion of that ugly Monday night game — both answers appear to be an emphatic “no.”
The Vikings in week 2 and week 3 — playing at home, notably — looked almost exactly like the version of the team most imagined they would be this season: physical on defense, balanced on offense, a tough team that wasn’t going to give away games.
The defense told much of the story Sunday against San Diego, matching the Chargers point-for-point (7 allowed, 7 scored on Chad Greenway’s never-ending interception return) until a garbage time TD. For the second consecutive week, the pass rush and various blitzes dialed up by Mike Zimmer and co. made life miserable for an opposing quarterback.
Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t nearly as efficient this week as he was a week ago, but he didn’t have to be. Adrian Peterson looked like his vintage self. It was a win the way Zimmer wants them to look: routine but not flashy.
In conjunction with the mess the 49ers have found themselves in since beating the Vikings — getting clobbered by Pittsburgh in Week 2 and starting Sunday against the Cardinals by allowing back-to-back pick-sixes, with both games on the road — it helped remind us that 1) home field still matters quite a bit in the NFL. 2) No conclusions should be drawn after Week 1. And 3) This is a strange, unpredictable league.