1. Just how good did Teddy Bridgewater look in his first career start?
I thought that Teddy Bridgewater looked as good as anyone could have hoped in Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons. Yes, we've heard the arguments that the Falcons' defense isn't very good, but for Bridgewater to have performed the way he did was a revelation. He was calm, he was poised, he was making adjustments at the line, he was accurate... really, the sort of things that the Vikings haven't gotten out of the quarterback position since 2009. I had spent the week trying to temper my expectations of a rookie quarterback, but he went out and set a Vikings team record for passing yardage in his first start, and his abilities allowed the Vikings' offense to open up significantly.
2. How have the Vikings made up for the loss of Adrian Peterson at running back?
They've attempted to go to more of a "two-headed monster" approach with Matt Asiata and rookie Jerick McKinnon carrying the workload. There have been times that it's worked (such as the Atlanta game), but more frequently it hasn't. McKinnon has a ton of athletic ability and has shown flashes, and the hope is that he will be getting more of the workload as the year progresses. Asiata has shown the ability to be the Leroy Hoard of this generation (if you need a yard, he'll get you three... if you need five yards, he'll still get you three). But after years of using the run to set up the pass, the Vikings have had to try to do a 180 this season. It seems to work much better under Teddy Bridgewater than it has under Matt Cassel or Christian Ponder.
3. What is the reason behind Cordarrelle Patterson's lack of production as of late? (Full disclosure: I ask this as someone who has Patterson on his fantasy team.)
That's something that we've been trying to figure out over the past couple of weeks ourselves. After rushing for over 100 yards and a huge 67-yard touchdown in Week 1, Patterson has gotten just one rush over the past four games and has just four catches over the past two weeks. The expectations were sky-high for Patterson going into the season, and the concern is that maybe he hasn't progressed as far as a route runner as folks may have hoped going into this season. He's still one of the most dynamic and dangerous open-field players in the league, but for some reason he just isn't getting the football. With the issues the Vikings' offense has had thus far, they're going to have to find a way to remedy that.
4. What are the Vikings' biggest strengths and weaknesses on defense?
After years of being a disaster, the Vikings' secondary is actually starting to come around a bit. Harrison Smith has developed into one of the league's best safeties, Xavier Rhodes has played very well this season (save for one rough outing against the New England Patriots) and Josh Robinson has seemingly resurrected himself after a disastrous sophomore campaign. The safety spot across from Smith has been a bit of a mess, and free agent signee Captain Munnerlyn has been pretty bad through the first five weeks of the year, but given what the Vikings have had the last couple of seasons, the secondary has much improved.
The weakest area thus far is probably the team's play against the run. After years of being able to snuff out opposing run games fairly easily, teams are finding sizable gaps in the Vikings' front seven. It's disappointing because the Vikings gave Linval Joseph a big chunk of money to come in and fix that problem. I'm hoping that a good part of this has more to do with learning Mike Zimmer's defense and that things will continue to get better as the season progresses.
5. Just how weird is it to see the Vikings playing outdoors?
It has been incredibly strange to see the Vikings playing outdoors thus far. For the entirety of my time as a Vikings fan, the Metrodome was the only stadium I had even known as the Vikings' home going into this season, so having to actually concern ourselves with weather and winds and things like that for home games has been different. Thus far, it's been enjoyable, largely because the weather for the first two games has been gorgeous. Once we get into November and December, it's going to be an adjustment not only for the Vikings, but for their opponents, too. I think most Vikings fans are really looking forward to seeing it all.
Editor's Note: FanDuel is hosting a private fantasy football league for SB Nation readers this week. It's $10 to join, the top 200 teams win money, and first place wins $1,000. League starts Sunday 1 PM ET and ends on Monday. Here's the link.