The Minnesota Vikings are the talk of the NFL through four weeks. Their otherworldly defense, plus the surprisingly decent play of Sam Bradford, has carried them to a 4-0 record and first place in the NFC North. Mike Zimmer and his crew will look to keep the good times rolling in a home game against the Houston Texans this week.
Despite losing Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson in short order, Minnesota is undefeated thanks to one of the best defenses in the league. They put on a show on Monday Night Football, shutting down Eli Manning and the New York Giants en route to a 24-10 win.
What was particularly impressive about the Vikings' performance is they managed to make Manning miserable without sacking him once. The secondary -- led by Xavier Rhodes, Terence Newman, and Harrison Smith -- blanketed New York's talented trio of receivers, forcing Eli to either dump off to his running backs or simply throw the ball. Odell Beckham Jr. was a non-factor with just three catches for 23 yards. The Giants running game found little to no holes all night. It was a dominant defensive performance at all three levels.
It certainly helps that the offense is carrying its weight. Bradford has yet to throw an interception in three starts, playing mistake-free football and keeping the chains moving. Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata have done a fine job filling in for Peterson, while Stefon Diggs is emerging as a legitimate No. 1 receiver. The Vikings have a lot to be happy about so far and Zimmer has to be considered the early front-runner for Coach of the Year.
The Texans rebounded from their Week 3 pummeling by the New England Patriots to get a 27-20 home win over the Tennessee Titans. They're sitting at 3-1 and have a comfortable lead in the AFC South, with the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Titans languishing at 1-3.
Despite losing J.J. Watt for the year, the Texans defense still has good playmakers in Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus on the front seven. They currently rank fifth-best in yards allowed per game and eighth-best in points allowed, and that was with Watt not playing particularly well before being shut down with a back injury. It remains to be seen how this unit will hold up without the league's best defender drawing double teams all game, but Houston should have enough talent to get by.
Brock Osweiler continues to have up-and-down games, throwing six interceptions to five touchdown passes on the season, but a more worrisome fact is the continued lack of involvement from DeAndre Hopkins. Just one year removed from racking up 111 catches, Hopkins has only 17 receptions through four games and was a non-factor against Tennessee, ending up with more tackles (two) than catches (one).
Will Fuller looks like a star in the making, catching one touchdown in Week 4 and running back a punt return for another score, but the Texans need to find ways to get Hopkins open if they want this offense to take the next step.
Unfortunately, they have the worst possible opponent to try to get right on offense. The Vikings defense has stopped everybody in its path, and unless Bill O'Brien has some tricks up his sleeve, it could be more of the same this week.
How to watch
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Place: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
Announcers: Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots
Online: Sunday Ticket