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Vikings NFC North Rivals: News and Notes, Week 9

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I read up on our division opponents so you don’t have to!

Green Bay Packers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

The Bears. The got dayum Bears were the only NFC North team to win this weekend. And now they’re back in first place. Stupid week eight. But, it could have been much... much worse. The Bears could be in first place AND ALSO Aaron Rodgers could have gotten the ball back on National Television with two minutes left on the clock down by two. So… Yeah. Silver lining.

Anyhoo, yes. The Bears did, in fact win on Sunday, beating the Jets 24-10. It was a pretty ho-hum game. No big plays by Khalil Mack (No, really. None. He didn’t play.). No heroics by Mitchell Trubisky. No big turnovers. Actually no turnovers. Blahh. They didn’t even make reclaiming first place interesting. Stupid Bears. At 4-3, they now sit atop the division. Alone again. Naturally.

The Lions, on the other hand, lost 28-14 but, in the process, managed to make the Seattle Seahawks look interesting. Which is something. Russell Wilson looked like the guy that used to win games with athletic, gutsy play. The Legion of Whom created some turnovers. They held the Lions rushing attack to just 34 yards. It was ugly. Typical Lions. At 3-4, they continue to flounder in last place in the division.

And the Packers? Well... BAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Oh. Sorry. Was that mean spirited? Yes, I think it was. For that, I apologize. I take waaay too much pleasure in seeing them lose. In fact, it was my solace Sunday night after the Vikings, well… Ya. Anyway, the Packers did, in fact lose to the Rams 29-27. The Rams outplayed the Packers on the offensive side of the ball in every way, and yet still had to rely on the rarely deployed - yet stunningly effective - poor-decision/fumble maneuver, which Packers Running Back Ty Montgomery executed with precision, rendering a possible storybook ending Aaron Rodgers comeback far less likely. The loss drops the Packers to 3-3-1, third in the division.

Chicago Bears

Mitchell Trubisky’s statistics through seven games has him in some rarified Chicago air. He’s on pace to obliterate the passing records of such noted gunslingers as Erik Kramer (no relation), Rex Grossman, and Smokin’ Jay Cutler. His current pace would set him at 4,146 passing yards, 34 TD’s and just 14 INT’s. The jury is still out on whether or not he’s doing it because of his talent or in spite of his talent. One statistic that sticks out about Trubisky’s performance this season, is his QB Rating from inside the pocket, where he has been outstanding - though the names at the bottom of the rankings seem to tell us this could be a somewhat useless statistic.

Chicago lost a big part of their offensive line in Sunday’s game when Kyle Long went down with an apparent foot injury. Vikings fans will note that the player Bears’ Head Coach Matt Nagy pegged for a larger role going forward is none other than former Viking (for, like, a few weeks) Bryan Witzmann.

The Bears three losses this season have come versus the Packers (week 1), the Dolphins (week 6), and the Patriots (week 7). The last time the Bears lost to those three teams in a single season was 2006, when the team reached the Super Bowl - losing to the Indianapolis Colts.

Khalil Mack’s status is still uncertain for this Sunday’s game - a game in which the Bears will match up versus Bills Quarterback Nathan Peterman. THE Nathan Peterman. I know, I know, Peterman probably has a mother out there who just wants his boy to do well. I have one too. She wanted me to be an architect. Or a guidance counselor. But instead I’m a bartender-slash-hack writer. One out of two ain’t bad, right ma? What is the internet saying about Mack vs Peterman?

Mack, of course, played his college ball at the University of Buffalo, and parlayed his success there into his selection at fifth overall in the 2014 Draft. Wanna know how a kid from the University of Buffalo gets selected fifth overall? Here’s some video that’ll help explain why

Stealing-Your-Kids’-Halloween-Candy-Scouting-Combine-Comparisons:

Khalil Mack - Fun-Sized Snickers. Solid choice in all aspects. Get a taste and you want more.

Mitchell Trubisky - Nerds. Cute packaging makes you think you’re really going to like them, can’t live up to the hype. Eventually you move on.

Tarik Cohen - Starburst. Just plain fun. Every flavor is a winner.

Not-afraid-to-make-a-prediction Prediction: The Bears will face off against the 2-6 Bills in Buffalo this Sunday. With Nathan Peterman, anything is possible. The Bears defense could actually score 50 points this weekend.

Pro tip: If you lose in Fantasy Football this weekend because you forgot to put the Bears Defense in your starting lineup, it’s time to give the hobby up.

Detroit Lions

The Lions splashed (although, not in the ‘lets make our team better now’ kind of way) at the Trade deadline, sending their best offensive playmaker - Wide Receiver Golden Tate - to the Philadelphia Eagles for a third round draft pick. Tate never caught fewer than 90 balls in any season with the Lions, and averaged over 1,000 yards, and nearly five touchdowns. At least one outlet put the trade into perspective:

The trade didn’t go over well with everybody, however

Having Tate leave the division shouldn’t break any Vikings fan’s heart.

