Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, it looks like the Vikings have improved considerably from last year. When will we know if they’re for real?

The next four weeks should give us a very good indication of where the Vikings are under Mike Zimmer. They host the Patriots, travel to New Orleans and then host Atlanta. That’s a rugged stretch of schedule, which is immediately followed by a trip to Green Bay. If the Vikings come out of those four games on the plus side, look out.

Doug from Estherville, IA

Any chance of seeing Pennel or Elliott getting some playing time Sunday?

I guess it’s possible, but if you’re suggesting the Packers quit on guys after just one game, I say no. If matters don’t improve, however, then anything goes. It’s a performance game, but more than one performance.

John from Verona, WI

OK, I’ve got two fingers up. One is Seattle. Who is the other one?

The 49ers can play it straight. It appears they can even do it without Aldon Smith.

Scott from Fitchburg, WI

Vic, the Seahawks took their name off this list: Bills, Bengals, Browns, Cardinals, Chargers, Eagles, Falcons, Jaguars, Lions, Texans, Titans, Panthers, Vikings. What team is next?

The Eagles, Lions, Falcons, Panthers and Cardinals are all legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Hey, maybe the Vikings are, too. You never know.

Carrie from San Jose, CA

Vic, I was saddened to see so many questions attacking your integrity. You’ve written in the past that Packers fans are unique in their desire to be classy. In my opinion, classy doesn’t attack a man’s integrity. Classy also doesn’t flame one player for having a bad game; it’s a team sport. The team lost. The team has 15 more opportunities to win this season.

Classy needed a vacation. It’ll return when winning returns. Classy and winning are good friends.

Alec from Kettering, OH

Didn’t the Packers say all offseason they want to make things easier and simpler on defense? Why in Seattle were they trying to make small, little substitutions to match players up off Seattle’s small substitutions? That led to mass confusion in an ungodly loud stadium that made it extremely hard to communicate. Put your 11 out there and beat their 11.

You’re just trying to make me feel good.

Greg from Brooklyn, WI

Vic, did one of your colleagues really ask Tom Clements if it was OK for Aaron to yell at Linsley? I’m with you: Let’s go back to the old culture. We all could use thicker skin. Keep up the good work.

Johnny Unitas called time out to yell at his coach for having the audacity to send a play into Unitas’ huddle. I like strong, bold people. I don’t need the happy talk. I grew up in a town void of happy talk. If somebody wasn’t yelling at me, I felt lonely.

Mitch from Green Bay, WI

Has your opinion on our division rivals changed after seeing each of them play a game?

No.

Karl from Wausau, WI

Vic, you’ve been doing this column for years here and in Jacksonville. You’ve talked about how fan reactions have changed over time. I’m wondering if you can speak to how this change unfolded. I enjoy hearing you talk about the evolution of the game and the moments that have driven it. What about how fans react to the game? Keep doing what you’re doing.

Not only is football more important to people today, it’s also more integral to their lives than it was years ago, and the degree to which football and life are interwoven is increasing at an alarming rate. Football has become a mania in America. We’re only one week into the season and we have a national controversy that is going to shape opinion that could transcend the game. The men who play this game are of greater fame than George Washington, and when their behavior turns fame into infamy, it’s a grave problem. Is the media responsible for this explosion of football importance? Sure it is. Media exposure drives football’s popularity. The more games are shown, the more games we want to see. Media has a critical role in shaping life, especially in this country where freedom of speech is at the core of our existence. Is the media to blame? That’s not as easy to answer. I don’t like the idea of being denied my pleasures because somebody has decided it’s good for me not to have too much fun. I like total freedom of choice. Hey, I went to bed Monday night. I didn’t watch the Cardinals-Chargers game.

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