The Vikings are the talk of the NFL
Sunday's thrilling win over the Buffalo Bills has catapulted the Vikings into the class of must-watch NFL teams.
State of play: After seven straight nail-biting victories, the Vikings are now 8-1 and have the NFC North division nearly locked down.
How we got here: Three things have gone right for the purple.
- The Vikings have performed extraordinarily well at the end of games under new head coach Kevin O'Connell, outscoring opponents by 43 points in the fourth quarter.
- Wide receiver Justin Jefferson has taken another step forward in his third season and is on pace to rack up more than 2,000 receiving yards, which would set an NFL record.
- The offensive line is much improved, led by Christian Darrisaw, the highest graded tackle in the NFL.
Between the lines: The other key ingredient: fun, a spice that was missing from the previous Vikings regime.
- Quarterback Kirk Cousins has adopted the "Kirko Chainz" alter ego, firing off his shirt, wearing gold chains and dancing after wins.
- Former Packer Za'Darius Smith has injected swagger and humor into the defense.
The intrigue: The Vikings are getting plenty of national media attention and now have the fifth best Vegas odds of winning the Super Bowl.
- Even KFAN play-by-play announcer Paul Allen is getting some love. A viral video of him calling the end of the Bills game got the attention of LeBron James, who called Allen a "national treasure."
- More than 1 million people in the Twin Cities watched Sunday's game against the Bills. 80% of all TVs that were on in the metro area were tuned to the game.
What's ahead: This Sunday's game is another big test as the 6-3 Dallas Cowboys come to town. The Cowboys are slight betting favorites.
Behind enemy lines: We asked our Axios Dallas colleague and Cowboys fan Michael Mooney for his prediction for Sunday's game.
- Cowboys 31, Vikings 27. "The Dallas defense should be able to bounce back from the embarrassing performance in Green Bay."
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