You thought Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press had it bad with Mike Zimmer? Zim never told CT he refused to answer CT’s question until he sat up and had a little respect “for the process”. Lions Head Coach Matt Patricia did just that on Wednesday. According to the Detroit Free Press, the first-year coach pulled a page from Bill Belichick’s playbook and responded: “Ah, well, you know. Do me a favor just kinda sit up, just like, have a little respect for the process. Every day you come and ask me questions and you’re just kinda like you know, ‘gimme this.’ ”

It seems every dude with a beard in Detroit is dressing up like Patricia for Halloween this year.

Stealing-Your-Kids’-Halloween-Candy-Scouting-Combine-Comparisons:

Matthew Stafford - Mr. Goodbar. Solid in every way, but will never be mentioned among the greatest.

Ziggy Ansah - Fun-Size Butterfinger. Always looks good, but rarely seen in once piece. Other, better, choices out there.

Ameer Abdullah - Fun-Size Three Musketeers. Makes you wonder why it’s been around so long. Not nearly as talented as its brethren (Milky Way, Snickers), yet seems to stick around.

Not-afraid-to-make-a-prediction Prediction: I’ve been saying all along that the Lions are the team in the division I fear the most. That statement has more to do with the other teams in the division than it does the Lions. Vikings win by six.

Green Bay Packers

Our friends at Acme Packing Company are trying to figure out (I think) what is going on with the Tight End situation in Green Bay. Something something Harry Potter. Something something Dumblewort. Reading this (trying to, rather) was a scary moment for me. It’s an iconic (I guess) story (I think) that kids (but apparently not mine) love (again, I think), and has been used as a tool to compare football players? I have no idea. But for the first time in my life, I understand how my dad felt when a buddy and I were in the back seat of the car, comparing Luke Skywalker and Han Solo to Tommy Kramer and Fran Tarkenton (Tim Irwin was definitely Chewbacca, BTW). All dad did was look at me through the rear-view mirror with a “what the hell is wrong with you two?” look. Anyway, if you understand it at all, apparently it’s a good comparison. Nerd.

Ty Montgomery was the goat (not G.O.A.T.) on Sunday for the Packers in the loss versus the Rams, as his ill-advised return attempt and subsequent fumble cost his team the game. According to NFL.com’s Michael Silver, several players criticized his decision, with one player saying:

“They took him out (the previous drive) for a play and he slammed his helmet and threw a fit. Then (before the kickoff) they told him to take a knee, and he ran it out anyway. You know what that was? That was him saying, ‘I’m gonna do me.’ It’s a f------ joke.

”I mean, what the f--- are you doing? We’ve got Aaron Rodgers, the best I’ve ever seen, and you’re gonna take that risk? I mean, it’s ‘12’! All you gotta do is give him the ball, and you know what’s gonna happen.”

And then, just when the drama was getting good, they go ahead and trade Ty Montgomery. Incidentally, he went for a 2020 seventh round pick. So, Monty’s gone, which leaves the Packers running game in the hands of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. Jones had a pretty good game against the Rams on Sunday, rushing for 86 yards and a TD.

In other trade news, the Packers shipped Free Safety HaHa Clinton-Dix of to Washington, for a 2019 fourth-round pick.

HHCD had said earlier in the season that he didn’t expect to be back with the team in 2019, so the move isn’t a total shocker. But for a team whose biggest weakness is on the defensive side of the ball, moving him mid-season seems like a sign that the team is throwing in the towel. On the plus side, not having to hear Al Michaels take 14 seconds to say his name any time he’s involved in a play is big.

The 14-year anointing process of Aaron Rodgers as the greatest quarterback ever to play the game of football continues this week, as Aaron and the other players that he is forced to play with the team has under contract Packers take on the New England Patriots and Tom Brady in Foxboro. NBC even enlisted the help of NBA G.O.A.T. Michael Jordan to decide who is the greatest of all time:

Why wait for Sunday, amirite? Let’s decide who is the GOAT right here, right now. I won’t tell you which is which.

***note: “Led NFL” Means that the player led the NFL in a meaningful statistical category in any single season he played. Those include stats such as Yards, TD’s, Completion %, Passer Rating, etc.

So, which player do you think deserves to be mentioned this Sunday night ad nauseum as the greatest of all time? Player A? B? C? D?

Stealing-Your-Kids’-Halloween-Candy-Scouting-Combine-Comparisons:

Aaron Rodgers - Everlasting Gobstoppers. You just want it to go away already.

Clay Matthews - Chick-O-Stick. Who thought this was a good idea? It looks gross. Has a worse aftertaste. Nasty crap hanging off of it all over. Yeccch!

Bryan Bulaga - Oh Henry!. Been around forever, and there’s always that one guy who says “Hey that’s pretty good!

Not-afraid-to-make-a-prediction Prediction: Hey, have you heard? The Packers travel to New England to take on the 6-2 Patriots in a showdown to decide who is the greatest quarterback of all time in any sport anywhere in the universe. I’ve been having luck with this reverse psychology thing. Packers win.