It is late November, and I'm not surprised that there's a team in the NFC North with nine wins while nobody else in the division has more than four.
But this: At the start of the year, you could have given me 100 guesses as to which team would have the nine wins and 100 times I would have guessed the Packers.
It's hard to say, then, what's more surprising at this point in the year: that the Vikings are 9-2 or that the Packers are 4-8.
Let's call it a tie.
But let's also agree on this: That taken in tandem, with the Vikings holding a six-game lead in the loss column over their border rival, this development so far in the 2022 NFL season qualifies as an all-time shocker.
Patrick Reusse and I talked about both teams on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast.
When Aaron Rodgers decided to return for another season with Green Bay in 2022, I thought it was a foregone conclusion the Packers would win the division. They had, after all, won three NFC North titles in a row with 13 wins in each of the past three seasons while Rodgers was coming off back-to-back MVP awards.
It seemed evidence enough that the Vikings would be better off doing a massive rebuild, including a trade of Kirk Cousins, with a new regime in place. Why bother trying now? Retool in order to compete sometime in the future when Rodgers is gone.
Instead, the Vikings piled up wins while a future without Rodgers has come increasingly into focus. He was already playing with a broken thumb before having to leave Sunday night's loss to Philadelphia with a rib injury.
The Packers, who are hanging on the far fringes of the wild card race at 4-8, might be tempted to see more of third-year QB Jordan Love the rest of this year regardless of Rodgers' health before deciding on a nearly $20 million option for Love in 2024.
The Vikings, meanwhile, might be in position to use their backup QB later this year — if they have clinched the NFC North, which can happen as soon as next week, and have nothing else at stake.
The season is far from over, but make no mistake: The 4-8 mark for the Packers changes the future landscape for the Vikings almost as much as their own 9-2 record.
And from the perspective of someone who picked the Vikings to finish 7-10 this year, everything up to this moment qualifies as a shock.