If you had told any Minnesota fan in August that the Vikings would have the same record as the Packers after eight games, they would have taken it with a huge grin on their face. And yet, here the Vikings sit at 5-3, and there is just the slightest edge of despair to the Vikings fans' psyche.
It's funny what can happen when your team loses a winnable game at home.
Unlike in 2011 when it seemed the football gods were out to get Minnesota, the Vikings pretty much have exactly the record they deserve so far in 2012. It certainly hasn't gone according to script, what with whipping the 49ers at home and the Lions in Detroit, while in turn getting thumped by both the Redskins and Buccaneers.
Such is life in a league where 21 teams reside within two games of .500 through the end of October.
After those surprising wins for the Vikings, expectations began to naturally soar, but reality took hold after getting manhandled by the Buccaneers last Thursday.
The Vikings are just a year removed from 3-13, it's going to take a little bit of time to become a contender again. The good news is that this year's draft class has been exceptional. The bad news is that with Minnesota counting on so many young players, inconsistency is part of the deal.
We're about to rank the Vikings' 10 best players through the first half of the season, and there are two glaring omissions: Christian Ponder and Kyle Rudolph. If the Vikings want to equal that 5-3 mark in the second half, those two have to be among the Vikings' 10 best players. They've both shown flashes of outstanding play, but both have been wildly inconsistent.
So here we go, the Vikings' top 10 players at the midseason point.