When the Minnesota Vikings jumped out to an early two-touchdown lead Sunday, Gregg Rosenthal messaged me from NFL headquarters to ask if the Chicago Bears could bounce back. I turned around and asked him if the Vikings knew what to do with such a lead.
Turns out they did.
By the time the Vikings sealed their 21-14 victory, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler -- sacked twice and hit hard all day -- was sidelined with a neck injury, left to watch as Jason Campbell mustered one late touchdown toss to Brandon Marshall. Too little, too late against a Minnesota defense that disrupted Chicago's plans all day long.
Cutler (and Bears fans everywhere) watched as Chicago's share of first place in the NFC North slipped into perilous territory. The Green Bay Packers can take control with a win over the Detroit Lions, and the Bears aren't a threat in January until their franchise quarterback is better protected. Cutler took a series of brutal hits in this game.
Minnesota grabbed its early lead on the legs of Adrian Peterson. The star running back was otherworldly out of the gate, rushing for 104 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter en route to 154 yards on the day. It's clear the Vikings don't trust quarterback Christian Ponder to do much more than hand it off to their best player, but that was enough Sunday.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.