During the exhibition season, the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins were teams headed in opposite directions.
First-year Coach Dennis Green's Vikings capped a fine practice schedule by routing the Super Bowl champions, 30-0, Saturday night at Washington.
Minnesota, coming off an 8-8 season, finished with a 4-0 exhibition record, outscoring its opponents, 140-6. Last week, the Vikings beat the Cleveland Browns, 56-3.
"You win with your defense, and right now we're playing together real well as a team," Green said. "We don't blitz a lot--we try to win with our front four pass rush, mixing in with our secondary coverage."
Washington finished with a 1-4 exhibition record. However, the Redskins were 1-3 during the 1991 exhibition season and went on to a 14-2 regular season before breezing through the playoffs and the Super Bowl.
The Redskins pulled it together after losing to the New York Jets, 13-9, in last season's exhibition finale.
"I am very much concerned about our performance," Washington Coach Joe Gibbs said. "We were blown off the line. This is a worse feeling than the Jets' game of last year."
Minnesota's defense pressured Washington quarterback Mark Rypien repeatedly and allowed the Redskins only four first downs in the first half.
Rypien threw three interceptions and fumbled once while completing 13 of 24 passes for 95 yards.
"I have no excuses," Rypien said. "I played terribly. I did not hit the plays."
Minnesota quarterback Rich Gannon, solidifying his hold on the Viking starting job, completed 14 of 21 passes for 124 yards and three touchdowns.
The Vikings built a 17-0 halftime lead on the strength of Gannon's touchdown passes of 15 yards to Anthony Carter and five yards to Joe Johnson in the final minutes of the second quarter.
Gannon added a 16-yard touchdown pass to Steve Jordan in the third quarter and Fuad Reveiz added field goals of 33, 31 and 37 yards.
New England 24, Green Bay 10--Hugh Millen hit Marv Cook with two touchdown passes in the second quarter and the Patriots defeated the Packers at Milwaukee.
Millen, who completed 15 of 17 passes for 114 yards in three quarters, hit Cook with scoring throws of 19 and five yards.
New England (1-3) built a 17-3 lead with the aid of several mistakes by the Packers (1-3) and used Don Majkowski's second interception to set up a two-yard touchdown run by Leonard Russell in the third quarter.
Majkowski, who was roundly booed, completed 16 of 24 passes for 163 yards and threw two interceptions in three quarters. He did have a 10-yard scoring pass to Jackie Harris with 1:55 left in the first half.
Backup quarterback Brett Favre also threw two interceptions.
Pittsburgh 24, New York Giants 3--Neil O'Donnell, battling Bubby Brister for the starting quarterback spot, threw two touchdown passes to Eric Green and the Steelers defeated the Giants at Pittsburgh.
O'Donnell, who completed 11 of 15 passes for 150 yards, finished two 11-play drives with scoring throws of two and seven yards to Green as the Steelers (2-2) took a 17-3 lead.
Brister, the starter for most of the last five seasons, made it 24-3 with an eight-yard scoring pass to Leroy Thompson with 3:45 remaining. Brister completed seven of 10 passes for 82 yards.
O'Donnell was 31 of 54 for 498 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions in exhibition play. Brister was 25 of 45 for 299 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.
With Jeff Hostetler still injured, Phil Simms played the first 3 1/2 quarters for New York (2-2) and was eight of 11 for 124 yards and an interception.