There was some legitimate concern about the Vikings after that miserable loss in Arizona last Sunday. E.J. Henderson suffered a season-ending fractured leg, Brett Favre threw two interceptions and had his worst game of the season, and tackle Phil Loadholt suffered a separated shoulder. There was talk about the Vikings bubble bursting, and that they were exposed by a team that is a legitimate playoff contender.
The Cincinnati Bengals were a hot team coming into the Metrodome. And they sure didn't look like one on Sunday. They made upteen mistakes, including 11 penalties. The Vikings silenced some critics for the week as they manhandled Cincinnati, 30-10.
It wasn't one of Favre's best games either, but he was good enough, as he went 17-for-30 for 192 yards, with 1 TD and an INT. The Vikings jumped out with a field goal to start the second quarter, and Favre later hit Sidney Rice with a TD from 9 yards to make it 10-0. Cincinnati answered it back with a long drive, capped by a 15-yard TD pass from Carson Palmer to Chad Johnson (I refuse to call him by that inane nickname he calls himself). The Vikings added a field goal late in the quarter, but the Bengals tried to add a score in the dying seconds, but a fumble led to Ryan Longwell adding another to make it 16-7 at the half.
The Vikings took the ball to start the half and went down the field, eating up the clock and was capped off when Adrian Peterson ran it in from 1 yard to make it 23-7. Peterson capped off another long drive in the fourth with another TD, from three yards that gave the Vikings a 30-10 win.
The defense was terrific today, although they got just one sack. They held running back Cedric Benson to just 96 yards, and the Vikings have not allowed a 100-yard game to a RB in 36 consecutive games.
There was a festive mood at Bar None in Manhattan, with the Vikings fans calling out the Saints fans who were in the back, celebrating their team's tough win in Atlanta. The Saints continue to be undefeated, and a showdown in the NFC title game would make that bar the place to be in late January.
The Vikings locked up a playoff berth, and now still have a first-round bye to shoot for, and will attempt to get that next Sunday night in Carolina. They will officially be playing deeper into January, and hopefully into February.