Victory comes with a dose of reality

The Vikings can enjoy their 5-0 record, but they have a tough stretch ahead to show just how good they are.

The Vikings aren't about to scoff at their 5-0 start, but they do have to admit the schedule maker was very kind to them.

Minnesota's 38-10 victory at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday improved its road record to 3-0. Those three victories have come against Cleveland, Detroit and St. Louis — three teams with a combined 2-13 record.

In fact, the Vikings have only one victory against a team with better than a .500 record. Brett Favre's last-second touchdown pass to Greg Lewis beat San Francisco (3-2) in Week 3.

The Vikings, though, will get a much better read on exactly how good they are in the next three weeks as they play host to Baltimore on Sunday, then travel to Pittsburgh and Green Bay before their bye week.

"(We're) just continuing to try to evolve and improve," coach Brad Childress said when asked where he felt his team was at five weeks into the season. "It's not my job to grade them. I grade them on how they play. They've been on the right side of the scoreboard and that's the name of the game. But there's always clean-up work. You've never arrived. The thing I love about this group is they always come with the effort to listen and see what they need to improve on and they'll improve again from this week until next."

That will be necessary, considering the Rams had 400 yards of offense against the Vikings. Minnesota has given up 824 yards of offense in the past two games.

The Rams self-destructing with three turnovers in the red zone made that a non-issue, but Childress and Co. know that teams like the Ravens and Steelers are capable of making their team pay for defensive breakdowns.

Favre, who is 5-0 for the first time in his 19-year career, has liked what he's seen so far but the now 40-year-old quarterback also realizes there is room for improvement.

"I think this team, there's tremendous potential, but that alone will not win games for you," Favre said. "I think this team knows that. Our schedule will continue to get tougher. We will face some adversity. We faced some last week (against Green Bay). We faced some against San Francisco. But this team has the potential to win every game it plays. But we're not the only ones in this league that can say that. You can lose on any given Sunday to anyone. Everyone is aware of that and if we're able to handle adversity and have some luck along the way, this team can be pretty good."

LINEUP WATCH: Rookie right tackle Phil Loadholt missed Sunday's game in St. Louis after re-injuring his ankle in practice last week. He was replaced as the starter by veteran Artis Hicks. Ryan Cook was the starter for much of last season at right tackle but has fallen behind Hicks on the depth chart. Loadholt battled the same ankle issue in training camp but said he doesn't expect to miss next Sunday's game against Baltimore.

BY THE NUMBERS: 25-24 — Brett Favre's career record in dome stadiums after Sunday's victory in St. Louis. It marks the first time Favre has been over .500 in dome stadiums since he was 2-1 during the 1992 season. That was his first year starting for the Packers.


  • DE Jared Allen's 52-yard return of a fumble for a touchdown in the Vikings' victory Sunday marked the first defensive score of his six-year career.

  • DE Jayme Mitchell, who had been inactive in Weeks 3 and 4, was part of the rotation on the defensive line on Sunday. Mitchell played behind starter Ray Edwards at left end.

  • WR Greg Lewis, the hero of the Vikings' victory over San Francisco in Week 3 when he caught the winning touchdown pass with 2 seconds left, was inactive Sunday. Lewis has been inactive for three of the Vikings' five games this season.

  • WR Darius Reynaud was inactive Sunday after missing the week of practice while tending to a family issue. Reynaud was the Vikings' punt return man in the first three games but missed the Week 4 victory over Green Bay because of a hamstring injury.

  • DT Letroy Guion has been inactive the past two games after being part of the 45-man game day roster for the opening three weeks.

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