Vikings clinch NFC North!
Sunday the Vikings played at U.S. Bank Stadium for the first time since November 19 and routed the Cincinnati Bengals 34-7. Quarterback Case Keenum was flawless, 20-23 for 236 yards and two touchdowns, while the Vikings defense declawed the Bengals, holding them to just 178 yards offense.
For the second time in three years the Vikings have clinched the NFC North title and improved to 11-3. With two games remaining, they are very much in the hunt for a first-round bye. Running back Latavius Murray ran 20 times for 76 yards and a touchdown. Jerrick McKinnon had seven receptions for 114 yards, and linebacker Eric Kendricks returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown.
Marvin Lewis, the longtime (14 years) head coach at Cincinnati, matched up Sunday against Mike Zimmer in an old-fashioned teacher vs. pupil matchup. Zimmer was defensive coordinator with Lewis from 2008 to 2013 in Cincinnati before getting the job as head coach here with the Vikings.
Zimmer told his football team in July they were capable of winning the Super Bowl. No team has ever before hosted the Super Bowl and played in it as well, but it could happen. Right now the Vikings are in position, along with a few other teams like New England, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia, to realistically make that happen.
This team has done a great job all year of staying on point and being healthy mentally, supporting one another, and more importantly staying in the moment. With two games left, one at Green Bay and at home against Chicago, the Vikings know how good they are.
This team has great balance offensively and defensively and now they just need to stay the course. The Philadelphia Eagles are 12-2 and can clinch the home field advantage with a win this week. The Vikings are still in great position to get a first-round bye because of wins over both Los Angeles and New Orleans.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to email@example.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.