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Vikings stay undefeated, trounce inconsistent Texans

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The high-flying Minnesota Vikings are perfect through five games after a dominant 31-13 trouncing of the up-and-down Houston Texans (3-2). Here's what we learned from Sunday's rout:

1. People of Earth: It's time to take the Vikings very, very seriously. Mike Zimmer's club marched into Sunday without their starting quarterback (Teddy Bridgewater), running back (Adrian Peterson) and wide receiver (Stefon Diggs). None of it mattered, though, as signal-caller Sam Bradford continued to look like an ideal match for Norv Turner's offense. After directing a pair of precise, surgical touchdown drives to open the game -- marches that showed off Bradford's crisp arm -- the Vikings passer went on to calmly destroy the Texans with a rash of screens, wise throws and pinpoint lobs downfield. Bradford took plenty of shots from Houston's front seven but never flinched, hitting 22 of 30 passes for 271 yards and two scores -- all of this without Diggs in the lineup. This is the finest version of Bradford the NFL community has ever seen and his capable work through five weeks can no longer be ignored.

2. Brock Osweiler's four-year, $72 million contract -- packed with $37 million in guarantees -- looks hyper-shaky after five weeks of play. It can't be easy for Texans fans to watch a rash of rookies already display better footwork, decision-making and accuracy than Houston's ultra-pricey passer. The offensive line of the Texans was no help, though, doing little to stop a flurry of Vikings defenders from rattling and blasting their starting quarterback time and again. High credit goes to Minnesota's defense, who held the Texans to 67 total yards in the first half and shut out starry wideouts DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller over the first two quarters of play. By game's end, Houston was a miserable 1-of-13 on third down as Osweiler went 19-of-42 passing for 184 yards at a paltry 4.4 yards per throw. After getting lashed by the Patriots two weeks ago and falling flat on Sunday, Houston's offense is a mess. It's impossible to take the Texans seriously until they show fight against a premier team.

3. One painful issue for Osweiler was a super-sticky Vikings secondary that swallowed up Hopkins and Fuller to help unleash a wild Minnesota pass rush that sacked the Texans passer four times, registered four tackles for loss and posted 13 quarterback hits. A Vikings strip-sack was also taken away by penalty, magnifying the reality here: No box score can adequately express how dominant this Zimmer-led defense looked for long stretches on Sunday. The Vikings are playing at a Super Bowl-level on this side of the ball and look just as powerful as last year's Broncos. The sky is the limit.

4. With Diggs sidelined, Vikings wideout Adam Thielen stepped in to beat Texans cover man Johnathan Joseph for a pretty 36-yard touchdown grab on the opening drive. He never slowed down. While his totals coming into the game -- 13 catches for 145 yards -- were modest, Thielen (7/127/1) on Sunday showed the requisite moves and athleticism to get open in coverage. Fellow Vikings wideout Cordarrelle Patterson (4/39/1) also made a genuine difference and showed a willingness to lower his shoulder and plow through enemy defensive backs.

5. U.S. Bank Stadium has already bloomed into one of the fiercest, rough-and-tumble playing environments league-wide. The Texans' attack was drowned out drive after drive by the raucous crowd of Vikings faithful. Minnesota's fan base has been through hell and back, but the energy around this team -- and their glowing, new field -- is the best story of the young NFL season. The Vikings own a league-best eight straight wins in the regular season and nothing about that is a fluke.

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